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Thu, Apr 6 at 10:33am EDT by @bobnellis · View  

Media Advisory: Mayo Clinic puts regenerative medicine into practice

Discovery's Edge website screengrab on a laptop

That and other new medical research stories in Discovery’s Edge

Renaissance in Medicine

Regenerative medicine, the science harnessing the body’s healing mechanisms, is no longer science fiction or a research study. It’s being integrated into a wide range of specialties in the medical practice at Mayo Clinic, as physicians advance from treating symptoms to seeking cures.

Mayo and NASA – Exploring Two Frontiers

Following a three-generation legacy of aerospace medical research, Mayo Clinic researchers continue to seek answers for the future of space exploration. The four investigators showcased are investigating: stem cell growth in a weightless environment for potential regenerative medicine therapies; chilling astronauts for long-term travel; avoiding vision problems in space; and limiting bone loss.

Cleaning Up Cancer

Immunotherapy – boosting the body’s immune system to attack cancer tumor cells – is a promising approach to fight many forms of the disease, either directly or in combination with other treatments. It’s already adding years to patients’ lives and promise for future therapies as seen in this roundup from Mayo’s campuses.

Eye in the Storm

It’s the eye disease you haven’t heard of unless you or a relative has it. Yet, it is one of the leading causes of vision loss and there is no treatment short of transplanting the cornea. A Mayo team is trying to change that.

Discovery’s Present

Yes, it’s a play on words…about the past, present and future research on a rare kidney disease that has no cure. It’s also about the gift of themselves, literally, made by patients who make the ongoing research possible.

Transforming Medicine

How do you change the practice of medicine? You have to start out with funding, a positive idea, and the right people. That last part ─ building the right team ─ is a bit like the old “Mission Impossible” approach. Here’s how one scientist assembles the right people to save lives.

These and other stories and videos are available online at Discovery's Edge.

You may cite and link to this publication as often as you wish. Republication is allowed with proper attribution.

Discovery's Edge, Mayo Clinic's online research magazine, highlights stories of leading medical investigators. Many features cover ongoing projects long before they reach the journals. Science writers and medical reporters seeking story ideas will want to check out the articles, which span a wide range of conditions and feature visuals they can use in their publications.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Fri, Mar 10 at 11:29am EDT by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic discovers high-intensity aerobic training can reverse aging processes in adults

Running on a treadmillROCHESTER, Minn. — Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but what type of training helps most, especially when you’re older - say over 65? A Mayo Clinic study says it’s high-intensity aerobic exercise, which can reverse some cellular aspects of aging. The findings appear in Cell Metabolism.

Mayo researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance training and combined training. All training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, but only high-intensity and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle. Decline in mitochondrial content and function are common in older adults.

High-intensity intervals also improved muscle protein content that not only enhanced energetic functions, but also caused muscle enlargement, especially in older adults. The researchers emphasized an important finding: Exercise training significantly enhanced the cellular machinery responsible for making new proteins. That contributes to protein synthesis, thus reversing a major adverse effect of aging. However, adding resistance training is important to achieve significant muscle strength.

“We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits,” says K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior researcher on the study. He says the high-intensity training reversed some manifestations of aging in the body’s protein function. He cautioned that increasing muscle strength requires resistance training a couple of days a week.

The study’s goal was to find evidence that will help develop targeted therapies and exercise recommendations for individuals at various ages. Researchers tracked metabolic and molecular changes in a group of young and older adults over 12 weeks, gathering data 72 hours after individuals in randomized groups completed each type of exercise. General findings showed:

  • Cardio respiratory health, muscle mass and insulin sensitivity improved with all training.
  • Mitochondrial cellular function declined with age but improved with training.
  • Increase in muscle strength occurred only modestly with high-intensity interval training but occurred with resistance training alone or when added to the aerobic training.
  • Exercise improves skeletal muscle gene expression independent of age.
  • Exercise substantially enhanced the ribosomal proteins responsible for synthesizing new proteins, which is mainly responsible for enhanced mitochondrial function.
  • Training has no significant effect on skeletal muscle DNA epigenetic changes but promotes skeletal muscle protein expression with maximum effect in older adults.

Co-authors on the article are all from Mayo Clinic:

  • Matthew Robinson
  • Surendra Dasari, Ph.D.
  • Adam Konopka
  • Matthew L. Johnson
  • Manjunatha Shankarappa, M.D.
  • Raul Ruiz Esponda
  • Rickey Carter, Ph.D.
  • Ian Lanza, Ph.D.

