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May 19th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Livers Donated after Cardiac Death Safe to Use in Liver Cancer Patients

By Paul Scotti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Patients with liver cancer can be cured with a liver transplant. But because of the shortage of donated organs, these patients often die waiting for a liver. That’s because most transplant centers predominantly use livers from donors who die from brain death.

But in the largest study of its kind, transplant physicians at Mayo Clinic in Florida have found that liver cancer patients have the same beneficial outcomes using organs donated by patients who died of cardiac death. The study was recently published online in the American Journal of Transplantation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Paul Scotti, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0199, scotti.paul@mayo.edu

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Tags: American Journal of Transplantation, Florida News Release, Kristopher Croome, liver disease, liver transplant, M.D., Mayo Clinic in Florida, News Release, Transplant Center


May 14th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic: New Mouse Model for ALS and Frontotemporal Dementia Gene Offers Hope for Potential Therapies

By Eileen Pfaff

Pictured are nuclei (blue) of neurons in the ALS/FTD mouse model  showing they contain inclusions of both RNA (left panel, red) or poly(GA) protein (right panel, red) and TDP-43 (both panels, green).

Pictured are nuclei (blue) of neurons in the ALS/FTD mouse model showing they contain inclusions of both RNA (left panel, red) or poly(GA) protein (right panel, red) and TDP-43 (both panels, green).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida have developed a mouse model that exhibits the neuropathological and behavioral features associated with the most common genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which are caused by a mutation in the C9ORF72 gene.

They say their findings, reported today in Science, will speed further research into the molecular mechanism behind these disorders and that the animal model will offer a way to test potential therapeutic agents to halt the death of neurons in the brain and spinal cord.

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

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Petrucelli are available in the downloads.

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Tags: ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Dr Dennis Dickson, Dr Kevin Boylan, Dr Leonard Petrucelli, Dr. Melissa Murray, Dr Rosa Rademakers, Florida News Release, Frontotemporal Dementia, FTD, Mayo Clinic in Florida, Medical Research, News Release


April 13th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Creating Profile to Identify Patients Most at Risk of Developing Pancreatic Cancer

By Kevin Punsky

Endoscopic ultrasound.

The endoscope (not seen) is placed in the stomach, via the mouth. The ultrasound device, located on the tip of the scope, provides a black and white image. In this image, the normal pancreas (“panc”) is located on the right, and a large black circular cyst is seen in the center. Doppler ultrasound is used to check the nearby blood vessels such as the superior mesenteric vein (SMV) which show red blood flow.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When people find out — usually from a diagnostic scan looking at something else — that they have a lesion in their pancreas that could morph into pancreatic cancer, they can panic. They insist on having frequent CT scans and biopsies to monitor the lesion, or they ask for surgery. Physicians also don’t know if these abnormalities are dangerous, so the patients end up in surgery having part of their pancreas removed. Often the lesion is nothing to worry about.

But a team of international physicians, led by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has developed a profile of the patient who would be most at risk of developing lesions that are most likely to develop into cancer. Their analysis is published online today in the journal Digestive and Liver Diseases.

“The factors we found that increase risk of pancreatic cancer now allow us to separate patients as either low or high risk,” says the study’s senior author, Michael B. Wallace, M.D., MPH, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. “High-risk patients can then be scanned and biopsied more frequently or can opt for surgery, but low-risk patients don’t need such surveillance. They can be watched much less intensively.”

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

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Tags: cancer, Dr Massimo Raimondo, Dr Michael Wallace, Dr Timothy Woodward, Florida, Florida News Release, Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Medical Research, News Release, Pancreatic Cancer


March 23rd, 2015 · 1 Comment

Mayo Clinic Study of Thousands of Brains Reveals Tau as Driver of Alzheimer’s Disease

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — By examining more than 3,600 postmortem brains, researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, have found that the progression of dysfunctional tau protein drives the cognitive decline and memory loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid, the other toxic protein that characterizes Alzheimer’s, builds up as dementia progresses, but is not the primary culprit, they say.

The findings, published in Brain, offer new and valuable information in the long and ongoing debate about the relative contribution of amyloid and tau to the development and progression of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s, says the study’s lead author, Melissa Murray, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

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

Journalists: Video is available in the downloads.

