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.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified an important new pathway by which HER2 positive breast cancers grow and have discovered that a dietary supplement called cyclocreatine may block the growth of HER2 positive breast cancer. Their findings were published today in Cell Metabolism.
Taro Hitosugi, Ph.D., a pharmacologist at Mayo Clinic, and his colleagues were hoping to find a way to help patients with HER2 positive breast cancer, in whom their cancer is or may become resistant to the typical therapy - trastuzumab. Their strategy was to develop a treatment to target tumor mitochondrial energy metabolism, which is the process cancer cells use to manipulate energy during cell metabolism in order to grow.
The use of mud or wet clay as a topical skin treatment or a poultice is a common practice in some cultures and the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to earliest times. Now Mayo Clinic researchers and their collaborators at Arizona State University have found that at least one type of clay may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including some treatment-resistant bacteria.
The findings appear in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
A research team led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a geneticist at Mayo Clinic, has identified specific genes associated with an increased risk for developing triple-negative breast cancer. Their research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
“Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that cannot be treated using targeted therapies,” says Dr. Couch. “It accounts for 15 percent of breast cancer in the Caucasian population and 35 percent in the African-American population. It is also associated with a high risk of recurrence and a poor five-year survival rate. Our findings provide the basis for better risk management.”
Despite increased attention to opioid abuse, prescriptions have remained relatively unchanged for many U.S. patients, research led by Mayo Clinic finds. The research, published in The BMJ, shows that opioid prescription rates have remained flat for commercially insured patients over the past decade. Rates for some Medicare patients are leveling but remain above where they were 10 years ago.
“Our data suggest not much has changed in prescription opioid use since about five years ago,” says Molly Jeffery, Ph.D., lead author, who is the scientific director of the Mayo Clinic Division of Emergency Medicine Research.
Read the full news release.
A preliminary study published in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that, for some people, specific activities of gut bacteria may be responsible for their inability to lose weight, despite adherence to strict diet and exercise regimens.
“We know that some people don’t lose weight as effectively as others, despite reducing caloric consumption and increasing physical activity,” says Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-senior author of the study. Dr. Kashyap and his colleagues wondered if there may be other factors at work that prevented these patients from responding to traditional weight-loss strategies.
Astronauts intermittently monitor their vital signs in space for experiments, partly because continuous monitoring requires multiple contact points on the body and the use of cumbersome batteries. Now, researchers at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus are studying a device to be launched into space that is designed to use a small, inexpensive camera fitted with specialized software. This software has the potential to monitor an astronaut’s vital signs continuously and contact-free from feet away, saving precious cargo space and leaving astronauts unencumbered.
A married couple, both of who are physician-researchers at Mayo Clinic, are partnering on this project.
William D. Freeman, M.D., and Michelle Freeman, M.D., discuss the monitoring project.
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