The research was supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as by Mayo Clinic, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and the Murdock-Dole Professorship.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Thu, Feb 9 at 11:01am EDT by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic physician-researchers honored by national society

medical or chemistry science background with a microscopeROCHESTER, Minn. ─ Two Mayo Clinic researchers have been named to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, bringing the total Mayo membership in the honorary society of physician-scientists to 39. Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a pharmacologist, and Martin Fernandez-Zapico, M.D., a pancreatic cancer biologist, were named to the society from several hundred nominees nationally. The society has 3,000 members.

“Drs. Wang and Fernandez-Zapico well deserve this honor, for their scientific contributions to the unmet needs of patients,” says Gregory Gores, M.D., executive dean of research, Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic has a great number of physician-scientists who turn to research when existing therapies are not enough.”

Dr. Wang is a specialist in pharmacogenomics, the study of choosing the right medication, at the right dose to work with an individual’s genomic makeup. In her laboratory, she uses genomic-based tools to identify biomarkers that can help predict a patient response to a given drug or dose. She also researches the genomics of cancer tumors to determine the most effective anti-tumor drugs.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

Dr. Fernandez-Zapico’s research aims to understand the epigenetic pathways regulating the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer, predicted to be the second cause of cancer death by 2030. Two main focus areas are the signaling regulation of transcriptional processes that fine-tune the growth of cancer and the epigenetic regulation of the tumor microenvironment. He and his team say they believe both avenues of research will provide foundation for new cancer therapies for this devastating disease.

“It is a real honor for me to be elected as a member of this group that includes many outstanding physician-scientists from great academic institutions,” says Dr. Wang. “This is also recognition of Mayo as a premiere academic medical center, where basic and clinical scientists can perform state-of-the-art translational research and a place that provides a very supportive environment for translational research.”

“This is great. I feel honored, pleased, excited and happy,” Dr. Fernandez-Zapico says about his selection. “This reaffirms my commitment to this disease, my present line of research and the choices I’ve made during my career. It says I’m on the right track with my work, and the path I selected is a good one. Now, I can proceed with even greater confidence.”

Dr. Wang received her medical degree at Fudan University Medical School in China, and completed her doctorate and postdoctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Fernandez-Zapico received his medical degree from the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina, and completed research fellowships at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Nov 23, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Three new high-tech tools for state scientists from Minnesota Partnership

Scientist using biomedical equipmentROCHESTER, Minn. — Biomedical researchers in Minnesota will be able to use some of the latest high tech research tools thanks to the latest infrastructure awards from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. The three projects enable electron microscopy, real-time cell analysis, and antibody research, all of which help scientists seek treatments for multiple diseases. The competitive awards, announced annually, are supported through recurring Partnership funding from the Minnesota legislature.

Just over $2.5 million has been awarded based on proposals for shared-use infrastructure from three Partnership teams. The funding spans two years and is intended to support the purchase or development of technology that neither the University of Minnesota or Mayo Clinic could have purchased individually. They include:

A facility to study metabolic activity within living cells in real time using two extracellular flux analyzers.
The analysis is useful in research on aging, cancer, neurosciences and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. One instrument will be located at Mayo Clinic and the other at the University of Minnesota. Researchers: Ameeta Kelekar, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Scott Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic.

University of Minnesota Research Partnership Logo

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

High-resolution electron microscopy.
This type of electron microscope will fill the imaging gap between thin-sectioned transmission electron microscopy and large-scale medical image, such as CT scans and MRI. It will allow researchers to view three-dimensional images of large molecules, aspects of tissue and veins, nervous system synapses and organelles. This technology will be available to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth and at the Hormel Institute. Researchers: Jeffrey Salisbury, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Claudia Neuhauser, Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

Antibody phage display for monoclonal antibodies.
Antibodies are identified and used not only for potential treatments for various conditions, but also for everything from laboratory reagents to nuclear imaging probes. Antibody phage display is a technique that will help scientists identify antibodies when other methods fail. The processes and support team will be available to researchers at both Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota through the Minnesota Antibody Network. Researchers: Aaron LeBeau, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; John Cheville, M.D., Mayo Clinic.

