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  • Surgeons at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center performed the first hand transplant in the western United States in a surgery that took a 17-member team nearly 15 hours to complete.
  • A UCLA/Veterans Administration study finds a chemical compound that causes astounding hair growth in stressed-out mice by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with hair loss.
  • A personalized vaccine based on the patient's own tumor doubles survival time in patients with a deadly brain cancer called glioblastoma, finds a study at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.


  • A common heart medication can also reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, UCLA researchers and colleagues have found. The medication, a specific sub-class of dihydropyridine, was associated with a 26 to 30 percent decrease in the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • People battling multiple sclerosis (MS) have a lifetime risk as high as 50 percent for developing depression. Researchers at UCLA have now found a physical link between MS and depression. In a recent study, atrophy of a certain area of the hippocampus, a brain center responsible for mood and memory, was shown as the probable cause.
  • UCLA research has shown that the families of military personnel deployed into combat may experience stress just as the deployed parent does in readjusting to home life. The studies showed that the number and length of repeated deployments cause higher levels of anxiety that persist even after the deployed parent has returned.
  • In 2007, a gene allele associated with obesity was expressed in half of Americans from European ancestry. Now, UCLA researchers have found that the same allele, which is also carried by one-quarter of U.S. Hispanics, 15 percent of African Americans, and 15 percent of Asian Americans, may also cause brain tissue loss. This puts more than a third of the U.S. population at risk for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
  • UCLA researchers have shown that brain cells grown in culture can be trained to “keep time.” The team stimulated brain cells with simple patterns lasting from a 20th of a second to half a second, and observed a measurable change in the cellular networks’ response, helping to explain how the brain tells time.
  • Participating in the largest DNA scan for familial autism, UCLA researchers have identified new genetic changes present in as many as 20 percent of autistic children but only rarely in their parents. The study confirms that the autistic children carry individual genetic mutations that are unique to them, which contribute to their susceptibility to autism.
  • Kicking the smoking habit, even over the age of 65, can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a UCLA study has shown. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 65.
  • Patients with eye cancer often face a threat to their vision when undergoing radiation treatment for the disease. UCLA researchers have shown that a substance called silicon oil can shield the eye and protect vision in patients undergoing radiation therapy for ocular melanoma.
  • A national survey conducted by researchers from UCLA and Wayne State found that only 21 percent of Americans suffering from depression receive appropriate treatment; half receive no treatment at all. Treatment rates are significantly lower among minority populations.
  • Researchers at the UCLA AIDS Institute have successfully removed a cell receptor called CCR5, which plays a role in HIV infection but is not needed by the body, from human cells. The findings point to a new treatment for HIV that would have minimal toxicity for patients.
  • The genetic mutation of a gene called neurofibromin causes neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, the most common cause of learning disabilities. Building on this research, a UCLA research team has shown that the protein controlled by neorofibromin controls the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA, and that too much GABA in the brain interferes with working memory. The study suggests a potential drug target to correct NF1-related disorders.
  • Researchers at UCLA and Canada’s McGill University have demonstrated structural changes in specific brain regions in female patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The condition, which causes pain and discomfort in the abdomen, is generally agreed to represent an alteration in brain-gut interaction.
  • Dieting to control weight is not enough to prevent type 2 diabetes. Sarcopenia – low skeletal muscle mass and strength – still puts people at risk for this condition. Exercise and diet work best together to prevent the disease.
  • Researchers from UCLA found that patients living in low-income communities reduced their blood pressure and improved their overall health more when given phone assistance to set up physician appointments than did those seen in person by a community nurse. The researchers believe the improvement was a result of the fact that the phone-assisted patients saw a physician and had medications sooner than did those working with the nurse.
  • A long-term study by the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program has shown that surgery to remove the damaged half of the brain in children experiencing seizures helps stop seizures and improve quality of life and development. The study also showed that the surgical aspect of the program has improved over the last two decades, and has led to more successful outcomes.
  • Early non-invasive testing and consideration of surgery provide the best outcomes for children with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). In the past, recommended treatment involved invasive testing with electrodes inserted into the brain, and medications.
  • A new study by researchers at UCLA and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggests that improved air quality over the past decade has resulted in fewer cases of ear infections in children. The results may validate the impact of the Clean Air Act of 1990, according to researchers.
  • A new study has shown that metformin, a drug often used to treat diabetes mellitus, is safe for treating patients with both diabetes and advanced heart failure. This may affect over 2 million patients with both conditions, since diabetes increases the risk of heart disease.
  • A new study by UCLA scientists has shown that even brief exposure to ultra-fine particles found near freeways is enough to boost the tissue inflammation that exacerbates asthma. Air pollution particles one-thousandth the width of a human hair incited inflammation deep in the lungs.
  • Researchers at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center tested two new therapies, thoracic epidural anesthesia and left cardiac sympathetic nerve decline, to treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. The study found that the procedures were well-tolerated, and may offer an alternative in arrhythmia treatment.
  • Stem cell researchers at UCLA discovered a pattern in DNA methylation (the addition of a methyl group to DNA), an event that affects cell function when gene expression is changed by the altered DNA. The study has implications for future work on cancer and stem cell lines.
  • Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have taken lymphocytes armed with a cancer-fighting virus, and added a “reporter” gene. This gene enabled the scientists to track the genetically engineered lymphocytes using PET scanning. The lymphocytes made their way to the lungs and lymph nodes and then homed in on tumors wherever they were located in the body.
  • UCLA researchers have identified two cellular proteins that play a key role in hepatitis C virus infection. A new drug targeting these two proteins could help treat hepatitis C in a method that is less toxic to patients. The researchers hope to block the two proteins, and hopefully eliminate the chance for hepatitis C to grow in the body.
  • Working with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, UCLA cancer researchers have found proof that a targeted nanoparticle injected into a patient’s bloodstream, can navigate into tumors, deliver double-strand interfering RNA, and turn off an important cancer gene. In addition, the more nanoparticles sent into the bloodstream, the more of them are found in tumor cells delivering RNA. The study demonstrates the feasibility of using both nonoparticles and RNA interference-based therapeutics in patients.
  • Researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer have found that mice lacking an enzyme called deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) have defects in their immune systems. The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may lead to treatments for autoimmune disorders and cancers of the immune system.
  • Young adults who have faced and overcome cancer in childhood are four times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than their siblings who did not face cancer. A UCLA study has shown these patients developed symptoms including phobias, edginess, and extreme anxiety.
  • A combination of two targeted therapies already shown to be effective in breast cancer has now been shown to offer benefits in treating a subset of gastric cancers with a specific genetic mutation, UCLA cancer researchers have found. The drugs Herceptin and Tykerb, given together, significantly inhibit tumor growth in gastric cancers with amplified levels of HER2, a mutation that causes cancers to become more aggressive. The mutation occurs in between 18 and 27 percent of gastric cancers.
  • UCLA cancer researchers have found that by monitoring changes in proteins called histones, they can predict how patients with pancreatic cancer will respond to chemotherapy treatment. Histones act as spools around which DNA is wound in the cell nucleus. High levels of certain histones in tumor cells predicted which patients were more likely to benefit from chemotherapy after surgery.
