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DARTS: Deep Learning Augmented RNA-seq Analysis of Transcript Splicing

Researchers led by Yi Xing have developed a novel deep learning algorithm to detect alternative splicing patterns in RNA-seq data

Methods of Discovering New Bile Acids and Use in Treating Inflammatory Diseases

A mosaic of cross-phyla chemical interactions occurs between all metazoans and their microbiomes. In humans, the gut harbors the heaviest microbial load, but many organs, particularly those with a mucosal surface, associate with highly adapted and evolved microbial consortia. The microbial residents within these organ systems are increasingly well characterized, yielding a good understanding of human microbiome composition. However, we have yet to elucidate the full chemical impact the microbiome exerts on an animal and the breadth of the chemical diversity it contributes. A number of molecular families are known to be shaped by the microbiome including short-chain fatty acids, indoles, aromatic amino acid metabolites, complex polysaccharides, and host sphingolipids and bile acids. These metabolites profoundly affect host physiology and are being explored for their roles in both health and disease. The synthesis of bile acids takes place in the liver and recent research has shown that bile acids can act as signaling molecules and activate a number of molecules. A primary focus has been on the Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) which plays an important role in bile acid synthesis and in regulation of glucose, lipid and energy metabolism.

A Method For Digital Pathology Using Augmented Reality

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering have developed a novel method for automated image analysis of digital pathology slides.

Quantitative Determination Of Esterified Eicosanoids and Related Oxygenated Metabolites After Alkaline Hydrolysis

Eicosanoids and related metabolites, sometimes referred to as oxylipins, are a group of structurally diverse metabolites that derive from the oxidation of PUFAs, including arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid, dihomo linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. They are locally acting bioactive signaling lipids that regulate a diverse set of homeostatic and inflammatory processes. Given the important regulatory functions in numerous physiological and pathophysiological states, the accurate measurement of eicosanoids and other oxylipins is of great clinical interest and lipidomics is now widely used to screen effectively for potential disease biomarkers.

A High Potency CYP3A4 Inhibitor for Pharmacoenhancement of Drugs

      CYP3A4 is the most clinically relevant drug metabolizing enzyme in the body, as it is responsible for the oxidation and breakdown of ~60% of current drugs on the market.  Researchers at UCI have developed novel CYP3A4 inhibitors, that are highly potent and more specific, exhibit fewer side effects, and are both cheaper, and easier to-synthesize than current commercially available CYP3A4 inhibitors. 

Prediction Tools for Vedolizumab Drug Exposure and Efficacy for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease

Vedolizumab (VDZ) is an effective therapy for the management of patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD) who have failed conventional therapy with aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and thiopurines, as well as biologic therapy with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists. Several studies have identified potential predictors of treatment outcomes; however, the optimal approach to integrating predictors into routine practice is uncertain.No prior decision support tools exist to predict VDZ drug exposure in UC and CD and link this back to differences in effectiveness or response to VDZ dose escalation. By having a tool that can predict at baseline prior to start of therapy whether VDZ will be effective and what a patients drug exposure profile will be with VDZ, the provider can 1) determine if VDZ is an appropriate therapy to begin, 2) proactively monitor those patients deemed high risk for treatment failure with VDZ, and 3) proactively measure drug concentrations for VDZ to then increase the dose or the interval at which VDZ is administered to improve outcomes.

Novel Synthesis of Streptogramin A Antibiotics

A modular, scalable, chemical synthesis platform that produces new Streptogramin A class antibiotic candidates.

A New Human-Monitor Interface For Interpreting Clinical Images

UCLA researchers in the Department of Radiological Sciences have invented a novel interactive tool that can rapidly focus and zoom on a large number of images using eye tracking technology.

Phenotypic Profiling Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Circulating Tumor Cells For Treatment Selection

Researchers in the UCLA Departments of Surgery and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have developed a novel blood-based assay that can capture and characterize circulating tumor cells indicative of both early- and late-staged hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

A New Mechanism For Hypertriglyceridemia In Humans

UCLA researchers in the Department of Medicine have identified autoantibodies against GPIHBP1, a GPI anchored protein of capillary endothelial cells, which may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for patients with hypertriglyceridemia.

Ultrafast Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a novel instrument that can image unstained transparent objects with high speeds.

A High Throughput Biochemical Fluorometric Method For Measuring HDL Redox Activity

UCLA researchers in the Department of Medicine have developed a method of screening for the functional properties of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the blood that may serve as a more accurate risk indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Novel Network-Resetting Therapeutics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Associated Chronic Diseases

The gut barrier is comprised of a single layer of epithelial cells that serve as a physical barrier against multiple stressors, e.g., microbes, microbial products, and antigens. Although it is widely accepted that an impaired gut barrier contributes to the initiation and progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), to date there is no biomarker or therapeutic target to detect/heal the barrier. IBD is of multifactorial origin -- luminal dysbiosis, immune deregulation, genetics, and environmental factors all contribute to its development and progression. Currently, IBD patients are offered expensive inflammation-reducing therapies have only a ~30-50% response-rate; 40% of responders become refractory to treatment within a year. Unfortunately, 100% face the risk of morbid side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop alternative modalities, in this case, ways to strengthen the gut barrier and heal broken junctions.