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is a collaboration of the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the state of Minnesota. To learn more about the Partnership, visit


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Nov 18, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic: Reversing physician burnout, using nine strategies to promote well-being

Stressed young female medical doctor sitting at the desk in office.ROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic have been documenting the rise and costs of physician burnout for more than a decade. Now, they are proposing nine strategies that health care organizations can use to reverse the trend and limit the risk to patients and their medical staff. Tait Shanafelt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Program on Physician Well-being, and John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic, offer the nine-point plan in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Research has shown that more than half of U.S. physicians are experiencing symptoms of burnout, and the rate is increasing,” says Dr. Shanafelt, first author of the article. “Unfortunately, many organizations see burnout as a personal problem to be addressed by the individual physician. It is clear, however, that burnout is a system issue, and addressing it is the shared responsibility of both the individuals and health care organizations.”

“The reasons we need to reverse this trend in physician burnout are compelling,” says Dr. Noseworthy. “Professional exhaustion and disillusionment can adversely impact clinical performance, and result in medical errors and decreased quality of care. This situation hurts patients and providers, and we need to fix it.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

The organizational impact of physician burnout can include lower productivity, staff turnover, decreased quality of care and malpractice suits. For the individual physician, burnout can lead to broken relationships, alcoholism and suicide.

The nine strategies suggest organizations should begin to resolve burnout by:

  1. Acknowledging and assessing the problem
  2. Recognizing the behaviors of leaders that can increase or decrease burnout
  3. Using a systems approach to develop targeted interventions to improve efficiency and reduce clerical work
  4. Cultivating community at work
  5. Using rewards and incentives strategically
  6. Assessing whether the organizations actions are aligned with the stated values and mission
  7. Implementing organizational practices and policies that promote flexibility and work-life balance
  8. Providing resources to help individuals promote self-care
  9. Supporting organizational science (Study the factors in your own institution that contribute to the problem, and invest in solutions.)

The article details how these strategies have been applied at Mayo Clinic and their effect on physician burnout. The authors conclude that “deliberate, sustained and comprehensive efforts by the organization to reduce burnout and promote engagement can make a difference”.

The article ends with a clear challenge that there is much work to be done to address the problem of physician burnout nationally.

The work was funded by the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Well-Being.


About Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Proceedings is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education. It publishes submissions from authors worldwide. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000. Articles are available at

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Oct 5, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic discovers protein doubles down on cancer

Digital illustration DNA structureROCHESTER, Minn. — The human cell cycle, the normal process of replication by which cells divide, separate and become two, is also a juncture where many mistakes can happen. Most of those errors are automatically repaired by the safeguards in our DNA. But when that repair system breaks down, cancer can result from the resulting mutations. Now comes the discovery of how part of that protection system works.

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that the protein that regulates the cell cycle — cyclin A2 — does double duty. In addition to its role as an RNA binding protein to coordinate DNA duplication during cell division, researchers have discovered that it also plays a role in establishing the machinery that fixes cancer-causing DNA replication errors. The researchers’ article, which appears in the latest issue of Science, identifies cyclin A2 is a first example of a protein that binds to RNA to control the production of a single protein, Mre11, a key DNA repair protein.

“Cyclins constitute a family of proteins that all living organisms possess to orchestrate ordered progression through the cell division cycle,” explains Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., senior author of the study. “Most family members were discovered 25-30 years ago and thought to uniquely function in the sequential activation of specific cyclin-dependent kinases at different stages of the cell cycle clock. Disruption or deregulation of the cell cycle is a common cause in the development of cancer, so researchers have been interested in understanding this process in the greatest detail in the hope to use this knowledge to develop new medicines to treat human cancers.”

Investigation of cyclin A2’s functions in living organisms posed a unique technical hurdle for the team because of the crucial importance of this protein for survival of cells engaging in cell division. The normal approach for this kind of study would involve making genetically altered “knockout” mice with their cyclin A2 removed, so that the effects of this omission could be detected and linked to the protein’s function. But, in this case, because the function of the protein is essential for cell division, none of the mice survived; the “knockout” was lethal.

