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Identification of a New Molecular Target and Methods for Treating Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with limited treatment options and a high mortality rate. Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in the United States; despite some recent advances in systemic therapy, survival remains dismal in large part due to its profound drug resistance and its propensity for early metastasis. Typically, diagnosis of pancreatic cancer occurs only with advanced stages of the disease since there are currently no early markers for detection. Individuals with pancreatic cancer have a poor prognosis due to the late diagnosis, the extent of metastasis, and ineffective treatments. Survival rates are dismal, with a one-year survival rate of 25% and a 5-year survival rate of 6%. Currently, approximately 20% of pancreatic cancer patients are able to undergo the Whipple procedure; this surgical procedure involves removal of the affected portion of the pancreas, leading to an increased survival rate. However, the remaining 80% of pancreatic cancer patients cannot undergo this treatment because their tumors or the extent of metastasis are too severe. In addition, pancreatic cancer is not typically responsive to radiation and chemotherapy. An alternative approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer is a complete pancreatectomy followed by continual supplementation with digestive enzymes and insulin. Thus, more effective drugs are needed to increase the survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients. Targeting RORγ may lead to the design of a new class of therapeutics that can be used to treat this devastating disease.

The CryoEM Method MicroED as a Powerful Tool for Small Molecule Structure Determination

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel use of the cryogenic electron microscopy (CryoEM) method electron micro-diffraction (MicroED) to provide routine and unambiguous structural determination of small organic molecules.

Head-Mounted Display EEG Device

Diagnosis and detection of progression of neurological disorders remain challenging tasks. For example, a validated portable objective method for assessment of degenerative diseases would have numerous advantages compared to currently existing methods to assess functional loss in the disease. An objective EEG-based test would remove the subjectivity and decision-making involved when performing perimetry, potentially improving reliability of the test. A portable and objective test could be done quickly at home under unconstrained situations, decreasing the required number of office visits and the economic burden of the disease. In addition, a much larger number of tests could be obtained over time. This would greatly enhance the ability of separating true deterioration from measurement variability, potentially allowing more accurate and earlier detection of progression. In addition, more precise estimates of rates of progression could be obtained.

Device and Method for Microscale Chemical Reactions

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Bioengineering and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have developed a passive microfluidic reactor chip with a simplified design that is less costly than existing microfluidic chips.

Device and Method for Accurate Sample Injection in Analytical Chemistry

Researchers in the UCLA Departments of Bioengineering and Medical and Molecular Pharmacology and the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences have developed a novel microvalve injector for capillary electrophoresis (CE) that improves injection repeatability and consistency.

System For Fast Multi-Photon Imaging Using Spectrally Diffracted Excitation

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new system for fast multi-photon imaging using spectrally diffracted excitation.

Array Atomic Force Microscopy Enabling Simultaneous Multi-point and Multi-modal Nanoscale Analyses

Nanoscale multipoint structure-function analysis is essential for deciphering the complexity of multiscale physical and biological systems. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) allows nanoscale structure-function imaging in various operating environments and can be integrated seamlessly with disparate probe-based sensing and manipulation technologies. However, conventional AFMs only permit sequential single-point analysis. Widespread adoption of array AFMs for simultaneous multi-point study is still challenging due to the intrinsic limitations of existing technological approaches.

Vascularized Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering and/or regenerative medicine are fields of life science employing both engineering and biological principles to create new tissues and organs and to promote the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues and organs. Major advances and innovations are being made in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and have a huge impact on three-dimensional bioprinting (3D bioprinting) of tissues and organs. 3D bioprinting holds great promise for artificial tissue and organ bioprinting, thereby revolutionizing the field of regenerative medicine. One of the main roadblocks of 3D bioprinting tissues is the lack of efficient techniques to generated vascularized structures. This is critical for grafting applications as limited supply of nutrients and oxygen resulting in premature death of cells.

Carborane-Based Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitors

UCLA researchers from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed a new class of Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors that can be tuned for isoform specificity and other properties.

High Pressure, Laser Floating Zone Crystal Growth Furnace

A furnace that allows for the growth of crystalline material under applied gas pressures of up to 1000atm.