 

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Tags: Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, Dr Clifford Jack, Dr David Knopman, Dr Dennis Dickson, Dr Joseph Parisi, Dr Kejal Kantarci, Dr. Melissa Murray, Dr Neill Graff-Radford, Dr Owen Ross, Dr. Ronald Petersen, Dr Val Lowe, Florida, Florida News Release, Jr, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic Brain Bank, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Medical Research, Minnesota, News Release


February 20th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Identify Gene that Pushes Normal Pancreas Cells to Change Shape, a Key Step to Cancer Development

By Kevin Punsky

The image shows typical pancreatic precancerous lesions. Brown staining shows upregulation of the protein PKD1.

The image shows typical pancreatic precancerous lesions. Brown staining shows upregulation of the protein PKD1.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A research team led by investigators from Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, and the University of Oslo, Norway, have identified a molecule that pushes normal pancreatic cells to transform their shape, laying the groundwork for development of pancreatic cancer — one of the most difficult tumors to treat.

Their findings, reported in Nature Communications, suggest that inhibiting the gene, protein kinase D1 (PKD1), and its protein could halt progression and spread of this form of pancreatic cancer, and possibly even reverse the transformation.

“As soon as pancreatic cancer develops, it begins to spread, and PKD1 is key to both processes. Given this finding, we are busy developing a PKD1 inhibitor that we can test further,” says the study’s co-lead investigator, Peter Storz, Ph.D., a cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic.

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

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Tags: cancer, Dr Peter Storz, Florida, Florida News Release, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Medical Research, News Release, Pancreatic Cancer


February 16th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Molecule that Provides Cellular Energy Found Key to Aggressive Thyroid Cancer

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cancer researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, have identified a molecule they say is important to survival of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) — a lethal tumor with no effective therapies. The molecule also seems to play a role in a wide range of cancers.

In an online issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, they identify Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) as an oncogenic enzyme that when inhibited and paired with another targeted drug effectively shuts down ATC cell growth and induces cell death.

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

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Tags: cancer, Dr. Han Tun, Dr John Copland, Dr Robert Smallridge, Florida, Florida News Release, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Medical Research, News Release, thyroid cancer


February 3rd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Precision Medicine in Action: Genomic Test Helps Solve Medical Mystery

By Kevin Punsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Precision medicine is getting a jump-start from a new national initiative announced in President Obama's State of the Union message. One Georgia family has already experienced its benefits: genomic testing called whole exome sequencing helped Mayo Clinic neurologist Zbigniew Wszolek, M.D., solve a medical mystery that had left a boy with painful, jerking spasms that at times prevented him from walking or talking. Dr. Wszolek describes the case in a newly published article in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

As a toddler, Dustin Bennett could not keep his balance, and as he grew older, the rigid, jerking spasms mysteriously appeared and disappeared. Over time, he also developed learning disabilities.

 

Dustin’s adoptive mother, Linda Bennett, took him to several doctors to find the cause of his movement problems, but years of tests, medications and hospital stays came up empty for the Pearson, Georgia, family.

“I wasn’t willing to give up, because I felt there had to be an answer somewhere,” Linda says.

Journalists: Broadcast quality video is available in the downloads.

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

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Tags: Biorepositories program, Dr. Alexander Parker, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, Dr Zbigniew Wszolek, episodic ataxia type 1, Florida News Release, Individualized Medicine, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic Biobank, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Medical Research, neurology, News Release, Precision Medicine, whole exome sequencing


January 28th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Receives $5.75 Million Gift for Lewy Body Dementia Research

By Kevin Punsky

This is a confocal image of a Lewy body from the brain of a patient with Lewy body dementia double stained for tyrosine hydroxylase (the enzyme that makes dopamine) and α-synuclein (the major protein constituent of Lewy bodies).

This is a confocal image of a Lewy body from the brain of a patient with Lewy body dementia double stained for tyrosine hydroxylase (the enzyme that makes dopamine) and α-synuclein (the major protein constituent of Lewy bodies).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has received a $5.75 million gift from the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to advance the study of Lewy body dementia, a deadly disease that causes a progressive decline in mental and physical abilities. The new Mayo program is one of a few in the world dedicated to finding answers and treatments for the disease.

The gift establishes the Mayo Clinic Dorothy and Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Lewy Body Dementia Program and builds on the foundation’s previous support of Mayo research to advance awareness and understanding of Lewy body dementia. It also helps support the brain bank on Mayo’s Florida campus, which includes about 1,000 donated organs of deceased patients confirmed to have had Lewy body dementia.

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

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Dickson are available in the downloads.

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Tags: Alzheimer’s disease, Dr Dennis Dickson, Florida News Release, Lewy Body Dementia, Matthew Clark PhD, Medical Research, News Release, Parkinson's disease


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, Matthew Clark PhD, 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, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross, News Release