To overcome this setback, the team prepared a second set of genetically modified mice, but controlling the modification so that enough of the protein was available to keep them alive. Although the mutant mice looked normal, they were prone to cancer. Experiments designed to decipher the underlying causes revealed that cyclin A2 harbors a unique functional unit that allows it to bind to Mre11 gene transcripts to usher them to ribosomes, which are particles specialized in translating transcripts into proteins.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

“This new cyclin A2 property is essential to make sufficient Mre11 protein at the start of DNA duplication to repair cancer-causing errors that inevitably happen during this process,” says Arun Kanakkanthara, Ph.D., the lead author of the study. “The expectation is that cyclin A2 is a founding member of a new family of RNA binding proteins whose own expression is tightly coordinated with another protein through protein translation mechanism.”

This research, which involved 17 Mayo Clinic researchers from three departments, was supported by three grants from the National Institutes of Health: CA126828, CA168709 and CA166025.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Oct 4, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Physician burnout: Mayo researchers identify effective interventions

Stressed young female medical doctor sitting at the desk in office.ROCHESTER, Minn. — After highlighting that more than half of American physicians are experiencing burnout, Mayo Clinic researchers now have identified some solutions that are being used to prevent or lessen burnout around the world. The findings show that some of the approaches being used are effective and making a difference. The article appears in the journal The Lancet.

The researchers identified more than 2,600 research articles that dealt with outcomes and approaches to physician burnout. They found 15 randomized clinical trials and 37 cohort studies that collectively included more than 3,600 physicians.

“We conducted an extensive search and compared the effectiveness of interventions across a range of burnout outcomes,” says lead author Colin West, M.D., Ph.D. “It’s clear that both individual strategies and structured organizational approaches are effective in achieving clinically meaningful reductions in burnout.”

Effective individual-focused strategies include mindfulness training, stress management training and small group sessions. Organizational changes that seem to work include limiting physician duty hours and a range of care delivery process changes in hospitals and clinics.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284 5005,

Mayo Clinic has been using some of these approaches with noticeable effects, including group interaction sessions in which the institution provides a designated lunch gathering monthly for breakout groups of physicians, so they can talk confidentially about their experiences with each other according to a structured curriculum.

The investigators say more research is needed as most published data come from observational studies and that validation of many of the solutions still is needed. In addition, the effect of combinations of interventions and their long-term benefits should be the focus of additional study.

Co-authors of the article are Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., Tait Shanafelt, M.D. and Patricia Erwin, M.L.S. The research was supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute and Mayo Clinic.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or


davidbehar responded Nov 17, 2016 · View

Your article is PC and silly. Here, real help for doctors facing burnout. 1) It is done intentionally by lawyers in government, and by rich insurance executives, to save money. Each physician generates $millions in costs per year. What the lawyers do not understand is that the return on these costs is 10 times more. Doctors are being played and demoralized on purpose. 2) Your duty is to your patients. Those obstructing care are mortal [...]

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Sep 14, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Discovery’s Edge: Storytelling on research discoveries at Mayo Clinic

Discovery's Edge displayed on digital devicesROCHESTER, Minn. – For story ideas, contacts, expert interviews, background. Republication with permission.

Healing open wounds with regenerative medicine
Imagine a condition bad enough to eat a hole through your body that cannot be surgically repaired. That’s how bad Crohn’s disease can be. Now, a team of Mayo Clinic researchers has found a way to repair that hole using a person’s own stem cells.

Jimmy Carter is not alone: Immunotherapy is helping cure cancer patients
Immunotherapy treatments are proving successful for thousands of patients suffering from melanoma and other cancers. Where did this “new” therapy stem from? In part from early research at Mayo Clinic that is only now starting to make a huge difference.

Last–moment, lifesaving technology: Aortic aneurysms
The aneurysm could burst at any time. The patient was told to settle his affairs, that nothing could be done.  Then, a second chance: a research procedure, an experimental stent and a willingness to try everything possible.

Finding answers for bipolar disorder from a biobank
After years of trial-and-error medication, patients with bipolar disorder are being treated with drugs that are more likely to match their genetic makeup. In turn, genetic research findings based on biobanked samples are helping psychiatrists link genes to conditions to find better therapies.

Mayo’s education dean wants you to know this isn’t your father’s medical school
The waterfront is changing when it comes to medical education, graduate school and residency programs. Mayo’s new dean of education is also a researcher, and his plans reflect a strong exposure to medical science at all levels.

Video: Regenerative medicine is permeating medical specialties
This video shows how Mayo’s regenerative medicine scientists are translating stem cell techniques and discoveries into applications that are helping patients  now. Not science fiction, not science, but medicine.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

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Aug 29, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Tight Focus on Blood Sugar Narrows Options for Diabetes Complications

Measuring blood sugar with a blood glucose meter for diabetesROCHESTER, Minn. – The glucocentric focus on lowering blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes may have short-circuited development of new diabetes therapies, according to a new paper published by Mayo Clinic researchers in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The authors, Victor Montori, M.D., and Rene Rodriguez-Gutierrez, M.D., of the Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit at Mayo Clinic, systematically examined journal articles and clinical practice diabetes guidelines published in the last decade (2006 and 2015) for statements related to value of tight glycemic control in the prevention of chronic diabetic complications. The authors then compared them with the body of evidence accrued in the past two decades regarding the effect of tight glycemic control on patient-important micro- and macrovascular outcomes.

The study, funded by Mayo Clinic’s Clinical and Translational Science Award, found that tight glycemic control (maintenance of a hemoglobin A1c value lower than 7 percent) had no statistically significant impact on patient-important microvascular outcomes (end-stage renal disease/dialysis, renal death, blindness and clinical neuropathy). In contrast, all practice guidelines and a majority of published statements (around 80 percent) support tight glycemic control to prevent those complications.

For patient-important macrovascular (cardiovascular) complications, the evidence shows that tight glycemic control reduces the risk of nonfatal heart attack by around 15 percent, but has no impact in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality. Also, the risk of stroke did not seem to be lowered by tight glycemic control and the effect on amputation was imprecise. During the studied time period, statements about tight glycemic control to prevent these complications shifted from largely supportive (85 percent) to skeptical (20-30 percent) after the publication of a single study (the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial) in 2008 that is not consistent with the results of other studies (body of evidence).

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

Overall, the authors suggest that the widespread consensus for tight glycemic control should be re-examined.

Drs. Rodriguez-Gutierrez and Montori write that they hope this paper will spur research into new therapeutic approaches to prevent diabetes complications. They write, “Consider the list of evidence-based therapies recommended … to prevent retinopathy or neuropathy beyond glycemic control: none.”

Instead of focusing on tight glycemic control, the authors suggest glycemic moderation may help advance the individualization of diabetes care, using shared decision making to select glycemic targets and treatments.

The authors point out that patients with Type 2 diabetes seem to live longer and with fewer complications, at least in some parts of the world, and suggest a careful and thoughtful recalibration of treatment could promote patient trust and provide new answers to this pandemic problem.

The publication of this paper was supported by Mayo Clinic’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science through a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Aug 5, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Tips on Avoiding Illness at Major Events (like the Olympics) and Projections for a Zika Vaccine

a mosquito is biting a person's skin

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Zika isn’t the only health concern now that the games have begun in Rio. Massive crowds from around the globe will be at the Olympics, and that means a world-class array of germs will mix with them. Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert Gregory Poland, M.D., offers several tips for avoiding illness when you are around lots of people, whether at the Olympics, a professional sports event, convention, concert or other major event.

"The big ones that we're worried about in terms of the Olympics are things that are currently epidemic in certain parts of the world, including the U.S. Those would include pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella says the director of the Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic. Flu may also still be a possibility.

Dr. Poland can also offer insight into Zika, the risk of contracting it, the mosquitos that carry it and what’s being done to find a vaccine.

For media interviews with Dr. Poland, who is based in Florida, contact the Mayo Clinic News Bureau at 507-284-5005 or email news


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Jul 27, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases Shows Promise in Pigs

illustration of gene sequenceROCHESTER, Minn. ─ With a shortage of donor organs, Mayo Clinic is exploring therapeutic strategies for patients with debilitating liver diseases. Researchers are testing a new approach to correct metabolic disorders without a whole organ transplant. Their findings appear in Science Translational Medicine.

The medical research study tested gene therapy in pigs suffering from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1), a metabolic disorder caused by an enzyme deficiency. The common treatment for this disease is a drug regimen, but it is ineffective in many patients, and the long-term safety of using the drug is unknown.

