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September 30th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Health Letter: Highlights from the September 2014 Issue

By Brian Kilen

ROCHESTER, Minn. ― Here are highlights from the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit or call toll-free for subscription information, 1-800-333-9037, extension 9771. Full newsletter text: Mayo Clinic Health Letter September 2014 (for journalists only).

Medical staff in operating room performing surgeryAfter celebrating, survivors often face anxieties and fear

Adjusting from being a cancer patient to a cancer survivor isn't just about celebration and gratitude. The September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers why this transition isn’t always smooth or easy. In addition to dealing with fatigue or other side effects of surgery or treatment, patients may be surprised by feelings that can include fear and uncertainty, anxiety, sadness and irritability.

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Tags: anxiety, cancer, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Minnesota news release, News Release, sleep apnea, smoking, stress, Surgery

June 26th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Recommends New Routine Testing for some Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

By Sam Smith

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A Mayo Clinic-led group of researchers has discovered three subgroups of a single type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that have markedly different survival rates. These subgroups could not be differentiated by routine pathology but only with the aid of novel genetic tests, which the research team recommends giving to all patients with ALK-negative anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Findings are published in the journal Blood.

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

Patients whose lymphomas had TP63 rearrangements had only a 17 percent chance of living five years beyond diagnosis, compared to 90 percent of patients whose tumors had DUSP22 rearrangements. A third group of tumors, those with neither rearrangement, was associated with an intermediate survival rate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Andrew Feldman, Biomarker Discovery Program, center for individualized medicine, fish, Genetics, genomics, individualized medicine, Minnesota news release, News Release, personalized medicine

June 22nd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Twitter Chats Connect Medical Experts

By Dennis Douda

Twitter boasts hundreds of millions of subscribers. So, why wouldn't doctors with important news to share about treatment see if they could get the word out with a few well-worded tweets? Take a discussion recently on immunotherapy and ways medicine can work with our immune systems to fight cancer. Here's Dennis Douda with the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Journalists: The video package is available in the downloads.

To read the video script, click here.

Mayo Clinic regularly participates in Twitter chats on a wide variety of medical interests and specialties. In addition, other social media platforms are used daily to share news about health care and research, including Facebook, Pinterest and Google +.

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Tags: cancer, Dr Block, Dr Diane Jelinek, Dr Jelinek, Dr Markovic, Dr Matthew Block, Dr Svetomir Markovic, Hematology, HL, immunology, immunotherapy, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, oncology, Research

June 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Researchers Discover New Form of Cancer

By Bob Nellis

Potentially disfiguring facial tumor caused by chromosomal chimera

ROCHESTER, Minn. — This is the story of two perfectly harmless genes. By themselves, PAX3 and MAML3 don’t cause any problems. However, when they combine during an abnormal but recurring chromosomal mismatch, they can be dangerous. The result is a chimera — a gene that is half of each — and that causes biphenotypic sinonasal sarcoma. The tumor usually begins in the nose and may infiltrate the rest of the face, requiring disfiguring surgery to save the individual. Because Mayo Clinic pathology researchers have now described the molecular makeup of the rare tumor, several existing cancer drugs may be targeted against it. The findings appear in the current issue of Nature Genetics.

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Tags: Andre Oliveira, cancer, chromosomal chimera, fusion gene, Head and Neck Cancer, Jean Lewis, MAML3, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Nature Genetics, News Release, pathology, PAX3, rearrangement, Research, Rochester news release, sarcoma, sinonasal, translocation

June 4th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Moves Small-Molecule Drugs Through Blood-Brain Barrier

By Bob Nellis

brain imageROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic have demonstrated in a mouse model that their recently developed synthetic peptide carrier is a potential delivery vehicle for brain cancer chemotherapy drugs and other neurological medications. The findings appear in PLOS ONE.

“Not only have we shown that we can transport eight different molecules, we think this method will be less disruptive or invasive because it mimics a normal physiological process,” says Mayo Clinic neuroscientist Gobinda Sarkar, Ph.D., the corresponding author of the study. The researchers are able to transport the drugs without modifying any of the molecules involved. They say this development will aid in evaluation of potential new drugs for brain cancer.

The blood-brain barrier is meant to protect the brain from numerous undesirable chemicals circulating in the body, but it also obstructs access for treatment of brain tumors and other conditions. Too often the only recourse is invasive, which often limits a drug’s effectiveness or causes irreversible damage to an already damaged brain. Nearly all of the drugs that could potentially help are too large to normally pass through the barrier. Additionally, other methods may damage the vascular system.
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Tags: BBB, blood brain barrier, brain cancer, cancer, Chemotherapy Drugs, Dr Gobinda Sarkar, Dr Robert Jenkins, I-125, K16ApoE, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota news release, News Release, PLoS One, synthetic peptide carrier

June 2nd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Immunotherapy May be Option Challenging Breast Cancer

By Admin


PHOENIX — A promising new study from Mayo Clinic, in conjunction with Caris Life Sciences, points to immunotherapy as a possible treatment option for patients with the difficult-to-treat triple negative breast cancer mutation. The study was presented this week at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