  • The first complete genomic sequencing of a brain cancer line, an advance that could lead to the development of personalized treatments based on the unique biological signature of each cancer, has been completed by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The findings may also improve methods of monitoring brain cancer recurrence.
  • UCLA researchers have identified two cellular proteins that are important in the development of hepatitis C virus, which affects between 270-300 million worldwide. The finding shows that blocking these two proteins can reduce the level of virus in infected patients and improve their recovery.
  • Sarcopenia – low muscle mass and strength – common in obese and older people, was thought to put individuals at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. A UCLA study has shown that sarcopenia is associated with insulin resistance in both obese and non-obese people, and with diabetes in obese individuals. Dieting on its own is not enough to protect people from diabetes; muscle mass and strength are also important.
  • Researchers at UCLA have found that more than a third of drinkers 60 years and older consume alcohol in excessive amounts, or in amounts that can interfere with their diseases or medications. This is a high-risk behavior that can lead to accidents or other health problems.
  • Falling down is one of the greatest risks to senior citizens’ health. However, fewer than half of seniors who have a fall see a doctor afterwards, according to a study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. As a result, steps that could prevent future falls are not implemented in half the cases where they could be of benefit.
  • Despite facing seizures, learning and cognitive difficulties, and social stigma, children with epilepsy most often rate their own quality of life on a par with their healthy siblings. A UCLA study has shown that while parents rated their epileptic children lower on 10 of 12 health measures, the children themselves see their lives and health as close to normal.
  • A multi-site study led by UCLA researchers has shown that behavior therapy is as effective as drugs in treating Tourette’s syndrome. The behavior therapy, called comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics, effectively reduces the spasms associated with Tourette’s, without the side effects often resulting from medications.
  • Children with special health needs are less likely to receive the family-centered care they need if they are African-American or Latino, or live in a household where English is not the primary language. Areas shown to have the greatest disparities in care for these minority groups include time with the child’s primary health care provider, and receiving care sensitive to the family’s values and customs.
  • UCLA researchers have developed a PET-scanning probe that, when used in combination with more common probes, reveals a much clearer picture of an immune response in action. The new probe, FAC, measures the activity of a distinct biochemical pathway. Used with an existing probe that shows glucose metabolism, FAC may be useful in evaluating therapies that target different cellular components of the immune system.
  • The development of a safe and effective vaccine for HIV would not ensure that those at risk for contracting the virus would be able to access the drug, or would choose to do so, a UCLA study shows. Fears about the vaccine’s effectiveness and potential side effects may be stumbling blocks to widespread acceptance.
  • UCLA researchers have determined that the brains of people with body dysmorphic disorder have abnormalities in processing visual input. The study found that the same systems of the brain are overactive in obsessive-compulsive disorder, suggesting a link between the two conditions.
  • A new UCLA study has shed light on how genes interact with environmental factors to cause disease. The researchers studied thousands of genes at rest and under stress simulated by fats that incite inflammation. Their findings underscore the fact that genetic studies must consider the intersection of genes with their environment.
  • A virus called vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, has long been studied as a model for understanding other viruses that cause influenza, measles, and rabies. VSV can also be genetically modified to serve as a highly effective anti-caner agent. Now, UCLA researchers have decoded the architectural organization of the entire bullet-shaped virus. The findings could help lead to advances in the development of VSV-based vaccines for several deadly viruses.
  • A multi-disciplinary group of researchers from UCLA demonstrated the usefulness of salivary diagnostics to find an early marker for pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease. In the study, the researchers successfully linked changes in the molecular signatures found in human saliva to the presence of early-stage pancreatic cancer.
  • According to a new UCLA study, older women who are no longer or have never been married have twice the rate of their married peers of being uninsured. Women ages 50 to 64 begin to develop more chronic and accelerated health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. However, as they near the age of retirement, women’s insurance status may change as well.
  • Researchers from UCLA and the West LA VA Medical Center developed a new assessment tool that can help guide treatment of pancreatic cysts based on probable outcome, and patients’ views about aggressive treatment vs. quality of life.
  • A hospital study led by UCLA researchers showed that care and clinical outcomes for acute stroke patients significantly improved at hospitals that follow approved guidelines to improve care. Quality of outcomes improved from 72 percent to 93 percent in hospitals following the approved guidelines to treat stroke patients, compared to those that did not.
  • UCLA researchers have discovered what they describe as a biochemical link between misery and death. In addition, they identified a specific genetic variation in some individuals that seems to disconnect that link, rendering them more biologically resilient in the face of adversity. More important in the long term, the researchers have developed a unique strategy for finding and confirming gene-environment interactions.
  • Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute successfully removed CCR5 – a cell receptor to HIV-1 that binds to cause infection but which the human body does not need – from human cells. Individuals who naturally lack the CCR5 receptor have been shown to be resistant to HIV infection. The findings provide evidence that prompting long-term reduction of CCR5 can be an effective way to treat patients infected with HIV.
  • A joint UCLA-RAND study has shown that patients with a common type of colon cancer, especially older patients, often do not receive the aggressive chemotherapy treatment that can lead to better survival. Latest findings call for surgery to remove the cancer, followed by chemotherapy to “lock” patients into a cancer-free state.
  • Using structural magnetic resonance imaging, UCLA researchers showed for the first time that individuals whose mothers abused methamphetamine during pregnancy, with or without alcohol use, had structural brain abnormalities. In addition, these abnormalities were more severe than those seen in children whose mothers abused alcohol alone.
  • UCLA psychiatrists have identified a non-invasive way to identify patients who may have a negative response, including suicidal thoughts, as a result of taking antidepressant medications. The researchers used quantitative electroencephalography to identify a link between worsening mental status and specific changes in brain function as soon as 48 hours after a patient begins a course of antidepressant medications.
  • A common gene allele associated with weight gain and obesity called FTO, carried by roughly half of Americans, has been shown to play a role in loss of brain tissue associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s. Loss of brain tissue in FTO carriers was shown to be as high as 20 percent, and can increase as body weight rises. The UCLA study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • A new UCLA study has shown that, among seniors, women and patients with dementia are most likely to exceed their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage annual limit before catastrophic coverage kicks in. According to the UCLA study, patients in these vulnerable groups should be counseled on how best to manage costs by taking steps such as switching to generic or alternative drugs, or stopping use of non-essential medications.
  • A new UCLA study looked at methods to help low-income immigrant patients maintain long-term improvement in their blood pressure. The first group was twice as likely to improve their condition if they got help making follow-up physician appointments from a member of the research group. In comparison, the second group assigned to meet with a community nurse who offered more detailed health counseling as well as follow-up appointment scheduling, were less likely to keep blood pressure within healthy limits.
  • UCLA researchers have verified the existence and recorded the activities of “mirror neurons” in the brain for the first time. Mirror neurons fire both when we perform tasks, and when we observe the performance of others. This “mirroring” is the neural mechanism by which the actions, intentions, and emotions of others can be understood, and which allows us to differentiate our actions from the actions of others.
  • A new UCLA study compared the benefits and risks of heart bypass surgery, a major medical procedure, with those of angioplasty including insertion of a wire mesh stent, a less invasive procedure with a much faster recovery time. After reviewing the results of eight studies run over nine years, UCLA researchers found that the risk of death after one year was the same. In addition, risk of stroke was lower in stent patients, but the risk of developing new clots over time was significantly lower in bypass patients.


