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La Jolla News Nuggets: New Warwick’s lease, cancer drug candidate, Parks & Beaches bylaws, more

Warwick's bookstore in La Jolla has been at its current location at 7812 Girard Ave. since 1952.
Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla has been at its current location at 7812 Girard Ave. since 1952.
(File)

Warwick’s has new multiyear lease

La Jolla book lovers can breathe a sigh of relief now that Warwick’s has a new lease to stay at its current location, opening a new chapter in the bookstore’s long history.

A person familiar with the negotiations who did not want to be identified said Warwick’s has “successfully negotiated a new multiyear lease renewal at their present location” at 7812 Girard Ave. The exact length and other terms of the lease were not disclosed.

The business’s La Jolla history started in 1902 as Redding’s Book Store on Cave Street, according to the store’s website. In 1921, it moved to 7816 Girard Ave. In 1939, W.T. Warwick came from Waterloo, Iowa, bought the business from Genevieve Redding and changed the name.

Warwick’s moved to Wall Street in 1944 after a dispute with the building owner but moved back to Girard Avenue at its current address in 1952.

Sanford Burnham Prebys study finds new cancer treatment option

Scientists at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla say they have uncovered a drug candidate called F5446 that could be used to selectively kill cancer cells.

A study published in the journal Cell reveals a previously unknown Achilles’ heel for cancer that could lead to treatments for deadly breast, brain, colon and lung cancers.

In the study, SBP assistant professor Charles Spruck and his team set out to find the molecular machinery that silences “junk DNA” in cancer cells. Using sophisticated molecular biology techniques, they found that a protein called FBXO44 is key to that process. The scientists then showed that F5446, a drug that targets the FBXO44 pathway, shrank tumors in mice with breast cancer.

The scientists also conducted many experiments to show that the silencing mechanism occurs only in cancer cells, not regular cells. Analysis of patient tumor databases confirmed that FBXO44 is overproduced in many cancers and is correlated with worse outcomes, further indicating that a drug that inhibits the protein would be beneficial, SBP said.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches works on bylaws revision

Members of the nonprofit La Jolla Parks & Beaches board held a special meeting March 1 to collect public feedback on proposed changes to its bylaws. A working group was formed to draft changes to the bylaws, which were distributed to members for review.

Working group member Barbara Dunbar said this bylaws revision will be the first of three. The first is intended to clean up inconsistent language, the next phase will address whether to impose term limits on board members and the third phase will be launched if and when the city of San Diego decides LJP&B could become a recognized advisory group.

During the March 1 meeting, LJP&B President Claudia Baranowski said, “We have received many constructive, thought-provoking comments from our members.”

Dunbar said the bulk of the initial changes were to remove out-of-date or inaccurate references and add electronic communication options.

A final draft of the changes will be distributed to board members and voted on at the board’s monthly meeting Monday, March 22. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org.

Torrey Pines Elementary to present virtual family meetings

Torrey Pines Elementary School will offer virtual information sessions for new families on March 19, April 16 and May 14.
(File)

Torrey Pines Elementary School will present New Family Sessions virtually at 9 a.m. on three upcoming Fridays — March 19, April 16 and May 14.

The informational sessions, held via Zoom at bit.ly/TPESNewFamilies, will take the place of school tours “since we are limited in bringing visitors onto campus at this time,” TPES Principal Nona Richard said.

Richard will review the school’s curriculum and activities and answer questions. The presentation also will include photos of spaces throughout the school, perspectives from current teachers and parents and current safety protocols.

NIH awards UC San Diego $33 million for 5 COVID-19 diagnostic projects

UC San Diego was awarded five Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics projects by the National Institutes of Health totaling nearly $33 million over four years.

The purpose of the RADx initiative is to speed innovation in the development, commercialization and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. There are several programs in the RADx initiative, including the RADx Underserved Populations program, which funds projects aimed at understanding why some communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and reducing the factors associated with those disparities, and the RADx Radical program, which supports innovative approaches to addressing gaps in COVID-19 testing.

“The RADx program responds to the nation’s need for innovative solutions in diagnostic technologies that are people-centric and utilize expertise in infectious diseases, informatics, data science, clinical pathology, bioengineering and many other related areas,” Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado, chairwoman of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at UCSD Health, said in a statement. “It includes, for example, artificial intelligence models that will help detect and prognosticate disease using novel sensors. Lessons learned from the current focus on COVID-19 will be leveraged in many other health sciences challenges, and data will be shared to accelerate other discoveries.”

Birch Aquarium appoints new chief operating officer

Charles Hopper is Birch Aquarium's new chief operating officer.
(Courtesy)

Birch Aquarium at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla has appointed Charles Hopper as its new chief operating officer. He replaces Kathy Kiaunis, who retired in December after nearly six years in the position.

Hopper comes to Birch Aquarium from the Seattle Aquarium, where he served for 15 years, most recently as senior manager of business operations, a position developed especially for him.

“I am looking forward to leading Birch Aquarium through this challenging time,” Hopper said in a statement. “Organizations across the globe are dealing with their version of recovery, and we are fortunate in the fact that we have a passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated team at Birch Aquarium. We also have the unwavering support of Scripps ... and UC San Diego. In that way, we are unique and I believe poised well to embark on the challenges ahead.”

Proteomics expert to create new lab at La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Sam Myers has been appointed as an assistant professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and will launch LJI’s new Laboratory for Immunochemical Circuits to focus on how protein expression drives the development of autoimmune diseases, cancers and more.

Myers is especially interested in how proteomics, the study of proteins to detect protein expression in response to stimuli, can shed light on the development of autoimmune diseases.

In such diseases, T cells — white blood cells integral to the body’s immune response — mistakenly attack the body’s tissues. Myers’ lab will study how cellular signaling — conveyed by proteins — could drive that response.

Proteins can acquire small chemical modifications that change how well they work or how long they last, according to Myers. Those changes can contribute to many diseases, such as cancers and inflammatory disorders.

LJI professor launches international study into spread of viruses

With support from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the e-ASIA Joint Research Program, La Jolla Institute for Immunology professor Sujan Shresta is launching new research into the spread of coronaviruses and flaviviruses in Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The new projects are intended to shed light on how infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and dengue spread in those countries and how differences in geography and genetics affect immune responses.

For each of the projects, Shresta’s long-term goal is to strengthen global health by supporting local scientists in these countries and building up their scientific infrastructure. Scientists around the world could then track the emergence of viral strains, no matter where they arise.

“Science really benefits from having a diversity of opinions and people,” Shresta said. “If there is one thing COVID-19 demonstrated for all of us, it is that we can’t wait for a virus to be in the U.S. to worry about it. Surveillance programs and research need to happen on a global scale.”

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff