Tag Archives: ucsf

University of California San Francisco Press Coverage

3 May

You can view examples of press coverage that I generated with my team at UCSF here.

UCSF Links with Patients, Donors via YouTube | San Francisco Business Times

3 May
At the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), I developed and deployed one of the first uses of social media among academic medical institutions to drive clinical trials outreach and caregiver support. The following article (where I am quoted) is about the social media campaign I developed on behalf of the Memory and Aging Center.

UCSF is changing how it tells its story, says Levine.

The University of California, San Francisco, is using a new YouTube channel and a Facebook group to communicate with patients, concerned family members, physicians and — just as important — potential donors, as it begins to explore the brave new world of social networking.

And other local hospitals are beginning to move in the same direction.

UCSF’s new YouTube channel incorporates videos about Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other forms of dementia that were produced by its Memory and Aging Center. The move is seen as a first step in exploring new ways of communicating with external audiences and finding potential participants in clinical trials. But another key goal is reaching out to Silicon Valley’s huge pool of potential philanthropists, as UCSF starts to gear up to raise $500 million in donations for its planned women’s, children’s and cancer hospital at Mission Bay, and another $1.5 billion for other capital projects.

“From a marketer’s perspective, the world is changing,” said Aimee Levine, UCSF’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs. “The way we tell our story needs to change, to reach different audiences.”

And UCSF isn’t alone.

Obadiah Greenberg, YouTube’s strategic partnership manager for academic institutions, said universities nationwide are beginning to make similar moves, including UC Berkeley and Stanford University locally, and Duke University, the University of Wisconsin and the Mayo Clinic further afield. “But what I seeing UCSF doing is remarkable. They’re so focused on specific diseases and specific audiences.”

Stanford and its School of Medicine have about 150 videos posted on YouTube, and Stanford Hospital & Clinics plans to add others this fall, said hospital spokesman Gary Migdol. Like UCSF, Stanford has massive capital projects under way, including a $2 billion expansion and upgrade of the neighboring Stanford and Lucile Packard Children’s hospitals.

“We’re not currently using any of those (Internet) sites,” said Amelia Alverson, Stanford Hospital’s vice president of development, “but we are exploring opportunities in various types of new media.”

Steve Mangold, president and chief operating officer of PRx Inc., a San Jose-based public relations, marketing and branding firm, said use of social networking media is more common among nonprofit groups that focus on a specific disease than hospitals. “There’s a reluctance among many health-care organizations to invite a lot of public comment,” he said, “because you have to vet the information you put online.”

Even so, PRx client Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is using YouTube to enhance communications with patients, family members and potential donors, and has been doing so for nearly a year. The cash-strapped hospital — Santa Clara County’s public hospital and primary trauma center — took the step because its nonprofit fund-raising arm, the Valley Medical Center Foundation, “took a chance” on YouTube and other new media to spread the word about the hospital’s services and other health tips, said Chris Wilder, the foundation’s executive director.

In terms of philanthropic outreach, “mostly it’s seeding the ground, but we have received a few donations from people who have seen our videos,” Wilder said.

Levine, meanwhile, said UCSF is pleased with the attention it’s garnering on the new YouTube channel, Facebook and various Silicon Valley blogs, and predicts that its nascent social-networking campaign is destined to grow.

“YouTube is a great aggregator of audiences, but it’s also viral,” she said. “People take links from YouTube and put it on their sites, and imbed it on their blogs,” giving the message broader reach.

A big part of the new strategy is “generating awareness for the brand and supporting our donor efforts,” Levine added. She said UCSF needs to cast a wider net to find philanthropic givers, in the region, Silicon Valley as well as in Fresno (where UCSF has an affiliated medical education program), Palm Springs and other potential hot spots for wealthy donors.

More than $7 million has already been raised to fight Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease as part of the “Fight for Mike” — Silicon Valley tech marketing guru Mike Homer, who was diagnosed with the deadly disease last year. Homer, and his volunteer “Fight” group, helped inspire UCSF to use the web to spread information about CJD and other diseases, as well as mobilize funding and research. About $200,000 of that CJD funding was used to create a web site, in conjunction with the YouTube channel, that can serve as a template for other disease-specific dementia-related sites.

crauber@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4946


Demystifying Clinical Trials

1 Apr

Only 3-5 % of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials according to the Los Angeles Times. Patients need  accurate information to help make informed decisions.  UCSF’s Dr. Elly Cohen, program director of a breast cancer clinical trials online matching service, explains to PBS why participation in research is an individual choice and how it can make an impact on care. You can watch it here.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann: “I Am Who I Am”

24 Apr

The San Francisco Business Times featured UCSF Chancellor, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, as one of its “Most Influential Women.”  You can read the story here.

“What I want for women and for men — for all people — I want them to believe that anything is possible and to not feel constrained by the scope of what they dream about.”

Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann – Cancer Warrior

13 Apr

Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann was profiled in the Sunday, April 11, 2010 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The story was featured on the front page. It  provides a personal look at what drives the new leader of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). I was fortunate to have worked with Dr. Desmond-Hellmann while at UCSF. For me, she is a role model.