Source Tracking Though Spectral Matching To Mass Spec Databases

Modern metabolomics, proteomics and natural product datasets have now reached into the millions of tandem mass (MS/MS) spectra. The rapidly growing size of these datasets precludes laborious manual data interpretation of all of the data. While MS/MS spectral library search approaches match spectra in an automated fashion, the limited size of available spectral libraries limits identification rates of datasets to single digit percentages. In addition, the sharing of experimental MS/MS data between researchers is not that common. What is needed is a way to organize both identified and unidentified spectra into structurally related molecular families that is searchable.

Methods To Biosynthesize Kainic Acid And Analogues Thereof

Kainic acid is a chemical first derived from seaweed. Neuroscientists routinely use Kainic acid to simulate brain degeneration in lab experiments. Certain inotropic receptors in the brain--known as kainate receptors--are selectively activated only by kainic acid. Research into kainate receptors helps researchers to understand Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and other brain disorders. Some scientists use kainic acid to find answers to more fundamental questions such as the function of glutamate receptors. Currently, there are two procedures for generating kainic acid commercially. The first involves the farming and collection of kainic acid-containing seaweed and that method is impacted by seasonal fluctuations of seaweed growth and kainic acid production. The second involves synthetic processes, but the current procedures generally require at least 6 synthetic steps with yields less than 40% and generate environmentally toxic byproducts including heavy metals, cyanides, or halogenated organics.

Flavonol Profile as a Sun Exposure Assessor for Grapes

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a solar radiation assessment method for grapes that uses a flavonol profile. This method can be done using either HPLC or through the computer processing of the absorption spectra of a purified flavonol extract via a purification kit.

Virtual Reality Visualization Of Dynamic Images Using Deformable Image Segmentation

Researchers led by Tzung Hsiai from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have developed a way to visualize moving objects using virtual reality.

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.

Dicom/Pacs Compression Techniques

Researchers led by Xiao Hu from the Department of Surgery at UCLA have created a novel and convenient way to compress and query medical images from a PACS system.

Method For Indefinite Storage And Preservation Of Membrane Precursors

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a novel strategy for the creation of biomimetic lipid bilayer membrane using a high freezing point lipid-containing solvent.  Using this method, the membrane precursor is frozen/immobilized prior to the completion of the spontaneous process of bilayer self-assembly, and the process can be resumed later by simply thawing and allowing membrane formation to resume.

Method to Reuse Multielectrode Arrays in Rodents

Researchers at the University of California have developed a protocol to enable the reuse of MEA probes.  Using this protocol, the MEA probes can be carefully peeled off undamaged from a protective layer, cleaned with ethanol and stored for re-use.  In addition, at each reuse the measured electrode impedances remain within the normal range set by the manufacturer for every channel and the probes may be reused up to six times.  This protocol is an improvement over the existing published protocols in that (1) these particular MEA electrodes are available commercially in a variety of configurations; (2) the MEA can be reused a number of times in order to record EEG in freely moving mice. Fig. 2 Setup of MEA EEG that allowed for enhanced reusability.

Combination Therapy Approach Using Novel Biguanides For Cancer Treatment

Researchers in the UCLA Departments of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Surgery, and Medicine have developed novel metformin analogues which, when combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors, enhance the therapeutic benefit of these inhibitors in treating triple-negative breast cancer and other malignancies.

The Bic Inhibitor Of Cry-Cry And Cry-Cib Oligomerization/ Clustering

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have discovered two Arabidopsis proteins, BIC1 and BIC2, that are capable of inhibiting light-dependent dimerization of cryptochrome (CRY) molecules. These BICs can be used as an improved drug screening platform through controlled, titratable, label-free and reversible protein – protein interactions.

Thaw Gelation Process for Encapsulating Cell Spheroids

Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed a thaw gelation process for the formation of cell spheroids within a hydrogel shell.

Lipid Bilayer Formation Using Sessile Droplets

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a method to form a biologically functional lipid bilayer in a high-throughput and automated fashion.

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.

Method to Direct the Reciprocal Interactions Between the Ureteric Bud and the Metanephric Mesenchyme

Researchers at UCLA have developed an approach to construct an embryonic kidney in vitro for the treatment of end stage renal disease.

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