Science and Medicine Briefs

Dr. Andrew ZolopaFIGHTING AIDS THE RIGHT WAY  The Medical Center has developed a new test that determines whether the particular strain of HIV in a patient’s blood is resistant to antiviral drugs. Called ART ­ antiviral resistance testing ­ the test helps doctors determine which of the current AIDS drugs might stop a patient’s HIV from spreading. The procedure could help AIDS patients from wasting months and money on ineffective drug therapies. “I do think it will make us smarter in our work with AIDS patients,” said Dr. Andrew Zolopa (pictured), director of Stanford’s Positive Care Clinic.

TOGETHER AT LAST   The University of California-San Francisco and Stanford Health Services (Stanford Hospital, the Stanford Faculty Practice Group and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital) officially began merged operations on Nov. 1 with a new logo and a series of special events aimed at introducing 11,000 employees to the expanded organization. There was a flurry of activities ­ employee orientation meetings, receptions and visits to patient care units. “Getting to this day has involved overcoming a series of challenges,” said Isaac Stein, chairman of the board of UCSF Stanford Health Care and a trustee of Stanford University. “Well worth it all,” he added. Bay Area residents now have “a combined medical center with access to the expertise of the largest base of clinical faculty on the West Coast.”

GLOWING RODENTS   Researchers have inserted firefly genes into the cells of mice and rats, creating a well-lit path for observing diseases like AIDS as it spreads through a living organism. Christopher Contag, acting assistant professor of pediatrics and director of bioluminescence research at the School of Medicine, calls it “an indicator light . . . that tells you when and where the virus is replicating.” With the technique, scientists use ultrasensitive cameras to detect light emitted when certain genes are turned on. “This is a powerful approach,” said Contag, “because you can study gene regulation in a living animal over time, in superficial or deep tissues.”

Sci & Med Briefs (Plain text)

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