  • Researchers at UCLA showed that those who were under significant stress as a teenager are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
  • Researchers at UCLA reported that genes play a bigger role in intelligence than previously thought. Researchers scanned the brains of identical and fraternal twins to show that areas of the brain most important to intelligence are influenced by genetics rather than environment or education.
  • Clinical trials showed that a unique nerve-stimulation device can reduce the number of seizures experienced by patients with intractable epilepsy by more than 50 percent.
  • A UCLA study showed that chronic insomnia disrupts one of the two hormones responsible for regulating hunger signals in the body. Insomnia has long been associated with poor health and obesity.
  • Researchers at UCLA showed that two pesticides used to protect crops in California’s central valley can trigger a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson’s disease. The combination of these two chemicals increased risk of the disease by 75 percent.
  • Patients arriving at designated hospitals within one hour of a stroke were twice as likely to receive the best clot-busting medication available, tissue plasminogen activator, than those arriving later, a UCLA study showed. Plasminogen can be of most benefit if administered up to three hours after a stroke occurs.
  • Ischemic stroke patients who take recommended doses of B-complex vitamins may lower their risk of having another stroke or vascular event, according to a UCLA study.
  • Intake of six or more cups of coffee a day is associated with lower rates of stroke, according to a UCLA analysis of national health survey data. Additional research will examine coffee’s potential benefits to protect blood vessels.
  • A UCLA-RAND study showed that obese women who undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss before becoming pregnant reduce their risk of pregnancy-related complications and give birth to healthier babies.
  • A UCLA study demonstrated a new method that would allow earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease. By comparing the results of a PET scan using a novel biological marker that binds to plaque and tangles in the brain, with information about each study participant and their cognitive health, UCLA scientists were able to detect signs of brain aging, often before symptoms of dementia had appeared.
  • UCLA physicians demonstrated that by using PET scanning with CT scanning, they can determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy after the first round of treatment. Typically patients are screened after three months to determine their response to chemotherapy.
  • UCLA opened a new Institute of Urologic Oncology. The center will bring together focused experts to develop therapies for cancer of the prostate, bladder, kidney, and testicles.
  • A UCLA study showed that the LDL cholesterol levels of nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for heart attack were within the normal range. The study suggests that lowering cholesterol guideline targets may reduce the number of patients who are hospitalized for heart attack.
  • UCLA researchers developed a chemical marker which, when injected, binds to Parkinson’s malformations in the brain. By injecting study subjects with the marker and then doing a PET scan, researchers are able to pinpoint if and where these abnormal deposits are accumulating.
  • A UCLA study highlighted the shortage of African Americans involved in HIV/AIDS research despite the disproportionate number living with the disease. The study suggests steps to encourage more African American scientists to enter the field.
  • A new UCLA study has shown that drinking at least three cups of green or black tea a day can significantly reduce risk of stroke. The effect was not noted with herbal teas.
  • UCLA researchers have identified the first known genetic mutation linked to a condition called short rib polydactyly syndrome. The disease causes fatal problems in newborn children.
  • Formed with a grant from the American Heart Association, UCLA’s new stroke research center will focus on training researchers from underserved minority groups, as well as studying stroke treatment and prevention among these patients.
  • Using a genetically modified form of gemcitabine, a commonly-used chemotherapy drug, UCLA researchers created a new molecular probe that enables doctors to visualize the success of different cancer treatments in different patients. The probe “lights up” areas where the drug is active using PET scanning.
  • A UCLA study showed for the first time how microscopic crystals located on hair-like cilia in the ear govern hearing and balance.
  • Gene therapy can be developed as a safe and effective once-only weapon against HIV, according to a UCLA study. The first-of-its-kind study was shown to reduce viral load and help preserve the immune system.
  • In the 16 states where Medicaid does not cover circumcision, hospitals are only about half as likely to perform the procedure, according to a UCLA study. This could lead to an increased risk of HIV infection among lower-income children later in life, the study showed.
  • Certain marginalized social groups, including the mentally ill, the disabled, and certain ethnic minorities, fare worse than others in the aftermath of both natural and terrorist disasters, according to a UCLA study. In addition, these groups tend to suffer disproportionate impoverishment, injuries, and fatalities following a disaster.
  • A first-of-its-kind UCLA study determined that nearly five percent of Americans suffer from persistent depression or anxiety disorders, and only a small minority of those sufferers receive adequate treatment.
  • A new UCLA study showed that light to moderate drinking among healthy seniors can reduce the odds of developing physical problems that lead to disability.
  • With supporting data from animal studies, new UCLA research shows that exposure to two pesticides commonly used on crops in the central valley of California increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in humans by 75 percent.
  • UCLA researchers and colleague designed a unique method for inducing immunity to chlamydia trachomatis. More than one million people are infected with this bacteria every year.
  • Insomnia may signal the onset of depression among the elderly, UCLA researchers found. This association was strongest among seniors who had experienced depression earlier in life.
  • Working with colleagues from 30 different research institutions across the country, UCLA researchers have identified a new gene variant that is highly common in autistic children. The study showed that this gene, CDH10, is most active in brain regions that support language, speech, and social behavior.


