UC Davis School of Medicine

A Publication of UC Davis School of Medicine

Volume 13 • No 1 • Spring 2016

Body of knowledge


A summary of recent findings in clinical, translational and basic science research at UC Davis

stem cells under microscope

An international collaboration between UC Davis and Swedish scientists has resulted in the first comprehensive characterization of a recently discovered cell-to-cell communication system used by stem cells. The findings will help scientists to develop new stem cell-based treatment options for peripheral artery disease, a condition affecting roughly 12 million people in the U.S. alone.

research lab

Researchers at UC Davis and the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories have created a chemotherapy-resistant line of bladder cancer cells to study how tumors become resistant to chemotherapy, and identified molecular changes that could drive that resistance. Their research suggests these molecules could provide new targets to re-sensitize cancer cells to treatment.

DNA illustration

In a game-changing study, researchers at UC Davis and other organizations have shown that the enzyme Cyclin-dependent kinase1 (CDK1) plays a key role in DNA repair, including mending radiation-damaged DNA. The findings could spur development of new therapies to protect healthy cells from radiation damage or to sensitize cancer cells to radiation or chemotherapy.

doctor looking at iPad

UC Davis investigators have found that telecommunication systems that provide remote monitoring and access to specialty care in intensive care units are cost-effective in most cases and can even be cost-saving in certain circumstances, making this intervention potentially economically favorable compared with other health care services.

mamography machine

In a comprehensive modeling study, researchers from UC Davis and other institutions found that breast cancer screening with digital mammography poses only a small risk of radiation-induced breast cancer for most women, and that biennial screening mammograms started later make these procedures safer for all women. The study was one of several that helped in development of revised mammography screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

pathology slide

Researchers at UC Davis and other institutions have shown that isavuconazole, a new treatment for invasive mold diseases such as Aspergillus, has fewer side effects than other current drugs and is just as effective. These results are good news for leukemia and lymphoma patients and others with compromised immune systems, who can be vulnerable to these opportunistic infections.

pigeon looking at microscope slide on computer monitor (no, seriously)

Pigeons are fairly skilled at distinguishing digitized microscope slides and mammograms of normal vs. cancerous breast tissue, a study by UC Davis and the University of Iowa found. The neural pathways in pigeon and human brains operate in similar fashion, and the birds’ successes and difficulties in interpreting images could provide a window into how physicians process visual cues to diagnose and classify disease risk.