Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wow! So we've moved to sunny old south Texas!

I admit it, it has been just over two years since I have written on this blog -- my last blog post was just before we headed out of the country to visit family -- then a whirlwind of actions which included the birth of one baby, and moving across the country to San Antonio, way down in south Texas -- I'm sorry but the winter of 2014 was as much as I could take in Pittsburgh - so here we are -- settling in and setting up the new labs -- I'm going to try and resurrect this blog, again posting what I think are interesting papers and info about our labs -- meanwhile, why have breakfast tacos been kept such a secret from the north?  They could really use a little heat up there...hmmmm...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AACR Progress against Cancer report now available

The AACR is the American Association for Cancer Research - they have just published this comprehensive report on cancer - potential causes, including diet, environment and genetics - and how we are going in terms of treating patients and survivorship - it is free to down load so if you are interested, click here

Friday, September 7, 2012

Journal Impact Factors 2011

I have updated the list for the journals that we are likely to publish in.  Or at least would like to publish in....
You can get to it by clicking here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Institute of Medicine: the U.S. wastes $750 billion on medical costs annually

Read this stunning report regarding medical dollar spending in the U.S. In short, the non-government, IOM has concluded the as much as 30 cents of every medical dollar spent is wasted due to "unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste" - every year - to use an analogy -" If banking worked like health care, ATM transactions would take days" you can read all about the report here -

Activation of the Innate Anti-Viral Immune System in BPH - now published on-line!

Allison's paper has just been published on-line in Genes & Immunity, prior to being published in the print version - if you have access, you can down-load the paper here - step by step, we're going to figure out what is going on in these patients...

Monday, September 3, 2012

High serum folate levels in patients with prostate cancer

I posted on this subject last year when our paper was published in The Prostate - it has subsequently been one of the most popular posts on the blog - because of that, I have updated the post to include a link to the original paper as it is now available free of charge - because this research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (and therefore you, the tax payer), it must be made available to the public one year after publication - click here to read the updated post with the link to the pdf.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lupus: (aka SLE) an Autoimmune disease induced by DNA demethylation

Since discovering that a friend had to quit her promising postgraduate degree at CMU because she had lupus, I have been interested in what could possibly cause such a debilitating downfall in such a young, healthy woman - as I read the scientific literature on the subject, it became clear that at the molecular level there is a methylation defect - that is there is demethylated DNA present in the patient --- we've seen demethylated DNA in several different disease states; Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (our manuscript in press), cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis -- at a simplistic level, all these diseases have inflammation. Can demethylated DNA induce inflammation?  Does how the cell see that inflammation differ depending on the type of cell or tissue, and the epigenetic background of the patient?  I bet it does.  I could theorize forever but as action speaks louder than's a paper I found today which describes the development of a novel model for Lupus (as scientists we need realistic models to test potential mechanisms and treatments) - drug induced lupus can be induced by drugs that  are known to inhibit DNA methylation, for example procainamide.  This model extends those findings and will help to further our understanding of what treatments may, if any, be able to stop the disease from progressing. 

Methods Mol Biol. 2012;900:169-80.

Murine models of lupus induced by hypomethylated T cells (DNA hypomethylation and lupus…).

Richardson B, Sawalha AH, Ray D, Yung R.


University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Veteran's Affairs Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, USA,


CD4+ T cell DNA hypomethylation may contribute to the development of drug induced and idiopathic human lupus. Inhibiting DNA methylation in mature CD4+ T cells causes MHC-specific autoreactivity in vitro. The lupus-inducing drugs hydralazine and procainamide also inhibit T cell DNA methylation and induce autoreactivity, and T cells from patients with active lupus have hypomethylated DNA and a similarly autoreactive T cell subset. Further, T cells treated with DNA methylation inhibitors demethylate the same sequences that demethylate in T cells from patients with active lupus. The pathologic significance of the autoreactivity induced by inhibiting T cell DNA methylation has been tested by treating murine T cells in vitro with drugs which modify DNA methylation, then injecting the cells into syngeneic female mice. Mice receiving CD4+ T cells demethylated by a variety of agents including procainamide and hydralazine develop a lupus-like disease. Further, transgenic mice with an inducible T cell DNA methylation defect also develop lupus-like autoimmunity. This chapter describes the protocols for inducing autoreactivity in murine T cells in vitro and for inducing autoimmunity in vivo using an adoptive transfer approach or transgenic animal models.
[PubMed - in process]