  • ‘Light’ cigarettes actually have nearly the same nicotine level as regular cigarettes, a UCLA study has shown. In addition, light cigarettes deliver nearly as much nicotine to the brain as the regular brands.
  • UCLA researchers have demonstrated that the age-related decline of our mental capabilities is linked to the deterioration of the protective myelin sheath that covers and protects our brain cells from damage.
  • In a collaborative study, UCLA researchers helped identify three genes that, when damaged, can contribute to the onset of schizophrenia. The findings may help clarify the underlying biology of the disease.
  • As part of a multi-center study, UCLA researchers helped demonstrate that adolescents and children with anxiety disorders responded most often to psychotherapy with anti-depressant medication. However, giving the treatments alone was also somewhat effective.
  • In a recent study, UCLA researchers and colleagues demonstrated how the compounds in red wine may reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, compounds in red wine called polyphenols block the formation of the toxic plaques thought to destroy brain cells, and to reduce the toxicity of existing plaques.
  • In the first study of its kind, UCLA researchers showed that post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety run in families. The study followed survivors of a massive earthquake in Armenia to prove that there is a genetic component to these mood disorders.
  • For the first time, UCLA researchers demonstrated that the central nervous system can reorganize itself after injury, creating new pathways to restore nerve connections between the body and the brain.
  • A UCLA study showed that the practice of “mindfulness meditation” slows the destruction of CD4+ immune cells by reducing stress. Stress is known to increase CD4+ cell decline and hasten the advance of AIDS.
  • A new study by UCLA researchers has shown that in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, levels of specific proteins in the blood and spinal fluid begin to drop. Screening for these proteins in patients at risk for Alzheimer’s could be valuable long before symptoms begin.
  • UCLA scientists identified a gene linked to the onset of autism. The research, duplicated by two other centers in the same academic journal, showed that the gene (CNTNAP2), is most active in brain regions involved with language and thought.
  • For the first time, scientists at UCLA and colleagues have recorded individual brain cells in the act of calling up a memory. The research reveals where memories are stored in the brain, and how the brain is able to retrieve them.
  • A study done by UCLA researchers suggest that grief which is both chronic and complicated, such as that associated with losing a loved one, stimulates both pain and pleasure receptors in the brain. Those with more severe grief, therefore, get some neural reward as they grieve. The study could lead to new treatments for severe grief symptoms.
  • UCLA researchers demonstrated that an FDA-approved drug called rapamycin reverses the mental retardation caused by tuberous sclerosis complex. The study results may highlight a new research path for autism as well.
  • For the first time, UCLA researchers discovered a link between sleep apnea and memory loss. The study showed that apnea patients had tissue loss in the same regions of the brain that help store memory.
  • A UCLA study has linked telomerase, an enzyme that helps protect telomeres in immune cells, with stress. This finding explains in part why stress is associated with diseases including HIV and heart disease. Like a wick in a candle, telomeres dwindle as cells divide over time.
  • Researchers at UCLA have solved the structure of a class of proteins known as sodium glucose co-transporters. The finding will accelerate the development of new drugs to treat long-term diarrhea, as well as diabetes and cancer.
  • The drug Aricept can improve brain activity and physiology in patients with mild memory loss, a UCLA study showed. Study subjects were given Aricept or placebo, and then underwent PET scans to demonstrate the effect of the drug.
  • Researchers at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA demonstrated that medical students who attended racially and ethnically diverse medical schools are better equipped to practice medicine in today’s diverse society. This was the first study to link medical school diversity with educational benefits.
  • Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute demonstrated that a compound called TAT2, found in a root frequently used in Chinese herbal remedies, may slow the degeneration of the immune system seen in AIDS.
  • A UCLA study has shown that the sagging of lower eyelids common with aging is caused not by a weakened ligament, but by fat expansion in the eye socket.
  • A UCLA study has identified the top predicting conditions common among heart failure patients who are hospitalized: pneumonia, irregular heart beat, and obstructed blood flow to the heart. The same factors also influenced re-admission, length of stay, and mortality rates.
  • Researchers at UCLA and VA Hospital in West Los Angeles have collaborated to pinpoint the genetic mutation responsible for severe childhood epilepsy. The finding may lead to the development of new treatments for this severe form of epilepsy and others.
  • Among middle-aged to older adults, searching the Internet activates brain centers that control decision-making and complex reasoning. Taking part in this kind of activity may help exercise and improve brain function as we age, a UCLA study has shown.
  • UCLA scientists and partners have developed the first method of measuring the hormone hepcidin, which regulates the distribution and absorption of dietary iron in the body. This tool will help physicians manage chronic conditions such as anemia.
  • Researchers at UCLA have engineered a new tuberculosis vaccine for HIV-positive patients that is more potent and safer than currently available vaccines.
  • UCLA researchers report that a compound occurring naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may protect against respiratory inflammation that causes conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An earlier study out of UCLA showed that this group of vegetables also helps boost the human immune system.
  • UCLA stem-cell researchers were able to grow functioning cardiac cells using mouse-skin cells that they reprogrammed into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells.
  • A UCLA study reported that the smallest particles from vehicle emissions may be the most-damaging components of air pollution in triggering plaque build-up in the arteries that can lead to heart attack and/or stroke. The scientists identified a way in which these ultrafine pollutants promote hardening of the arteries – by inactivating the protective qualities of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol.
  • Scientists with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have shown that lowering intake of the type of fat common in a Western diet helps prevent prostate cancer in mice, the first finding of its kind in a mouse model that closely mimics human cancer.
  • UCLA cancer researchers found that men with jobs that require them to be physically active may be at a decreased risk for developing prostate cancer.
  • Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered biomarkers that predict which patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will respond to a combination treatment of the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex and the growth-factor receptor blocker Tarceva.
  • Using nanotechnology, UCLA scientists have developed a localized and controlled drug-delivery method that is invisible to the immune system, a discovery that could provide newer and more-effective treatments for cancer and other diseases.
  • A UCLA study has shown that women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are unable to effectively turn off a pain-modulation mechanism in the brain, causing them to be more sensitive to abdominal discomfort than others. These findings bring researchers one step closer to designing new therapies for IBS.
  • Without using embryos or eggs, UCLA researchers have reprogrammed human skin cells into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells. This work could lead to a limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine.
  • A new UCLA study showed that only about half of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) actually show the cognitive defects commonly associated with the condition. The study also showed that in populations where medication is rarely prescribed to treat ADHD, the prevalence and symptoms of the disorder are roughly equivalent to populations in which medications are widely used.
  • A mathematical model devised by UCLA scientists shows that a new wave of drug-resistant HIV is rising among men who have sex with other men, and that this trend will continue over the next few years. This amplification model can now be used to design novel and effective health policies for controlling resistant strains of HIV.
  • Researchers at UCLA have found that a chemical found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may boost the body’s immune system, which declines as we age.
  • Researchers at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA found that low-dose antidepressant therapy can significantly improve the overall quality of life for adolescents suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The study concluded that antidepressant therapy should be a treatment option for these patients.
  • UCLA researchers determined that select patients over the age of 65 can safely undergo lung transplantation and have acceptable outcomes. The study negates current thinking that older adults should not be considered for transplantation due to lower survival rates.
  • Researchers at UCLA and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University used different methods to pinpoint a gene that likely predisposes children to autism. The gene may also influence the development of brain structures involved in language, providing a tangible link between genes, the brain, and behavior.
  • A study conducted through the UCLA Epilepsy Surgery Program determined that auditory neurons that carry sound to the brain are far more sensitive than the human auditory nerve. A single human auditory neuron was able to distinguish between very subtle frequency differences, down to a tenth of an octave.


