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January 11th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Researchers Find Cancer Biopsies Do Not Promote Cancer Spread

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A study of more than 2,000 patients by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has dispelled the myth that cancer biopsies cause cancer to spread. In the Jan. 9 online issue of Gut, they show that patients who received a biopsy had a better outcome and longer survival than patients who did not have a biopsy.

The image shows a pancreas tumor being biopsied with a needle as visualized by endoscopic ultrasound. The endoscope was located within the stomach (passed via the mouth). An ultrasound probe at the tip of the endoscope allows visualization of the pancreas which is located immediately next to the stomach. A long needle is guided through the endoscope and into the tumor under ultrasound guidance.

The image shows a pancreas tumor being biopsied with a needle as visualized by endoscopic ultrasound. The endoscope was located within the stomach (passed via the mouth). An ultrasound probe at the tip of the endoscope allows visualization of the pancreas which is located immediately next to the stomach. A long needle is guided through the endoscope and into the tumor under ultrasound guidance.

The researchers studied pancreatic cancer, but the findings likely apply to other cancers because diagnostic technique used in this study — fine needle aspiration — is commonly used across tumor types, says the study’s senior investigator and gastroenterologist Michael Wallace, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine.

Fine needle aspiration is a minimally invasive technique that uses a thin and hollow needle to extract a few cells from a tumor mass. A long-held belief by a number of patients and even some physicians has been that a biopsy can cause some cancer cells to spread.

While there have been a few case reports that suggest this can happen — but very rarely — there is no need for patients to be concerned about biopsies, says Dr. Wallace.

“This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe,” he says. “We do millions of biopsies of cancer a year in the U.S., but one or two case studies have led to this common myth that biopsies spread cancer.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cancer, Dr Michael Wallace, Florida News Release, Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research, News Release, Pancreatic Cancer


January 5th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Names John Presutti, D.O., Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross

By Kevin Punsky

John Presutti, D.O.

John Presutti, D.O.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic has named John Presutti, D.O., as chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross (Georgia), effective March 2, 2015. Dr. Presutti succeeds Kenneth Calamia, M.D., who will retire from Mayo Clinic at the end of 2015.

“Dr. Presutti is a wonderfully gifted and proven physician leader,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida. “He brings energy and passion to his work and is committed to building upon Dr. Calamia’s successful leadership and involvement in the Waycross community.”

Dr. Presutti has been with Mayo Clinic since 1997. He currently is chair of the Division of Regional Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida. He also serves as medical director for Contracting and Payer Relations and is a member of the executive operations teams in Florida and Waycross. As a family practice physician, Dr. Presutti has dedicated his career to the health and well-being of his patients and the training and education of other family medicine physicians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Calamia, Dr Presutti, Florida News Release, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross, News Release


December 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Receive $1.2 Million from new Florida Program to Study Alzheimer’s

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Three researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida have received $1.2 million from the newly funded Florida Health Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Research Program to study various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. The program was created earlier this year to improve the health of Floridians by researching prevention and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Tags: Alzheimer’s disease, Dr Ertekin-Taner, Dr Guojun Bu, Dr Rosa Rademakers, Florida News Release, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research, News Release


December 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Physicians Say High-definition Scopes Accurately Assess Polyps, Costly Pathological Examinations May Not Be Necessary

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It may not be necessary for experienced gastroenterologists to send polyps they remove from a patient’s colon to a pathologist for examination, according to a large study conducted by physician researchers at the Jacksonville campus of Mayo Clinic.

The benign hyperplastic polyp appears very pale and bland on imaging.

The benign hyperplastic polyp appears very pale and bland on imaging.

Their 522-patient study, published in the December issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, found that physicians correctly evaluated whether a polyp was precancerous or benign using high-definition optical lenses during a colonoscopy. Their assessment was 96 or 97 percent accurate — depending on which of two generations of scopes was used — compared with a standard pathological evaluation of the polyps.

The Mayo Clinic researchers conclude that the pathological polyp examination now required by national practice guidelines may not be necessary — an advance they say could result in substantial cost savings for the patient and the health care system, as well as more rapid information and recommendations for follow-up for the patient. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Colon Cancer, colonoscopy, Dr Michael Wallace, Florida News Release, Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research, News Release


December 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Names Christina Zorn, J.D., as Chief Administrative Officer in Jacksonville, Florida

By Kevin Punsky

Christina Zorn, J.D.

Christina Zorn, J.D.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic has appointed Christina Zorn, J.D., as chief administrative officer of its campus in Jacksonville, Fla., and vice chair of Administration, Mayo Clinic.

She will serve as administrative partner to Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., incoming vice president of Mayo Clinic and chief executive officer of the Jacksonville campus, as previously announced. Zorn assumes her new role on Jan. 1.

“Christina Zorn has significant experience at Mayo Clinic as well as excellent insight into the strengths of Mayo Clinic’s Florida staff and the unique challenges of the local and regional market,” says Dr. Farrugia. “I look forward to working with Christina as we continue the excellent efforts underway in delivering outstanding care to our patients, advancing research and educating the next generation of providers in Florida and throughout the Southeast.”

Zorn has been with Mayo Clinic since 2002. She began her career at Mayo Clinic as a legal counsel and now serves as the chair of the Florida division of the Legal Department. In addition, Zorn has served as an administrator for the Department of Ophthalmology in Florida and for several key initiatives.

