A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
California, UC form partnership for ‘precision medicine’ project, San Francisco Chronicle
Gov. Jerry Brown and the University of California announced a new “precision medicine” initiative April 14 that commits $3 million to a statewide project to compile existing patient data and use it to tailor drug therapies and other treatments to individuals’ specific needs. The California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine comes three months after President Obama announced a $215 million research investment in the same budding field. The investment from California will act as “seed money” for the state program, which will be hosted by UCSF. Read UC coverage.
Meet the man leading California’s $3M ‘precision medicine’ initiative, KQED Future of You
“Precision medicine” may seem like a vague and futuristic term. But for President Obama and other policymakers, it represents the future of cancer treatment and care. For decades, doctors would prescribe treatments that work for some or most people — a “one sized fits all” approach. But precision medicine proposes that care providers treat patients on an individual basis. This week, the state of California stepped up its efforts to deliver more targeted health care by setting aside $3 million for precision medicine. Atul Butte, a physician and computational health buff, has stepped up to lead California’s $3 million initiative. KQED’s Future of You discussed with Butte the goals for the program,called the “California Initiative To Advance Precision Medicine,” a few of the challenges, and the real benefits for people.
California first in care for undocumented, UCLA researchers say, California Healthline
Undocumented immigrants get better health care in California than the rest of the country — but that’s not saying much, according to a new report released April 16 by UCLA researchers. “California is in the lead of a very sorry pack,” said Steven Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and co-author of the report. “For California to stay in the lead, we need to keep innovating.” The report was a joint effort by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the UC Global Health Institute and the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America.
UCSF Fresno celebrates 40 years, The Fresno Bee
When the San Joaquin Valley was hurting for doctors four decades ago, a unique medical education campus was created in Fresno to bridge the gap. Now, one-third of the physicians trained through the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program remain in the Valley after graduation, helping to ease the region’s long battle with a doctor shortage and the need to increase training for existing physicians. “In my residency class, over half of us stayed here,” said Fresno pediatrician Christian Faulkenberry-Miranda a Fresno native who graduated from the program in 2007. “We have a higher physician shortage than any other area, and without the (UCSF) program here that would be higher. People don’t realize how important that has been for the medical care of people here.” UCSF Fresno — a regional campus of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine — is celebrating 40 years of training doctors. A gala and fundraiser, “Valley Visions,” was held April 11 at the Fresno Convention Center in downtown Fresno to commemorate the milestone.
Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People includes UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology Jennifer Doudna for her discovery of a revolutionary DNA-editing technique that has upended the world of genetics. The technique, called CRISPR-Cas9, exploits precisely targeted DNA-cutting enzymes from bacteria to snip and edit human and animal DNA, making it much easier to create animal models of disease and possibly correct human genetic disease via gene therapy. Doudna’s colleague and co-discoverer, Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University, was also named to Time‘s 100 list.
Lessons from the fields, Slate
California’s 90-mile-long Salinas Valley, with its mild climate and rich soil, is known for abundant agriculture. Often called the “salad bowl of the world,” this fertile valley two hours south of the San Francisco Bay Area produces 70 percent of the nation’s lettuce, along with bountiful strawberries, broccoli and other cool-weather crops. But pioneering research from University of California at Berkeley, in partnership with the community in Salinas, has revealed some dire consequences from the use of chemical pesticides in the region.
Bill extends, expands benefits review, California Healthline
Who doesn’t like Ch-Burp? The much-beloved acronym CHBRP, belonging to the California Health Benefits Review Program, will get a longer life and expanded powers under a bill passed by the Senate Appropriations committee on April 13. CHBRP was created in 2002 in advance of the Affordable Care Act, to independently assess bills that would create health insurance benefit mandates. Analysis is coordinated within the University of California system. The program is due to sunset on June 30 this year. But that work isn’t finished, according to SB 125 by Sen. Ed Hernandez.
UC clinics in Southern California to remain open amid doctors strike, Los Angeles Times
The student health centers at five University of California campuses in Southern California, where unionized doctors are on strike over contract negotiations, will be open on April 13, according to university officials. The health professionals walked out of the health clinics at UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara on April 11 as part of a rolling strike that began April 9 in Northern and Central California.
FDA warns researchers on claims of drug to detect brain disease, The New York Times
The developers of a new drug aimed at diagnosing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma, are under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. In February, the F.D.A.’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion sent a letter to two researchers at UCLA warning them that they had improperly marketed their drug on the Internet and had made overstated claims about the drug’s potential efficacy. The researchers at UCLA have been developing a biomarker called FDDNP, which aims to identify tau protein deposits in the brain (a signature of C.T.E.) when patients are given a PET scan.
State lawmakers take aim at UC brass’ lofty salaries, San Francisco Chronicle
State lawmakers from both parties are sending the University of California an angry message by advancing a bill to cap compensation for UC employees at $500,000 under penalty of losing public funding. The bill, approved by the Assembly’s higher education committee last week, is a prime example of how Gov. Jerry Brown’s concerns over high spending at the public university have spread to the state Legislature, where the bill is one of five in play — all meant to bring UC to its knees by reining in its spending, restricting its ability to raise tuition and ending its constitutional autonomy. The measure, AB837, and the other bills get at the heart of the irritation that students, lawmakers from both parties and Brown feel toward UC. Their complaint: The university keeps increasing compensation for its highest-paid employees while demanding that students pay more tuition and that the state contribute more toward its bottom line. But — as UC officials quickly point out, and as state lawmakers readily acknowledge — nearly all the money for those sky-high salaries, 91 percent, comes from non-state funds. Most employees earning that much are coaches paid from ticket sales and media deals, or doctors whose wages come from hospital revenue rather than tax dollars or tuition.
A grateful heart may be a healthy heart, HealthDay News
Being thankful for the good things in life may benefit heart failure patients, a new study suggests. Study author Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at UC San Diego, is quoted.