  • A UCLA study has shown that some angiogenesis inhibitors, drugs that block a tumor’s development of its own blood supply, may actually lead to heart attack and/or stroke.
  • Stem-cell scientists at UCLA were able to produce from human embryonic stem cells a large quantity of highly pure functioning neurons. This capability will allow them to create models of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s prefrontal dementia for advanced study.
  • A multidisciplinary team of UCLA scientists was able to differentiate metastatic cancer cells from normal cells in patient samples using leading-edge nanotechnology that measures the softness of the cells.
  • A UCLA study found that watching comedy shows helped children tolerate pain for longer periods of time, suggesting that humorous distraction could be used in clinical settings to help children and adolescents better-handle painful procedures.
  • Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a novel anti-inflammatory cell-signaling pathway that may serve as a vital Yin-Yang mechanism to maintain the delicate balance of immune response.
  • A study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center showed that one method of blocking blood-supply development to treat cancer could result in serious and potentially deadly side effects.
  • A novel mechanism to predict survival in older women with early-stage lung cancer has been uncovered by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, a discovery that may have significant implications for new treatment approaches.
  • A UCLA study of quality-of-life in patients who underwent one of the three most-common treatments for prostate cancer found that each affected men’s lives in different ways, providing invaluable information for men with prostate cancer who are facing vital treatment decisions.
  • Stem-cell researchers at UCLA discovered that blood stem cells – the cells that later differentiate into all the cells in the blood supply – originate and grow in the placenta. The findings may allow researchers to create a similar environment in which to grow these cells for use in treating diseases like leukemia and aplastic anemia.
  • UCLA researchers have isolated an ingredient in curcumin that may help the immune system clear amyloid beta that forms the plaques found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is a natural substance found in the tumeric root that is frequently used in Indian curries.
  • Researchers at UCLA found that a simple blood test taken at hospital admission can strongly predict in-hospital mortality for heart-failure patients. The test will be useful in helping doctors determine which patients need more-intensive monitoring and treatment.
  • A UCLA study finds that PET (positron emission tomography) is much more sensitive and accurate in detecting response to treatment among sarcoma patients. The findings will help physicians adjust treatment for these patients.
  • UCLA researchers and colleagues in Toronto discovered a protein called CREB that determines whether a neuron will play a role in memory formation. The finding suggests new approaches for preserving memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury.
  • UCLA researchers have identified a loop within the amyloid beta protein that causes A beta to clump into the sticky tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The finding could hasten the design of drugs that block the production of A beta and prevent it from clumping.
  • In the first large-scale, multiethnic study of its kind, UCLA researchers have confirmed the role of three cytokines in causing type 2 diabetes, and have identified these same molecules as early biological markers to predict future diabetes onset in healthy individuals.
  • The protein comer-zinc-superoxide has been implicated in Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) since 1993. UCLA researchers have found that in ALS patients, the protein’s copper and zinc components may not be present. Finding the cause of the lack of metals in ALS patients would be a major advance that could lead to treatment.
  • UCLA researchers have linked higher levels of the enzyme aromatase to more-aggressive lung cancer in women over 65 with stage 1 or 2 disease. The discovery not only gives scientists a possible new tool to predict survival, but may also provide a target for therapy using aromatase inhibitors.
  • Researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA were able to take normal tissue cells from mice and reprogram them into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells, the cells that are able to give rise to every cell type found in the body.
  • UCLA researchers used innovative brain scan technology with a new imaging molecule developed at UCLA to show that the abnormal brain protein deposits that define Alzheimer's disease can be detected early in people with mild cognitive impairment. This new diagnostic tool may help identify those at risk perhaps years before symptoms become obvious.