“Liver transplant is the only curable option in treating HT1, which is characterized by progressive liver disease,” says Raymond Hickey, Ph.D., a Mayo surgical researcher. “Using this novel approach to treat HT1 and other metabolic diseases will allow patients to avoid a liver transplant and save more lives.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

Through gene therapy, the corrected liver cells are transplanted into the diseased liver, resulting in enzyme production. “This treatment is a new form of cell transplantation that utilizes the patient’s own cells, so it does not require immunosuppressive drugs and, thus, avoids the side effects of those drugs,” says Scott Nyberg, M.D., Ph.D., a liver transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic. This therapy resulted in the improvement of pigs with HT1 and the prevention of liver failure. The use of nuclear imaging enables the researchers to monitor expansion of the corrected cells through a noninvasive imaging process.

“Pediatric patients suffering from inborn errors of metabolism of the liver will benefit most from this therapy,” says Dr. Hickey. “More than one-fifth of all pediatric liver transplants are a result of metabolic disease.”

The study also examines the use of lentiviral vectors for cell delivery in treating liver diseases, a tool traditionally used in treating blood disorders.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, an American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, a Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine Career Development Award, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Marriott Foundation, the Darwin Deason Family Foundation, and Mayo Clinic.

Co-authors of the paper are:

  • Shennen A. Mao, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Jaime Glorioso, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Faysal Elgilani, M.B.B.S., Mayo Clinic
  • Bruce Amiot, Mayo Clinic
  • Harvey Chen, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Piero Rinaldo, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Ronald Marler, D.V.M., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Huailei Jiang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Timothy R. DeGrado, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Michael K. O’Connor, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Brittany L. Freeman, Mayo Clinic
  • Samar H. Ibrahim, M.B., Ch.B., Mayo Clinic
  • Kah Whye Peng, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Yasuhiro Ikeda, D.V.M., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Joseph B. Lillegard, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Stephen J. Russell, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Scott L. Nyberg, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Lukkana Suksanpaisan, Imanis Life Sciences
  • Cary O. Harding, M.D., Oregon Health & Science University
  • Markus Grompe, M.D., Oregon Health & Science University
  • Chak S. Ho, M.D., Gift of Life Michigan

Dr. Nyberg grants NIH RO1 DK106667.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Jun 21, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic Introduces Precision Medicine in Psychiatry

lab vials being processed against blue backgroundROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic is highlighting the potential merits of using precision medicine in prescribing antidepressants. Details appear in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Eleven percent of Americans 12 years and older have been prescribed antidepressant medication, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2005–2008. These medications are regularly prescribed in psychiatric, pediatric, adolescent, family and general medicine clinics nationwide.

Mark A. Frye, M.D., department chair of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic, recognizes there is increasing interest in individualizing treatment selection for more than 20 treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for major depressive disorder. By doing so, physicians may be able to provide greater precision to pharmacotherapy recommendations for individual patients beyond the large-scale, clinical trials evidence base.

“The medical community continues to recognize that genetic variation may contribute to disparate patient reactions to drugs,” Dr. Frye says. “For example, some may experience adverse side effects, while others respond positively to the same drug.” He says the different responses to pharmacotherapy provide a unique opportunity to develop pharmacogenetic guidelines for psychiatry.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

These comments are reflected in an evidence review of other studies published in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. This review focuses on two major genetic tests that screen for pharmacokinetic metabolizing genes CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 — enzymes that metabolize selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).

Dr. Frye explains that using the electronic health record along with genetic testing results has the potential to further enable prescribers the ability to individualize treatment for their patients taking antidepressants.

Other authors of this study, all of Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Malik Nassan, M.B.B.S.
  • Wayne T. Nicholson, M.D., Pharm.D.
  • Michelle A. Elliott, M.D.
  • Carolyn R. Rohrer Vitek
  • John L. Black, M.D.

The researchers’ potential competing interests are outlined in the article.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Jun 2, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic Uncovers How One Gene, Protein Suppresses Tumor Formation

woman working in labROCHESTER, Minn. — Pten (short for phosphatase and tensin homolog) is a tumor suppressor that is defective in about 20-25 percent of all patients with cancers. Mayo Clinic researchers now have discovered that Pten safeguards against tumor formation by keeping chromosome numbers intact when a cell splits into two daughter cells. In this study, the last three amino acids of the Pten protein, which are often missing in human cancers, were found to be critical for forming an intact mitotic spindle, a structure required for accurate chromosome segregation. The findings appear in the online issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Pten is the most prominent human tumor suppressor after p53. The current thinking is that Pten’s phosphatase activity counteracts PI3 kinase activity. Loss of this function causes tumor formation through uncontrolled stimulation of AKT, an enzyme that stimulates cell proliferation and survival and is often hyperactive in human tumors. For years, there has been speculation that Pten defects found in cancer patients also lead to the reshuffling of the cell’s chromosomes, but it was unknown how that would happen and how it propels cancer growth. The Mayo study now provides definitive answers to these long-standing questions.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

