Progress Updates Archive
Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Admin
Certain types of "hard to treat" prostate cancer present an unanswerable challenge for physicians. That's a nicely worded sentence for very bad news for the patient. After hormone treatment yields no response, the patient usually has two years or less to live. Surgery isn't possible because the tumor cannot be shrunk. The reality of the condition underscores the urgency of a new study at Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine that uses the genomic information of the patient's tumor to find possible solutions, such as more targeted drugs. For more details on the study or to learn how you might participate, check the news release Mayo issued today.
Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Admin
From the pages of Mayo Clinic's Discovery's Edge --
Two years after a heart attack left him too exhausted to even tend his garden, Miroslav Dlacic is now able to walk again without becoming worn out. An international team of Mayo Clinic doctors and researchers, led by André Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine, helped Dlacic reclaim his life by discovering a way to regenerate heart tissue through stem-cell therapy.
For decades, treating cardiac patients has typically involved managing heart damage with medication. It’s a bit like driving a car without fixing a sluggish engine; you manage the consequences as best you can and learn to live with them. But in collaboration with European colleagues, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a revolutionary means of repairing a damaged heart—of actually fixing the machine.
“It’s a paradigm shift,” says Dr. Terzic. “We are moving from traditional medicine, which addresses the symptoms of disease, to being legitimately able to cure disease.”
In this breakthrough process, stem cells are harvested from a cardiac patient’s bone marrow. They undergo a laboratory treatment that guides them to become cardiac cells. The treated cells are then injected into the patient’s heart in an effort to grow healthy heart tissue. The study is the first successful demonstration in human beings of the feasibility and safety of transforming adult stem cells into cardiac cells.
“We guide the stem cells to become something useful, in this case, cardioprogenitors,” Dr. Terzic explains.
This discovery has implications for millions of people. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In the U.S. alone, about 5.8 million people have heart failure, and the number is growing. Beyond heart failure, the Mayo research also is a milestone in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, which seeks to go beyond palliative treatments to fully heal damaged tissue and organs.
Mayo Clinic is uniquely positioned to pursue this complex therapy. In addition to its global reach, Mayo Clinic has its Center for Regenerative Medicine at the forefront of efforts to develop reparative solutions for a range of conditions.
“With the cardiopoiresis research, we have shown that regenerative medicine can really work,” Dr. Terzic says. “We are now actively working on regenerative medicine in the areas of diabetes, liver and lung disease, neurologic disorders, and orthopedic surgery.”
To read the full story about Dr. Terzic's research into regenerative medicine, visit Discovery's Edge, Mayo Clinic's research magazine, at http://www.mayo.edu/research/discoverys-edge/regenerating-heart-tissue-stem-cell-therapy.
Posted on October 2nd, 2013 by Admin
Perhaps it was the topic - translating individualized medicine and what it means for medicine. Maybe it was the positive mood of the conference attendees here in Rochester. Whatever it was, it seemed to infect the noon Twitter chat held by Mayo's External Relations group...along with the Personalized Medicine Coalition in Washington, and hosted by Dr. Richard Besser, back at his desk at ABC News in New York. About half of those you see at the laptops are Mayo doctors, most taking their first stab at Tweeting. Response and participation was great: over 1,000 Tweets, over 200 participants, and more then 5 million accounts reached.
Posted on October 1st, 2013 by Admin
University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise and her administrative team attended Mayo Clinic's Individualizing Medicine Conference this week and held meetings on ongoing collaborations between the two institutions. The group from Urbana-Champaign included (l-r) Associate Vice Chancellor Jennifer Eardley; Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., director of the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo; Vice Chancellor Peter Schiffer; Chancellor Wise; Provost Ilesanmi Adesida; and Bryan White, Ph.D., who served as co-chair of the conference. Mayo and Illinois have been collaborating for years on medical genomic projects under the banner of the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Health Care. Recently extensive work has been done in microbiome research and dozens of students and researchers have traveled between the campuses to work together.
Posted on October 1st, 2013 by Admin
"Getting the what in the what?" That's going to be a problem if health care professionals are asking that question in the future. Many medical centers are finding that patients have allergies or will be put at considerable risk if given the wrong drug for their genetic makeup or even the standard dose of the right drug. Pharmacogenomic screening prior to prescribing medications will one day be a normal practice. It's the mantra of giving the right dose of the right drug at the right time. One size, one standard pharmaceutical practice, does not fit all. Your genome can often provide the answer. At Mayo's Individualizing Medicine Conference today, we've been hearing about how pharmacogeneomic screens are done at St. Jude Children's Hospital (thanks Dr. Mary Relling) and how those results are immediately going into those patients' electronic medical record.
The problem comes in if patients aren't exposed to appropriate screens --- or if they don't have an EMR. With an EMR, any physician can see almost immediately through a genomic-drug alert in the record (at Mayo a red flag pops up) that a patient should not be given drug X. This avoids a trial and error system of letting the patient's physiology reject the drug while exhibiting associated side-effects. We are used to hearing the slogan "There's an app for that." Well, soon we'll be able to say "There's a test for that" -- before you take a drug, any drug. There's relevance for you.