Brain Scan
  • UCLA researchers used innovative brain-scan technology with a new imaging molecule developed at UCLA to show that the abnormal brain protein deposits that define Alzheimer’s disease can be detected early in people with mild cognitive impairment. This new diagnostic tool may help identify those at risk perhaps years before symptoms become obvious.
  • Researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have transformed adult stem cells taken from human fat tissue into smooth-muscle cells. The finding may help lead to the use of fat stem cells for smooth-muscle tissue engineering and repair.
  • An experimental therapy that battles drug resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has proved “extremely effective” in fighting cancer, giving patients for whom all conventional therapies have failed another option, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center reported.
  • Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine have demonstrated for the first time that human embryonic stem cells can be genetically manipulated and coaxed to develop into mature T-cells, raising hopes for a gene therapy to combat AIDS.
  • UCLA Medical Center received the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines – Coronary Artery Disease Performance Achievement award for six consecutive years and a Get with the Guidelines – Heart Failure Performance Achievement award for two consecutive years. The award recognizes UCLA’s implementation of higher standards of coronary care.
  • Researchers led by Dr. Martin G. Martin at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA unraveled a mysterious condition that causes congenital diarrhea and intestinal failure in children. The findings represent the first description of a disease-causing mutation of the gene NEUROG3 in humans, and the first new discovery within the past 15 years of a disorder that causes intestinal failure.
  • UCLA researchers showed that stroke-causing clots derived from arterial and cardiac sources are made of similar components, contrary to traditional beliefs. The findings could lead to better therapies to prevent clots, clear blockages and reverse strokes in the crucial first hours after they occur.
  • UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center researchers discovered that combining the molecule-targeted therapy Herceptin with chemotherapy significantly improved disease-free survival in women who express the Her-2neu genetic mutation.
  • UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers found that melanoma sends a chemical signal to the sentinel lymph node, the node most susceptible to the early spread of the cancer. The discovery provides valuable clues about how melanomas metastasize, and may one day lead to new treatments for this deadly form of skin cancer.
  • Research at UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center demonstrated that drinking an eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily improved the PSA levels of men being treated for prostate cancer by nearly four times.
  • A UCLA study found that neural stem cells grown from one of the federally approved human-embryonic-stem-cell lines proved to be inferior to neural stem cells derived from fetal tissue donated for research.
  • Research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center showed that the immune systems do not shut down in breast-cancer survivors who suffer from persistent, debilitating fatigue years after their diagnosis. The discovery may lead to behavioral interventions such as tai chi and yoga that will help alleviate persistent fatigue. The study is the first to look at the cellular basis for immune activation in fatigued breast-cancer survivors.
  • More than 30 percent of breast-cancer survivors report problems with fatigue as long as 10 years after their diagnosis, according to a UCLA study, the first large-scale, longitudinal study of such fatigue symptoms.
  • UCLA pathologists devised a novel way to correct abnormal gene splicing — a common mutation that often leads to disease. Splicing edits out the “punctuation” from a cell’s genetic blueprint, enabling its code to dictate protein production by the cell. The scientists used a new technology to design a custom mask to camouflage each abnormal splice, preventing the cell from seeing the genetic defects and restoring splicing. The findings suggest a powerful new approach for treating cancer and other diseases caused by genetic mutations.
  • UCLA researchers used imaging technology to explain how chemotherapy changes the brain’s metabolism and blood flow – changes that can linger at least 10 years after treatment. The findings may help explain “chemo brain” – the mental confusion, memory loss and inability to concentrate that plague many chemotherapy patients.
  • UCLA radiologists collaborated with Siemens Medical Solutions to develop a software program that enables an imaging expert to log onto a personal computer and operate an MRI machine by remote control. UCLA researchers found that the quality of the remote scans was superior to onsite scans by a less experienced technologist.


  • Dr. Jeffrey Saver, co-director of the UCLA Stroke Center, quantified and timed the brain damage that occurs during a stroke caused by a clot cutting off blood flow to part of the brain (ischemic stroke), the most-common type of stroke. Saver determined that an ischemic stroke kills 1.9 million brain cells each minute.
  • Researchers at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA reported in an imaging study that children with autism have virtually no activity in their mirror neuron system while imitating and observing emotions. Mirror neurons fire when a person performs a goal-directed action and while he or she observes the same action performed by others. Neuroscientists believe this observation-execution matching system provides a neural mechanism by which actions, intentions and emotions can be understood automatically.
  • Using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center were able to observe – in real time – how the immune system initially recognizes cancer and mobilizes to fight the disease. The UCLA study is expected to lead to new ways to test immune-based therapies for cancer and other immune system-related diseases, and to monitor human response to cancer treatments much more quickly and without the need for invasive biopsies.
  • Researchers at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified key characteristics in certain deadly brain tumors that make them 51 times more likely to respond to a specific class of drugs than tumors in which the molecular signature is absent. The discovery of the telltale molecular signature – the expression of a mutant protein and the presence of a tumor-suppressor protein called PTEN – will allow researchers to identify patients who are likely to respond to the drug treatment before they undergo therapies that are not likely to work.
  • Neuroscientists at UCLA and Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel were the first to show a relationship between functional magnetic resonance imaging signals (fMRI), a heavily used research and clinical tool, and actual brain-cell electrical activity in humans.
  • Researchers at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA found that a new dosing paradigm can improve height outcomes in children who have short stature due to growth-hormone deficiency. The study showed that children whose hormone dosage was increased based on their levels of an insulin-like growth hormone grew 50 percent more than children receiving fixed doses of hormones.
  • The first minimally invasive device for removing blood clots, invented at the UCLA Stroke Center, was approved for use in patients by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • UCLA Medical Center was the first hospital in the world to use mobile robots in its neurosurgery intensive care unit. The robots allow physicians to consult “virtually” with patients, family members and physicians who are miles away and to monitor patients from their homes or offices.


  • The FDA approved the first device to treat acute ischemic stroke. Developed and patented by UCLA physicians, the corkscrew-like device allows doctors to mechanically remove stroke-causing clots from a patient's brain.
  • UCLA research found a distinction in the gene expression of leprosy that allowed the accurate classification of two different clinical forms of the disease. This research could lead to the use of genetic profiling to diagnose and treat many types of disease.
  • A UCLA study demonstrated that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions that are a definitive hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • UCLA researchers showed for the first time that air pollutants alone may cause acute asthma attacks.
  • A UCLA study showed that the use of the drug statin reduced mortality among patients with heart failure by more than 50 percent.


  • A new vaccine based on UCLA research was shown to stop the progression of type 1 diabetes. The vaccine, which is the culmination of more than 20 years of work by UCLA researchers, may lead to a cure for this condition, which affects one in 300 people.
  • UCLA researchers elucidated the structure of the bacterial lactose permease LacY. This accomplishment creates a new paradigm for the study of membrane proteins.
  • An international consortium led by neuroscientists at UCLA introduced the first form and function atlas of the adult human brain in health and disease. The decade-long project involved data compiled from anatomical studies, computer modeling, and scanning


  • Conjoined Twins: Maria de Jesus and Maria TeresaThe UCLA School of Medicine is renamed the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in recognition of a generous gift from David Geffen. The donation is the largest single donation ever made to a medical school in the United States.
  • Conjoined twins Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej Alvarez of Guatemala were separated in a landmark 23-hour surgery at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. A team of more than 50 medical staff operated on the 1-year-old girls, who were conjoined at the head.
  • Dr. Ronald Harper and Dr. Paul Macey discovered that patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea showed loss of gray matter in brain areas that regulate breathing and speech. Nearly 40 percent of the study’s patients also stuttered as children, suggesting that the nighttime breathing disorder may arise from faulty brain wiring early in life.
  • For the first time on the West Coast, UCLA cardiothoracic surgeons used a pioneering technique to harvest an artery from a patient’s wrist for heart-bypass surgery. The procedure is called endoscopic radial artery harvesting.