Predicting the Placebo Response and Placebo Responders in Medicated and Unmedicated Patients Using Baseline Psychometric and Clinical Assessment Score

UCLA researchers have developed a method and model to predict the placebo effect and placebo responsiveness using the 30-item baseline positive and negative syndrome scales (PANSS) scores, within both the medicated and unmedicated Schizophrenia patients.

3D Population Maps for Noninvasively Identifying Phenotypes and Pathologies in Individual Patients

UCLA researchers in the Department of Radiological Sciences have developed a novel computation system that uses large imaging datasets to aid in clinical diagnosis and prognosis.

Optical Coherence Tomography To View Assess And Count Hair Follicles

The invention is a portable imaging system for assessing the condition of hair loss. Optical coherence technology is adopted to provide an accurate, wide view and fast imaging solution. The system provides precise insight on the health of the hair follicle and its potential to regrow new hair, which is crucial for assessing the efficacy of hair regrowth treatments.

Ultrashort Echo Time Magnetization Transfer (UTE-MT) Imaging as a Tool to Aid in the Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Routine clinical evaluation of osteoporosis (OP) has been focused on dual energy X-ray absorptiometry(DEXA) and/or computed tomography (CT), which provides qualitative analysis of bone mineral (~45% of bone by volume). The majority of bone which is the organic matrix and water (~55% of bone by volume) plays an important role in bone viscosity and strength. Bone mineral density (BMD) by itself only predicts fractures with an accuracy of 30-50%. The overall fracture risk increases 13-fold from ages 60 to 80, but BMD alone only predicts a doubling of the fracture risk. A recent study of over 7806 patients found that only 44% of all non-vertebral fractures occurred in women with a T-score below -2.5 (WHO definition of OP). This percentage dropped to 21% in men. There is a clear need for more sensitive risk assessment tools which not only use BMD, but other determinants of risk such as bone microstructure, porosity, organic matrix and bone water. The organic matrix and water are undetectable with any of the current non-invasive imaging and/or quantification techniques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detects signals from water in tissues, thus potential for detecting the collagen matrix (bound water) and bone porosity (bulk water). However, bone water has very short transverse relaxation time (T2*) and is undetectable using conventional MR sequences on clinical MR systems.

A Device for Simultaneous Imaging and Irradiation of Small Tumors

UCLA researchers have developed a device to detect and irradiate solid tumors in the sub-millimeter size range. This device is a promising advancement to treating early stage cancer.

High Throughput Digital Cell Quantification Of Immune Cell Subsets Via Epigenetic Markers

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have developed a novel high-throughput method for the quantification of immune cell subtype.

Lipid-Modified Oligonucleotides For Sample Barcoding in Droplet Microfluidics-Based Single-Cell RNA Sequencing

A new strategy for barcoding single living cells using lipid-modified oligonucleotides that can vastly enhance sample multiplexing in droplet microfluidics-based RNA sequencing

Optimizing B Cell Epitope-Based Autoantibody Detection In Cancer Patients

UCLA researchers from the Department of Urology have invented a new approach to optimize detection of autoantibody response using Luminex microbead-based multiplex assay. This approach bypasses the difficult process of purifying whole proteins by using select combinations of short B-cell epitopes.

Three-Step Method For Universal Enrichment, Expansion, And Maturation Of Skeletal Muscle Cells Derived From Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

UCLA researchers have developed a novel method for enriching, expanding, and maturing populations of skeletal muscle progenitor cells (SMPCs) from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs).

Nano Biosensing System

Metabolites can provide real-time information about the state of a person’s health. Devices that can detect metabolites are commercially available, but are unable to detect very low concentrations of metabolites. Researchers at UCI have developed surfaces that use nanosensors to detect much lower concentrations of such metabolites.

Method for Assessing Risk of Genetic Defects in Children by Identifying De Novo Mutations in Male Sperm

In general, the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is about 1 in 68, or 1.5%. But the risk goes up for families who already have a child with ASD. If a family has one child with ASD, the chance of the next child having ASD is about 20%. If the next child is a boy, the risk is 26%, whereas if it’s a girl the risk is 10%. About 47% of families had more than one child with autism. Currently if a child has a birth defect or autism, the emerging trend is to perform whole exome sequencing to identify genetic mutations. These mutations overwhelmingly come from the father, because sperm cells but not egg cells continue to divide through the life of adults. Once the mutation is identified, the diagnosis can be made in the child, but the parents are left wondering if this genetic event could recur in future children. Currently there is no genetic assessment of sperm available commercially, and no publications on the application of using sperm as a way to assess risk of childhood disease, nor is there a risk assessment available for couples that have had a child with a genetic disease due to de novo genetic mutation.

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