Dr. Desmond-Hellmann is credited with helping to create an industry powerhouse (Genentech) and bringing the world’s most successful anti-cancer drug treatments to market.  These include Rituxan, the first drug to use monoclonal antibodies, which works by attacking specific types of cancer cells; Herceptin, the seminal drug which opened the doorway to personalized medicine by targeting the HER2 gene, which defines a specific subtype of breast cancer; and Avastin, the first angiogenesis inhibitor to stop tumors by preventing the formation of new blood vessels.

In the article, Bob Cohen, a senior Genentech executive best describes Desmond-Hellmann: “(she has a) sense of obligation that runs deep…I think she has always loved UCSF, and she also has deep spiritual beliefs. She’s also brilliant. A quick study. And she never disappoints…She used all she knew to develop a portfolio of oncology drugs…She was a gifted manager of people and resources, and she bet on the right horses and was able to get them to the finish line.”

“What’s possible for patients” has been a  consistent theme throughout Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann’s career. She sums it up in the article: “It’s a life-changing moment for someone to be told they
have cancer,” she said. “So I’ve always felt this incredible commitment
to being a part of something that can help them.”

Desmond-Hellmann has been both a champion of and game changing pioneer in oncology translational research – taking the basic understanding of biology, science and technology and using that deep understanding for the direct benefit of patients. She helped fundamentally transform the way we research and treat cancer, and improved and helped extend millions of lives worldwide.

Today, as Chancellor of UCSF, she is taking her experience to the next level and applying it to finding treatments and cures for  an even broader array of the world’s most devastating and unsolvable diseases. The future of this great institution is in good hands.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann Featured in the San Francisco Chronicle

11 Apr

UCSF’s Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann is profiled in the Sunday, April 11, 2010 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The story is featured on the front page.

Imagining What’s Possible for Patients

18 Mar

Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann explains her translational vision for
fighting cancer during her recent keynote address to UCSF’s breast oncology leaders. She describes 1997 to 2001 as oncology’s golden years. Rituxan, Herceptin and Gleevec debuted and changed the face of cancer treatments. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann believes that academia can today play a critical role in introducing “the platinum age” of cancer drug development.

“Cancer research is too slow, too expensive, too inefficient and too uncertain…we need to understand earlier and with greater confidence what the best ideas are,” she says. Read the full article here.

New Clinical Trial Enables Rapid Screening of Breast Cancer Drugs

17 Mar

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann discusses the future of oncology
drug development and adaptive clinical trial design and what it means
to patients in an interview with Pharma Strategy Blog’s Sally Church.  Here are excerpts from the post:

    “What’s really neat about the I-SPY trial is that Laura Esserman, the PI of the trial, is a breast cancer surgeon here at UCSF and has added so much value to the project because she sees patients early and has a unique opportunity to offer neoadjuvant therapy.
Patients are getting their primary therapy before they get surgery, so for imaging and biomarkers – either established or exploratory – it is a fantastic opportunity. The endpoint is pathological complete response, so you can see if the tumor has disappeared or not.”

    “It’s a fantastic rapid readout model so you can get answers much more quickly in a year, including pathological specimens, along with the answers from biomarkers and imaging, which are important.
The FDA has allowed a master IND agreement for this study, so it will be possible to move agents in and out of the trial quickly. So if agent A looks promising it can be advanced quickly and more patients put on it, but if agent B looks toxic, it can be discarded quickly. It’s not just a clinical trial but a experimental trial process that gives you a rapid readout of whether the agent works or not.”

    “The hope is that you won’t wasting time and money in phase III trials, but most importantly, patients experience on that molecule. If the answer is yes on I-SPY, you then have a biomarker hypothesis for that agent and can then do a more traditional phase III trial having increased your chances of success.”

via www.pharmastrategyblog.com

Read about the i-Spy 2 adaptive clinical trial which was launched on March 17 in Washington.

Watch the video from the Biomarkers Consortium press conference:

A Year of Drug Development Firsts?

30 Dec

CNBC’s Mike Huckman looks back at pharma’s biggest decade, and also looks ahead at    what’s to come in today’s segment “Big Pharma’s Big Decade.” UCSF’s Chancellor Dr. Susan  Desmond-Hellmann is featured in the program. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann who brought the world’s anti-cancer blockbuster drugs to market says what she’s “most proud of is that we changed the way people think about cancer.”

2010 could be a year of firsts– the first therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer, first Lupus    drug, first once a week drug to treat diabetes, and  the first new flu vaccine technology since the 1950’s.

According to Dr. Desmond-Hellmann, “what is tremendous is how there is literally an explosion of biology – it should be a golden era.” She also believes that there could be a significant break-through in Alzheimer’s disease on the horizon. Drugs today just treat the symptoms but don’t slow the progression.

Dr. Desmond-Hellmann concludes by saying: “If there was a genuine breakthrough in Alzheimer’s we’re talking about the kinds of medicines that could be the biggest products in the world… bigger than Lipitor and Avastin… from a business perspective this could be huge.”

Watch the video here.

The Future of Drug Development

30 Dec

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann is featured in the CNBC's special "Biopharma: 10 Years in the Making." Watch the segment here: