Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

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November 12, 2018

Research News Roundup — October 2018

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Welcome to Advancing the Science.

On Mayo Clinic's medical research blog we have a wide range of research and research-education content. In addition to stories you won't find anywhere else, we also collect content from other sources in one easy-to-access spot.

The monthly Research News Roundup is one such aggregator, highlighting and linking to all the research news releases from the previous month. Enjoy, and come back again.

Rose Geranium Lavender herb species as well as coconut and sugar RoseRose geranium oil may help to ease the symptoms of nasal vestibulitis, a common and painful nasal condition linked to cancer drug treatment, according to the results of a small observational study, published online in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care ...

“Nasal vestibulitis is a side effect of cancer drug treatment, and is particularly common in people treated with a class of drugs called taxanes,” says lead author Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, M.D., a Hematology Oncology resident at Mayo Clinic. These drugs stop cell division and stunt the formation of new blood vessels to prevent tumor growth.” Dr. Cathcart-Rake says there are no treatments currently available for this unpleasant side effect of cancer therapy.

On a related note, Mayo Clinic's Integrative Medicine and Health team helps people use health and wellness practices for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. Integrative therapies complement rather than replace conventional Western medical care. These integrative practices — sometimes called complementary and alternative medicine — may help people with cancer, persistent pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and many other conditions.


Patient radiation therapy mask showing laser lines for targeting cancer cells in the brainWhen it comes to radiation therapy to treat brain cancer, hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy in conjunction with the drug memantine better preserved patients’ cognitive function and demonstrated similar cancer control outcomes, compared to traditional whole-brain radiotherapy with memantine.

These findings were presented on Tuesday, Oct. 23, by Mayo Clinic researchers at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Antonio.


Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified three specific gene types that account for a known two-to-three-fold increase in myeloma diagnoses among African-Americans. Researchers also demonstrated the ability to study race and racial admixture more accurately using DNA analysis. The findings were published today in Blood Cancer Journal.

“Myeloma is a serious blood cancer that occurs two to three times more often in African-Americans than Caucasians,” says Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study. “We sought to identify the mechanisms of this health disparity to help us better understand why myeloma occurs in the first place and provide insight into the best forms of therapy.”


An international team of researchers led by Konstantinos Lazaridis, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, has developed a new tool to help predict outcomes of primary sclerosing cholangitis. The team’s work is published in Hepatology.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease of the bile ducts, in which persistent inflammation causes scarring, hardening and narrowing of the ducts that eventually may lead to serious liver damage. The disease is commonly associated with inflammatory bowel disease and, usually, ulcerative colitis.


Mayo Clinic announced on Monday, Oct. 8, that it received a $10 million grant from The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Fund at Vanguard Charitable on the recommendation of Louis V. and Robin L. Gerstner.

The grant will support five initiatives across Mayo Clinic’s Arizona, Florida and Minnesota sites, and continues a long relationship with Mayo Clinic that includes the Gerstner Family Career Development Awards in Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine.

The grant advances research in the use of augmented human intelligence in cardiovascular care, and advances care for arthritis and spine pain using regenerative medicine and data analytics. Also, the grant provides specialized education opportunities for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.


Mayo Clinic researchers have identified the drug estradiol as a potential new treatment for a subset of women with triple-negative breast cancer. Their findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Triple-negative breast cancer is a form of breast cancer that lacks expression of estrogen receptor alpha, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, also known as HER2. And it exhibits high rates of disease recurrence,” says John Hawse, Ph.D., a molecular biologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author. “So far, there have been few drugs other than chemotherapy that appear to work effectively for the treatment of this disease.”


Obese patients who underwent a life-saving liver transplant and weight-loss surgery at the same time were better able to keep the weight off long term and had fewer metabolic complications than those who lost weight on their own before undergoing a liver transplant, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were recently published in Hepatology.

“This study shows that the combined approach of liver transplantation and weight-loss surgery is safe and effective over the long term,” says senior author Julie Heimbach, M.D., a transplant surgeon and division chair of Transplant Surgery at Mayo Clinic.

As obesity rates in the U.S. have soared, so have the number of people diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – a range of liver diseases that affects people who drink little to no alcohol and results in too much fat stored in liver cells.


Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a new genetics-based prognostic tool for myelodysplastic syndrome. Their findings are published in the October print issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Myelodysplastic syndrome is one of the most frequent blood cancers affecting the elderly with annual incidence exceeding 50 cases per 100,000 in people 65 years or older,” says Ayalew Tefferi, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist who is the principal investigator and lead author.

Dr. Tefferi says the average survival for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome is estimated at 2½ years, and survival rates have not improved over the past several decades.  Read more.

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Tags: alternative medicine, ASTRO, augmented human intelligence, Ayalew Tefferi, Blood Cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, cholangitis, complementary medicine, Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, health disparities, inflammatory bowel disease, John Hawse, Julie Heimbach, Konstantinos Lazaridis, liver disease, liver transplant, myeloma, myeodysplastic syndrome, News, radiation therapy, side effects, Vincent Rajkumar

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