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June 5, 2018

Research News Roundup–May 2018

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

The Mayo Clinic Research News Roundup includes brief summaries and links to research news releases from the past month. It also connects readers to related resources. Read on for more information from Mayo Clinic Research.

Mayo Clinic study finds women are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats and other menopause symptoms into their 70s and 80s.

Menopause symptoms are not just for midlife anymore, according to a new Mayo Clinic study published this month in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The study, conducted by researchers at Mayo Clinic gathered data from nearly 5,000 women. When asked whether they experienced any symptoms commonly associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms), a significant percentage reported having them well into their 60s, 70s and 80s.

Urologists from Mayo Clinic have identified unwarranted variation in post-surgery opioid prescribing patterns and have taken steps to create a standardized approach across Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. The urologists involved in the study presented their findings today at the 2018 American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

This research was funded by the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. Center research is focused on transforming clinical practice. Researchers seek to discover new ways to improve health; translate those discoveries into evidence-based, actionable treatments, processes and procedures; and apply this new knowledge to improve patient care.

Each year in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have heart surgery. To reduce risk of stroke for their patients, surgeons often will close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac in the left side of the heart where many blood clots form, during these surgeries. Mayo Clinic researchers reported May 22 in JAMA that adding this procedure is likely the right choice for certain patients but not all.

“Our study showed that this intervention is associated with reduced risks of stroke and mortality,” says Xiaoxi Yao, Ph.D., a health services researcher at Mayo Clinic and the study’s first author. “This is especially true for patients with pre-existing atrial fibrillation, who are at a particularly high risk of stroke.”

Sundeep Khosla, M.D, a researcher and physician at Mayo Clinic, has been named the recipient of the 2018 American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Frontiers in Science Award. Considered the AACE’s highest honor, this award, according to the association, “recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exemplary contributions to their profession or area of expertise.”

Dr. Khosla received the award on May 19, during the 27th AACE Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Boston. Read more about Dr. Khosla and the award in the news release.

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that a molecular communication pathway – thought to be defective in cancer – is a key player in determining the effectiveness of measles virus oncolytic cancer treatment in ovarian and aggressive brain cancers. This discovery enabled researchers to develop an algorithm to predict treatment effectiveness in individual patients. The findings appear in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“This discovery and algorithm will allow us to personalize cancer treatment by matching the most appropriate patients with oncolytic virus therapies,” says Evanthia Galanis, M.D., senior author of the study. “We’ll also know which ones can be helped by combining cancer virotherapy with other immune approaches.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Mayo Clinic researchers identified that an FDA drug approved for myelodysplastic syndrome may be useful to treat triple-negative breast cancer, which is one of the most aggressive and lethal types of breast cancer.

This study was part of the ongoing work from the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study, co-led by Matthew Goetz, M.D., a Mayo medical oncologist and Judy Boughey, M.D., a Mayo breast surgeon. The BEAUTY study generated patient derived xenografts (immortalizing breast tumor cells) from patients with breast cancer treated with chemotherapy.

A team of researchers including investigators from Mayo Clinic has identified a technology to address the problem of false positives in CT-based lung cancer screening. The team’s findings are published in the current issue of PLOS One.

“As physicians, one of the most challenging problems in screening patients for lung cancer is that the vast majority of the detected pulmonary nodules are not cancer,” says Tobias Peikert, M.D., a pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic. “Even in individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer, up to 96 percent of nodules are not cancer.”

Dr. Peikert says false-positive test results cause significant patient anxiety and often lead to unnecessary additional testing, including surgery. “False-positive lung cancer screening results also increase health care costs and may lead to unintentional physician-caused injury and mortality,” he says.

Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Children’s Hospital Colorado are collaborating to provide solutions for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.

“We are thrilled that Children’s Hospital Colorado has joined the hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium because it brings the research to more patients who may have otherwise had to travel in order to participate,” says Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. “It means that individuals with HLHS [hypoplastic left heart syndrome] now have more options at their fingertips while the consortium members are coming together to accelerate finding new and better solutions for these patients.”

A new procedural skills lab in the Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida will help staff learn and perfect various clinical procedures, including joint arthroscopy, spinal taps and kidney removal. In addition, participants in the lab will experiment, learn and refine new procedures on tissue from cadavers.

“Our physicians and staff are continuously working to improve upon techniques and innovating to bring new solutions to our patients – many of whom come to us for highly complex care,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “This new space greatly expands the ability to test and conduct research on equipment, processes and new procedures.”

On May 6, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) opened national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program. According to the NIH the program is a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds.

All of Us seeks to transform the relationship between researchers and participants, bringing them together as partners to guide the program’s directions, goals and responsible return of research information. Participants will be able to access their own health information, summary data about the entire participant community, and information about studies and findings that come from All of Us. Data from the program will be broadly accessible for research.

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Tags: About, All of Us, Findings, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Innovations, lung cancer, Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center, measles virus, menopause, personalized medicine, Progress Updates, Research News Roundup, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, virotherapy

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