“We found that Pten localizes to mitotic spindle poles to recruit the ’motor’ protein EG5, which moves the poles apart to form a perfectly symmetrical bipolar spindle that accurately separates duplicated chromosomes,” says senior author Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic. The research team further found that the recruitment process involves Dlg1, an Eg5-binding protein that docks to the last three Pten amino acids at spindles poles. Importantly, mutant mice lacking these amino acids have abnormal chromosome numbers and form tumors at high frequency. The researchers say these new findings predict that a large proportion of Pten tumors will be hypersensitive to Eg5-inhibiting drugs, providing new opportunities for targeted cancer therapy.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (CA168709). Co-authors – all of Mayo Clinic – are:

  • Janine Van Ree, Ph.D.
  • Hyun-Ja Nam, Ph.D.
  • Karthikbabu Jeganathan, Ph.D.
  • Arun Kanakkanthara, Ph.D.

Dr. van Deursen, who is the Vita Valley Professor of Cell Senescence at Mayo Clinic, holds a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine and Biochemistry. He is chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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May 12, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist Honored for Obesity Research

obesity map

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The World Obesity Federation, representing scientific and medical obesity research globally, has named Michael Jensen, M.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and obesity researcher, as the winner of its 2016 clinical research award. Dr. Jensen, who is internationally regarded for his research into how the body metabolizes food and creates fat, accepted the Willendorf Award for Scientific Excellence during recent International Conference on Obesity in Vancouver, Canada.

“This is a great honor given how many of my heroes in the field of obesity research have received this award. I’m also gratified because it recognizes decades of work and comes from one’s peers,” says Dr. Jensen.

Dr. Jensen also presented his keynote address for the conference, “Regional Fat Distribution, Fatty Acid Metabolism and Adipocytes.”

bio picture of Dr. Michael Jensen

Dr. Michael Jensen

Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

Dr. Jensen's research on Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus involves measuring free fatty acid release to relate these factors to organ and tissue function. He also measures the uptake of fatty acids into muscle, liver and adipose tissue to determine whether preferential uptake of fat can predispose people to obesity or a specific body fat distribution. The cellular fates of fatty acids and the cell processes responsible for these steps can be determined, and this information can be used to help patients. The long-term goal of Dr. Jensen's research is to understand the regulation of body fat and body fat distribution in hopes of developing medical therapies and other approaches to improve the health of humans affected by obesity or excess fat.

According to the World Obesity Federation, the Willendorf Award was introduced in 1980. This award recognizes outstanding medical scientists who have demonstrated substantial clinically oriented contributions in research related to obesity.

The World Obesity Federation represents professional members of the scientific, medical and research communities from more than 50 regional and national obesity associations. Its goal is to create a global community of organizations dedicated to solving the problems of obesity.


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or


#Mayo Clinic; #Minnesota news release; #news release; #medical research; #awards ; #Dr Michael Jensen; #endocrinology ; #Obesity


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May 10, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Discovery’s Edge Launches Online Spanish Edition

Screen grab of Spanish Discovery's Edge on laptop

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Discovery’s Edge, Mayo Clinic’s research magazine, is now available online in Spanish at

Each year, Mayo Clinic cares for more than 1 million patients from the U.S. and more than 143 countries worldwide, including many Spanish speakers. To better serve these patients and everyone interested in Mayo’s research, Mayo Clinic has launched its new Discovery’s Edge online version in Spanish.

“We’re very excited to offer our stories of discovery to this expanded audience,” says Bob Nellis, executive editor of Discovery’s Edge. “We also hope news of these scientific discoveries will be shared widely by Spanish-language media..”

Discovery’s Edge offers insight into the process and progress of medical science discoveries at the world’s-largest group medical practice. The magazine’s mission is to tell the stories of scientists and physician-researchers who are improving treatment and care for patients every day through interdisciplinary studies in all areas of medicine.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

The magazine’s newest online presence was launched in January 2016, greatly expanding the number of news and feature articles, as well as adding videos and animations. Mayo Clinic has more than 1,000 medical researchers and an annual budget of more than $660 million dedicated to making discoveries that will help meet unmet patient needs. Mayo investigators share their discoveries and other scientific knowledge by publishing more than 7,000 journal articles annually and presenting at medical conferences worldwide. Discovery’s Edge conveys those findings to the public in terms they can understand, with visuals that captivate.