Posted on September 30th, 2013 by Admin
Yes, hundreds of people have enjoyed eggs, sausage and bagels and now Dr. Gianrico Farrugia is on stage introducing Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic. He says Mayo Clinic decided that including medical genomics into Mayo's future and present was essential. "We use medical genomics every day to treat our patients."
Posted on September 19th, 2013 by Admin
Mayo Clinic radiology researcher Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., and her team were awarded a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health that will allow Mayo to establish a national clearinghouse for CT dose reduction research. Dr. McCollough is internationally known for her work in limiting radiation exposure to patients. She is head of Mayo's CT Clinical Innovation Center.
Their NIH grant application, in response to a request for proposals to reduce CT doses to the level of background radiation, was the only one funded in a highly competitive field.
“This grant is unique in that it provides funding for Mayo Clinic to establish a national clearinghouse to share the data sets, software algorithms and imaging methods developed by our team with the entire CT imaging community,” says Dr. McCollough.
This will be the first information depository of its kind in the field of CT dose reduction, providing reference data sets for use in developing and validating the many noise reduction and iterative reconstruction methods currently under development. “Mayo Clinic will provide a tremendously valuable resource for all researchers working on dose reduction in CT,” she says.
Other investigators involved include Joel Fletcher, M.D., Shuai Leng, Ph.D., Lifeng Yu, Ph.D., David DeLone, M.D., Jeff Fidler, M.D., David Levin, M.D., Ph.D., Rickey Carter, Ph.D., and David Holmes III, Ph.D.
Posted on September 5th, 2013 by Admin
A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic Children's Center are trying to answer that question. From what they can tell from animal studies, it may cause problems with learning and memory. They've conducted a study of records -- both medical and school records - in the area around Rochester, Minn. There was some correlation: an association with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder for some children who'd been exposed to anesthesia multiple times at a young age.
But as we know, correlation does not mean causation. So they are now working on a much larger and detailed study to test 1000 children to see if they can better define what injury or injuries may be associated with anesthetic exposure (if any).
Ultimately they hope to find if there is a problem with how anesthesia is administered or if changes are needed to minimize potential problems. It's one more way Mayo Clinic is trying to improve safety of the medical practice and share its findings with everyone.
If you, as a parent, are interested in having your child participate in this study -- and you live in the Rochester, Minn. area, you may be interested in learning more about it from this YouTube video:
Posted on July 10th, 2013 by Admin
Mayo Clinic is among the handful of centers launching one-year fast-track studies of existing drugs to determine their value for other conditions. In Mayo's case, Jordan Miller, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher in the Departments of Surgery and Physiology, and two colleagues were awarded the grant to study the drug from pre-clinical tests through the first clinical trial, all in one year. The targeted condition is aortic valve stenosis -- a type of cardiac stenosis in which the valve area calcifies, leading to serious heart problems.
In a world where some research findings take a decade or more to surface in the world of patients, the National Institutes of Health is trying to whittle that time of translation down to a single year. That includes several rounds of preclinical studies and then a phase one clinical trial to determine efficacy by the end of the twelve months.
“This is highly significant, not only because of the speed of the process, but the impact that it may have on prolonging lives,” says Dr. Miller. “We have a year to determine if there’s a positive change in experimental models and in patients. If so, we move on with more studies.”
Mayo Clinic is one of only nine awardees of a new type of research grant, one that takes an existing but unused drug from a participating pharmaceutical company and studies it for a different disease or condition. In this case the drug is supplied by Sanofi and Mayo’s team led by Dr. Miller, will see if it will work to slow the advance of aortic valve stenosis, in which calcification keeps the heart valve to the aorta from opening fully.
While only three percent of Americans of retirement age develop aortic valve stenosis, calcium can be seen (using x-ray or CT scanning) on the valves of approximately half of the population over 65. As baby boomers continue to live longer, the actual numbers of patients expected to progress to aortic valve stenosis are expected to grow dramatically, and less than 40 percent survive beyond five years from diagnosis. Right now there is no effective treatment for advanced stenosis, other than replacing the heart valve – a surgical procedure that carries its own risk.
Dr. Miller says this new application of the drug may not remove existing calcification, but it may slow the progression or stop it from getting worse. “Even slowing progression of valve calcification by 50 percent will greatly reduce or delay the need for surgical intervention in these patients.” The first steps of the study are already underway.
Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Admin
The parathyroid glands, located in the back of the neck, secrete parathyroid hormone which controls calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D in the blood and in your bones. In hypoparathyroidism not enough hormone is produced, causing calcium levels to drop and phosphorous levels to rise. People who have this relatively rare condition are treated with hormone supplements but a new study has shed light on their daily health, which can be problematic. A collaborative study presented at the meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Francisco showed that many of these patients suffer from a range of other health problems. In a survey of 374 patients, more than half reported fatigue, muscle pain or cramping, mental lethargy, inability to concentrate, memory loss, sleep issues, anxiety and emotional disturbances. Some have acute symptoms requiring hospital stays or emergency room visits. The findings will be considered as researchers look for new treatments. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Bart Clarke, M.D., talked about the survey findings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uQ26kYUbFI&feature=youtu.be&hd=1