  • In response to the ongoing national shortage of available livers for transplant, physicians at the Dumont-UCLA Transplant Center performed the nation’s first combined unrelated living liver transplant and “domino” transplant.
  • Cardiothoracic surgeons at UCLA Medical Center were the first on the West Coast – and the fourth nationwide – to implant an AbioCor™ Implantable Replacement Heart. The UCLA team, led by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Hillel Laks, implanted an AbioCor™ Implantable Replacement Heart in a 74-year-old man.
  • UCLA researchers established an important role for the nuclear receptor LXR in macrophage cholesterol metabolism, and outlined the importance of this pathway in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. These studies may lead to the development of synthetic LXR activators as therapeutic agents for cardiovascular disease.
  • A UCLA research team became the first to show that the amount of gray matter in the front of the brain is determined by the genetic makeup of an individual’s parents, and strongly correlates with that individual’s cognitive ability.
  • UCLA physicians successfully harvested stem cells from human fat removed via liposuction and grew bone, muscle, cartilage and fat tissue. The findings hold promise as the first plentiful and easily obtained source of stem cells.


  • UCLA researchers were first to pinpoint the cause of narcolepsy as the degenerative loss of Hcrt neurons. These brain cells produce the neuropeptide hypocretin, which sends messages to numerous regions through the central nervous system, including the major mass of cells that regulates sleep.
  • Scientists from UCLA and Johns Hopkins University took the first step in discovering how the brain, at the molecular and cellular levels, converts short-term memories into permanent ones. While previous studies pointed to the critical role of the cerebral cortex, this study revealed the role of a protein that must be present in the cortex for information to be converted from short-term into lifelong memories.


  • Pediatrician Dr. Yvonne Bryson was instrumental in limiting the transmission of AIDS from mother to fetus. In the 1990s she helped organize the vertical transmission clinical trial that demonstrated the benefit of giving HIV-infected pregnant women AZT to prevent fetal infection during pregnancy. This regimen has become a national standard of care, reducing the mother-to-fetus transmission rate from 24 percent to less than five percent.
  • Cancer researcher Dr. Fred Eilber developed a unique limb-salvage technique for cancer patients that now serves as a national model. He treats sarcoma patients with chemotherapy before surgery, avoiding limb amputation.
  • In pediatric ophthalmology, a decade of research from 1990 to 2000 into povidone-iodine as a topical alternative to antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of eye infections enabled the use of this medication as a standard treatment around the world, dramatically reducing the incidence of blindness in children in underdeveloped countries. Faculty have shown that povidone-iodine is not only an effective, broad-spectrum, anti-microbial agent, but it has significant cost advantages over antibiotics.
  • Researchers in the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology were the first in the United States to use the gamma-knife for stereotactic irradiation of intracranial tumors and malformations. UCLA became the world’s leading center in the use of a more versatile “shaped-beam” radiosurgery technique for treating intracranial tumors with x-rays.
  • Current methods of planning a course of radiation therapy are based largely on UCLA experimental radiation oncology studies that clarified the biology of “dose fractionation.” The researchers’ findings led to a worldwide shift away from treatment breaks and toward extended intensive therapy. They also demonstrated that varying the size of each day’s x-ray dose could improve the difference between the responses of cancerous and normal tissue. The application of these findings has resulted in improved cure rates.


  • UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers were the first to demonstrate that smoking marijuana may increase the risk of head and neck cancers.
  • Due to a national shortage of available lungs for transplant, UCLA scientists developed a cutting-edge “modified reperfusion” technique that combines the patient’s blood with added elements that ultimately help resuscitate the new lungs. The process works by replenishing the new lung with nutrients as well as removing any white blood cells that might injure the lung and cause lung failure.


  • UCLA researchers discovered hepcidin, the long-anticipated iron-regulatory hormone whose deficiency is the chief cause of hemochromatosis and whose excess causes anemia of inflammation.
  • UCLA pharmacologist Dr. Louis J. Ignarro was one of three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for showing that nitric oxide helps the body regulate key functions such as blood pressure, and helps prevent blood clots that can cause strokes.


  • Dr. Charles Sawyers developed the first animal model for prostate cancer. Previously, there was no way to grow prostate-cancer tumor cells outside a patient’s body. The ability to grow those cells in animals provided researchers with an extremely important new tool.
  • Dr. John Glaspy, medical director of the UCLA Oncology Clinic, demonstrated for the first time that the dietary regulation of certain fatty acids changes the composition of human breast tissue in such a way that it may be more resistant to cancer.


  • UCLA physicians started a national cystic fibrosis carrier screening study that led to the first nationwide molecular genetic screening program.
  • The first multi-generational bone marrow transplant took place at UCLA. During this groundbreaking procedure, a child with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) received bone marrow from her sister, who had received a curative transplant from her father two years earlier.


  • A team of UCLA surgeons and other transplant specialists led by Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil performed the first combined small bowel/liver transplant in the western United States.
  • UCLA's Dr. Hillel Laks pioneered the country's first alternative heart transplant, and was the first U.S. cardiac surgeon to perform bypass surgery on a donor heart prior to transplantation.
  • Researchers at the School of Medicine showed for the first time that brain metabolism and function change as a result of behavior therapy, just as they do with drug therapy, for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • In a major step toward understanding opiate drug action, UCLA researchers were the first to clone a cellular receptor that recognizes opiate drugs and allows them to take effect in the body. The finding is essential to understanding opiate drugs’ role in pain perception and euphoria, as well as to elucidating the biological processes involved in opiate tolerance and dependence.


  • UCLA physician Dr. Arnold Scheibel and colleagues were the first to demonstrate the impact of education and metal activity on brain structure and complexity.
  • UCLA researchers identified the primary site in the brainstem responsible for generating the rhythm of breathing and named it the preBotzinger Complex. In 2003, they identified a second site in the brainstem that also can generate the rhythm of breathing.
  • Researchers at the School of Medicine and UCLA Brain Research Institute found that the brains of people who receive an education and continue to challenge themselves intellectually exhibit certain anatomical changes compared to those who do not. The former may experience better mental functioning throughout life.
  • Dr. Harvey Herschman discovered a new form of the cyclooxygenase (“cox-2”) molecule that can be made artificially. The finding has had a major impact on thinking about inflammation, arthritis, cancer and other diseases, and has led to a $4-billion-per-year pharmaceutical market for cox-2 inhibitors.


  • UCLA's Dr. Ernest Noble first identified a gene associated with severe alcoholism. This breakthrough marked the first time a genetic link to alcoholism was clearly established, although it had been suspected for years. Dr. Noble also linked the same gene, the A1 allele of the D2 dopamine receptor, to additional addictive behaviors such as cocaine and other drug use.
  • UCLA cancer researchers demonstrated the benefit of giving AZT to HIV-infected pregnant women in order to prevent fetal infection during pregnancy. This regimen has become a national standard of care, reducing the mother-to-fetus transmission rate from 24 percent to less than five percent.
  • A decade of UCLA research showed that povidone-iodine is a safe, effective, and less expensive topical alternative to antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of eye infections.
  • Researchers in the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology were the first in the United States to use the gamma-knife for stereotactic irradiation of intracranial tumors and malformations.
  • Current radiation therapy treatment plans are based largely on UCLA radiation oncology studies that clarified the biology of "dose fractionation." The findings demonstrated that varying the size of each day's x-ray dose could improve the responses of cancerous tissue while sparing normal tissue.