“This study may change our ability to treat triple negative breast cancer patients,” says Barbara Pockaj, M.D., lead investigator of the study and Mayo Clinic surgeon. “We may have signs that these patients can be treated with immunotherapy. We don’t have a lot of options for these patients and this would really expand our options.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: American Society of Clinical Oncology, Arizona News Release, ASCO, Barbara Pockaj, Breast Cancer, cancer, Caris Life Sciences, Chemotherapy, HER2, immunotherapy, Lung Cancer, MD, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Melanoma, PD-L1, Renal Cell Carcinoma

May 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic First to Show Virotherapy is Promising Against Multiple Myeloma (pkg)

By Bob Nellis

ROCHESTER, Minn. — May 14, 2014 — In a proof of principle clinical trial, Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated that virotherapy — destroying cancer with a virus that infects and kills cancer cells but spares normal tissues — can be effective against the deadly cancer multiple myeloma. The findings appear in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 

Click here to listen to the July 12th Mayo Clinic Radio program featuring Dr. Russell and Stacy Erholtz

Journalists: The video package and extra b-roll are available in the downloads. The video package script, including intro and anchor tags, is available here.

Two patients in the study received a single intravenous dose of an engineered measles virus (MV-NIS) that is selectively toxic to myeloma plasma cells. Both patients responded, showing reduction of both bone marrow cancer and myeloma protein. One patient, a 49-year-old woman, experienced complete remission of myeloma and has been clear of the disease for over six months.

“This is the first study to establish the feasibility of systemic oncolytic virotherapy for disseminated cancer,” says Stephen Russell, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic hematologist, first author of the paper and co-developer of the therapy. “These patients were not responsive to other therapies and had experienced several recurrences of their disease.”

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow, which also causes skeletal or soft tissue tumors. This cancer usually responds to immune system-stimulating drugs, but eventually overcomes them and is rarely cured.
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Tags: cancer, Dr Stephen Russell, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, measles virus, Minnesota news release, molecular medicine, multiple myeloma, News Release, oncolytic, Research, virotherapy, HL, Pkg

March 20th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Minnesota Partnership Launches Six Research Projects

By Bob Nellis

University of Minnesota Research Partnership Logo

Laser-guided Malaria Detectors
Smart Socks that Predict Heart Attacks
Mouse Avatars to Study Ovarian Cancer

These are just three of the joint projects now underway involving collaborative research teams from Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. Over $4 million in research awards from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics will make those investigative projects possible. The research grants are intended to jump start innovative ideas and generate scientific data in order to secure more long-term funding. These "seed" grants are for two years and involve ideas that have a strong likelihood of turning into marketable products or processes.

The other three projects include development of a genomic research tool to help scientists engineer DNA, a study looking for links between stress and obesity, and an exploration of the causes of and possible therapies for irritable bowel syndrome involving microbiotics. The funding comes from the state of Minnesota.

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Tags: DNA, genomics, heart attack, heart attack prevention, irritable bowel syndrome, malaria, Minnesota Partnership, obesity, Ovarian Cancer, stress, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

March 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Advanced Home Stool Test Finds Colorectal Cancer’s DNA

By Dennis Douda

Mayo Clinic research results presented in NEJM could change colorectal screening practice

A clinical trial of Cologuard shows unprecedented results for finding colorectal cancer with a noninvasive test. “Cologuard detection rates of early stage cancer and high-risk precancerous polyps validated in this large study were outstanding and have not been achieved by other noninvasive approaches,” says the study’s author David Ahlquist M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-inventor of the Cologuard test.

Colorectal cancer has become the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but it is highly treatable if found early. Cologuard uses a self-contained collection kit that allows patients to send stool samples to a high-tech lab for screening.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Ahlquist, animation and b-roll of the Cologuard test kit are available in the downloads.
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Tags: ColoGuard, colon, colonoscopy, colorectal cancer, DNA Stool Test, Dr. Ahlquist, Dr David Ahlquist, Exact Sciences, polyps, precancerous polyps

March 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Minority disparities evident in prostate cancer survival rate, Mayo Clinic study shows

By Jim McVeigh

PHOENIX — March 19, 2014 — A Mayo Clinic study reviewed data on more than 290,000 men with prostate cancer from the past 20 years and found that African-American men are at increased risk for poorer survival rate following prostate cancer treatment compared to other minority groups. The study was recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers say that it has long been known that the survival rates of African-American men are less than Caucasian men but there was less information about other minorities such as Hispanics and Asians. Using data from the National Cancer Institute, the researchers used consistent clinical parameters among the groups and found that the survival rates for Hispanics and Asians were about the same as Caucasian.

“Theoretically, if all clinical and demographic variables are the same and people have similar access to treatment, they should have the equal survival rates,” says Mark D. Tyson, II, M.D, a urologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “We found that is not the case.”

Dr. Tyson said the research team believes that the disparity can be attributed to post treatment factors. He said the next phase of the research will examine what post treatment factors contribute to the survival rate. He said that it is important for both physicians and patients to know that the disparity exists and there could be a variety of reasons why.

“What we do know is that with all other things being equal there is still this disparity… and the study really points to that post treatment period,” Dr. Tyson says. “The message that patients and clinicians can take away from this study is that patients need to be followed closely particularly if they are of African-American descent.”


About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit, and

MEDIA CONTACT:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jim McVeigh, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-4222, 

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Tags: Arizona News Release, cancer, News Release, Prostate Cancer, Urology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center