October 15, 2012, New York, NY—Don W. Cleveland, PhD, Member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and chair of the UC San Diego Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Election to the IOM is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM serves as an advisory organization to Congress and policy makers on important health questions. During the past year projects included health IT and patient safety, treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, nutrition rating systems and graphics on food packaging, and studies of environmental factors in breast cancer.
Cleveland’s pioneering discoveries of the mechanisms of chromosome movement and cell-cycle control during normal cellular division, as well as of the principles of neuronal cell development and their relationship to the defects that contribute to inherited neurodegenerative disease, led to his being named to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.
Most recently, his research has achieved a significant breakthrough in treating Huntington’s disease, an inherited and degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure. A one-time injection of a new DNA-based drug treatment – known as ASO (short for antisense oligonucleotide) – blocked the activity of the gene whose mutation causes the disease. A single treatment silenced the mutated gene responsible for the disease, slowing and partially reversing progression of the fatal neurodegenerative disorder in animal models.
Cleveland received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Princeton University. Following his post-doctoral work at UC San Francisco, he was a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine until joining the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego in 1995.
About the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
The Ludwig Institute is an international non-profit organization committed to improving the understanding and control of cancer through integrated laboratory and clinical discovery. Leveraging its worldwide network of investigators and the ability to sponsor and conduct its own clinical trials, the Institute is actively engaged in translating its discoveries into applications for patient benefit. Since its establishment in 1971, the Institute has expended more than $1.5 billion on cancer research.