  • Dr. Owen Witte of UCLA showed that the gene BCR-ABL plays a critical role in the origin of several kinds of human leukemia.
  • UCLA physician Dr. Dennis Slamon discovered the relationship between the HER-2/neu gene and an aggressive form of breast cancer. This discovery led to the development of an antibody called Herceptin. The FDA approved Herceptin for use as a single agent and in combination with the chemotherapy drug taxol on Sept. 25, 1998, making it the first approved treatment to attack cancer at the genetic level.
  • Dr. Judith C. Gasson, director of the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, and her colleagues purified GM-CSF, the first human growth factor ever purified. The discovery shortened from five weeks to two weeks the time it takes for cancer patients to recover their white blood cell counts after bone marrow transplants.
  • Dr. Glenn Langer, the Castera Professor of Cardiology at the School of Medicine, clarified the key mechanisms controlling the flux of ions and changes in the contraction of heart cells. Alterations in these mechanisms have enormous implications for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart.
  • UCLA pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Marvin Ament was the first to implement total parenteral nutrition (TPN), or intravenous feeding, in a child. His work established the first pediatric TPN program in the nation at UCLA, and it remains the nation's largest such program.
  • UCLA scientists Dr. Michael Phelps and Edward Hoffman developed the first functional PET (positron emission tomography) system for the scanning of patients, and the first commercial PET scanning system. PET is the only diagnostic imaging technique that provide scientists and physicians with images of the biology and metabolic changes of the body.


  • Dr. Hillel Laks performed the first heart-lung transplant in Los Angeles. UCLA’s Heart Transplant Program, founded in 1984, has become one of the largest in the world.


  • Dr. Ernest Wright of the Department of Physiology introduced the technique of expression cloning to isolate DNA coding for membrane transporters.
  • UCLA researcher Dr. Irvin Chen and colleagues were first to identify, clone and characterize brain-derived HIV-1.


  • UCLA researchers identified a novel cellular organelle called a “vault”. It is a naturally occurring nano-capsule thought to carry out a basic cellular function. The researchers are now engineering vaults, so that they may be used in drug delivery and as components of nano-electrical machines.
  • In a series of studies from 1985 through 1993, UCLA scientists Dr. Edward Hoffman, Dr. Magnus Dahlbom and Dr. Michael Phelps and colleagues developed whole-body PET scanning, which is the most commonly used whole-body scanning procedure.
  • The removal of kidney stones was accomplished nonsurgically with a lithotripter for the first time on the West Coast at UCLA Medical Center.


  • Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil performed the first liver transplant on the West Coast, establishing UCLA's Liver Transplant Program. Today it is one of the largest liver transplant centers in the world.


  • Dr. Irvin Chen was the first to molecularly characterize the human T-cell leukemia virus. This finding resulted in a test that is now used routinely in blood banks around the world to screen for the presence of this virus in human blood donations.


  • UCLA physicians identified the world's first cases of AIDS.


  • Dr. Irving Zabin clarified the primary structure of beta-galactosidase, the largest protein to be so characterized before molecular tools, such as cloning, became available. The sequence information and genetic studies of different parts of the beta-galactosidase molecule were of enormous basic importance, and also provided the information that established this molecule as the most-widely used reporter gene for current molecular studies.
  • The UCLA Kidney Transplant Registry, established by Dr. Paul Terasaki is the largest in the world. The data on more than 100,000 kidney recipients submitted from some 200 transplant centers enable doctors to monitor transplant patient outcomes over time.


  • UCLA research led to the discovery of the biological mechanism of proton pump inhibitors for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the first clinical trial of the drug Prilosec, which began in 1985.


  • The first total shoulder replacement was performed at UCLA.


  • The first durable artificial hip, called the "chamfer cylinder design surface," was developed at UCLA Medical Center.


    mother and daughter
  • The work of Dr. Edwin Cooper demonstrated the mechanisms of transplant rejection in invertebrates. His results set the stage for understanding the origins of the innate immune system, which is a vital component of human immune function.
  • Drs. Paul Crandall and Richard Walter developed the first EEG telemetry unit at UCLA, and were the first to establish a system for recording spontaneous seizures in epileptic patients.
  • UCLA researchers developed the glass knife ultratome, which opened the modern era of electron microscopy. With the ability to reliably prepare specimens that could be viewed at 100,000 power, medical researchers were able to discover the cellular basis of major diseases including hypertension, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.


  • UCLA's Dr. Paul Terasaki developed the microcytotoxicity test that has become the international standard for tissue typing. All kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, heart/lung and bone marrow donors and recipients have been typed using this test.


  • UCLA researchers developed techniques for nerve transplantation.


  • Dr. Norman Q. Brill was appointed first chair of psychiatry and founding director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, which included clinical services.


  • The first mother-to-daughter kidney transplant in the western United States was performed at UCLA Medical Center


    hospital patient in 50s
  • UCLA faculty member Dr. William Oldendorf laid the scientific groundwork for the noninvasive imaging technologies known as computer-assisted tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His work with intravenous injection of gamma-emitting radionucleotides led to the development of single photon computerized emission tomography (SPECT), a highly effective and essentially noninvasive method for following physiological change within the body or brain.
  • Dr. William P. Longmire Jr., the founder and first chairman of the UCLA Department of Surgery, is credited with developing a technique called the Longmire procedure. It reestablishes the drainage of bile from the liver into the intestine in cases where the normal conduit, the common bile duct, has been damaged by disease or injury.
  • UCLA researcher Dr. William N. Valentine discovered the underlying cause of a group of illnesses known as hemolytic anemias that are characterized by excessive destruction of red blood cells.


  • UCLA researchers developed the first techniques for fetal monitoring.


  • The first open-heart surgery in the western United States was performed at UCLA Medical Center.


    UCLA in 1949
  • Dr. Benedict Cassen of the UCLA Department of Radiology developed the rectilinear scintillation scanner, an instrument that made possible the construction of a chart to accurately pinpoint the location and concentration of radioisotopes in the body.


  • Dr. Stafford L. Warren became founding dean of UCLA’s medical school.


  • Assembly Bill 35 established the UCLA School of Medicine.