She succeeds Robert Brigham, who has served as chief administrative officer in Florida since 2005. Brigham will retire from Mayo Clinic at the end of 2014. Zorn will work closely with Brigham to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746,
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: chief administrative officer, Christina Zorn, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, Florida News Release, Mayo Clinic leadership, News Release


December 8th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Immune Function Marker Does Not Predict Benefit of Trastuzumab in HER-2+ Breast Cancer Patients, Study Finds

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A marker of immune function that predicts for better outcomes in patients treated with chemotherapy for triple negative breast cancer is also linked to improved prognosis in patients treated with chemotherapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. But that marker — the quantity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (S-TILs) in a biopsy — appears irrelevant when trastuzumab is used.

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Tags: 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Breast Cancer, Edith Perez, Florida News Release, HER2+ breast cancer, M.D., Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic in Florida, News Release, trastuzumab Herceptin, triple negative breast cancer


November 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Trustees Welcome New Board Member

By Karl W Oestreich

Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D.

Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees welcomed Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D., as a new public member at its quarterly meeting today.

Dr. Coleman is president emeritus of the University of Michigan, (U-M) an institution she led for 12 years before retiring in July 2014. Time magazine named her one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents,” and the American Council on Education honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. She previously was president of the University of Iowa.

As University of Michigan president, Dr. Coleman unveiled several major initiatives designed to impact on future generations of students, the intellectual life of the campus, and society at large. The initiatives focused on the interdisciplinary richness of the U-M, student residential life, the economic vitality of the state and nation, global engagement and the value of innovation and creativity. President Obama chose Dr. Coleman to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government.

Click here for a bio of Dr. Mary Sue Coleman.

MEDIA CONTACT: Karl Oestreich, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu.

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Tags: Dr Mary Sue Coleman, Florida News Release, Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, Minnesota news release, News Release


November 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Identify First Steps in Formation of Pancreatic Cancer

By Kevin Punsky

Shown is a region of a pancreas with preneoplastic lesions. Red labeling indicates macrophages, green labeling indicates pancreatic acinar cells that dedifferentiate, and grey labeling indicates further progressed pancreatic lesions.

Shown is a region of a pancreas with preneoplastic lesions. Red labeling indicates macrophages, green labeling indicates pancreatic acinar cells that dedifferentiate, and grey labeling indicates further progressed pancreatic lesions.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville say they have identified first steps in the origin of pancreatic cancer and that their findings suggest preventive strategies to explore.

In an online issue of Cancer Discovery, the scientists described the molecular steps necessary for acinar cells in the pancreas — the cells that release digestive enzymes — to become precancerous lesions. Some of these lesions can then morph into cancer.

“Pancreatic cancer develops from these lesions, so if we understand how these lesions come about, we may be able to stop the cancer train altogether,” says the study’s lead investigator, Peter Storz, Ph.D., a cancer biologist.

he need for new treatment and prevention strategies is pressing, Dr. Storz says. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive human cancers — symptoms do not occur until the cancer is well advanced. One-year survival after diagnosis is only 20 percent. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in this country.

The scientists studied pancreatic cells with Kras genetic mutations. Kras produces a protein that regulates cell division, and the gene is often mutated in many cancers. More than 95 percent of pancreatic cancer cases have a Kras mutation.

The researchers detailed the steps that led acinar cells with Kras mutations to transform into duct-like cells with stem cell-like properties. Stem cells, which can divide at will, are also often implicated in cancer.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746.
Email: punsky.kevin@mayo.edu Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cancer, Dr Peter Storz, Florida News Release, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research, News Release, Pancreatic Cancer


November 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Combination Therapy Offers Quicker, Less Toxic Eradication of Hepatitis C in Patients with Transplanted Livers

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 9, 2014 — All patients with hepatitis C who receive a liver transplant will eventually infect their new livers. These transplanted organs then require anti-viral treatment before they become severely damaged. But traditional post-transplant hepatitis C therapy can take up to a year, is potentially toxic and can lead to organ rejection.

Now, at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (The Liver Meeting® 2014) in Boston, researchers at Mayo Clinic report that use of two new oral medications post-transplant is safe and beneficial, and requires only 12 weeks of treatment.

“This is the first study to examine the use of these two new drugs — simeprevir and sofosbuvir — in liver transplant recipients, and, based on this large study, we find it to be a better option than current treatment,” says the study’s lead researcher, Surakit Pungpapong, M.D., a transplant hepatologist and an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Journalists: Soundbites with Dr. Pungpapong are available in the downloads.

MEDIA CONTACT: Paul Scotti, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0199. Email: scotti.paul@mayo.edu Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Florida News Release, Hepatitis C, interferon, Liver Disease, Mayo Clinic in Florida, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, News Release, ribavirin, simeprevir, sofosbuvir, Surakit Pungpapong


October 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Receives $6 Million for ALS, FTD Research

By Kevin Punsky

Lab image of testingJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the U.S. Department of Defense have awarded researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville approximately $6 million in two grants to further their studies aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from either amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

NINDS has awarded Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neuroscience, and his colleagues Kevin Boylan, M.D., Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D., and Dennis Dickson, M.D., a five-year P01 grant (P01 NS084974-1) to combine their expertise in neurology, genetics, neuropathology and cell biology. Given that no biomarker or blood test currently exists for clinicians to definitely diagnose ALS or FTD, the funding will allow researchers to improve understanding of C9ORF72-related neurodegeneration, identify potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets, and develop a biological fluid and tissue resource to aid future drug discovery.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746.
Email: punsky.kevin@mayo.edu

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Tags: ALS, Dr Dennis Dickson, Dr Kevin Boylan, Dr Leonard Petrucelli, Dr Rosa Rademakers, Florida News Release, FTD, Mayo Clinic, Medical Research, News Release


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