The news media may republish articles with permission.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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May 5, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Research Suggests Diabetes Drug Acts Differently from Previous Theories

a bottle of pills on its side with medicine tablets spilling outROCHESTER, Minn. — A Mayo Clinic study suggests laboratory findings do not tell the whole story of how the diabetes drug metformin works to limit the level of glucose in the blood. The researchers found that metformin does not limit the action of the hormone glucagon, specifically glucagon-stimulated glucose production from the liver. The article appears in the journal Cell Reports.

“In our clinical trial, metformin treatment appeared to trigger a compensatory increase of glucagon that may mitigate the ability of metformin to lower glucose production in prediabetic individuals and prevent the likelihood of hypoglycemia,” explained K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior author of the article.

Metformin's action is generally related to the release of glucose from the liver. The liver releases glucose when prodded by a pancreatic hormone called glucagon. Glucagon is released when blood glucose levels drop. Metformin is thought to limit the action of glucagon, the substances used to make it, or affect the level of enzymes used to make it.

Yet that’s not what Dr. Nair and colleagues found in their double-blind study of nine prediabetic individuals.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

The researchers found that for the six individuals with fasting (basal) glucagon levels of less than 150 picograms/milliliter, metformin treatment decreased the liver’s production of glucose as expected. But for the three individuals with basal levels greater than 150 pg/mL, levels of glucose produced by the liver actually increased after metformin treatment.

This contradictory finding may be due to both the study design and participants. Unlike previous preclinical metformin research, this study used human participants and metformin at therapeutic doses. Studies in animal or cellular models have examined higher doses, or used drugs in the same class as metformin that are not approved for use in humans. Also, unlike many other human studies based on participants with type 2 diabetes, the current report is based on prediabetic individuals.

More research on a larger and more diverse group of patients is needed before the findings can be widely applied.

Dr. Nair’s co-authors include: Adam Konopka, Ph.D.; Raul Ruiz Esponda, M.D.; Matthew Robinson, Ph.D.; Matthew Johnson, Ph.D.; Ian Lanza, Ph.D.; and Rickey Carter, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic; Michele Schiavon, Ph.D.; and Claudio Cobelli, Ph.D., of the University of Padova; and Fredric Wondisford, M.D., of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and The Minnesota Nutrition and Obesity Center funded this study.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or


nennasays responded May 5, 2016 · View

I was prescribed metaformin, when my blood glucose level was just under diabetic levels. I took it for several weeks, and almost immediately began having severe pains in my left arm, radiating up through my shoulder, neck and jaw. Severe pain that would wake me up out of a dead sleep, night after night. After having an EKG and finding nothing, I stopped taking the med. Within a week, felt better. Doctor insisted I start [...]

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Apr 1, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Professional Burnout Associated With Physicians Limiting Practice

Close up of doctor's medical Stethoscope, laid face-down on table, processed in blue huesROCHESTER, Minn. — At a time when the nation is facing projected physician shortages, a Mayo Clinic study shows an association between burnout and declining professional satisfaction with physicians reducing the number of hours they devote to clinical practice. The findings appear in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“A dramatic increase in burnout has occurred among U.S. physicians over the last several years,” says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo Clinic physician and lead author of the study. “Using independent payroll records, this study objectively found that the measured level of burnout today predicts whether physicians will cut their work hours over the next 12-24 months.”

Researchers from Mayo Clinic and Sirota Survey Intelligence linked data from validated surveys assessing burnout and work satisfaction from physicians at Mayo Clinic to seven years of administrative and payroll records for doctors at the institution. Although none of the Mayo Clinic investigators had access to any identifying information, the Sirota team was able to pair the payroll data Mayo provided to survey responses. The investigators found that for every point increase in the seven-point scale measuring emotional exhaustion (a domain of burnout), there was a 40 percent greater likelihood a physician would cut back his or her work hours over the next 24 months. A similar relationship was observed for every one-point decrease in the five-point scale measuring professional satisfaction.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,

The longitudinal study used survey data from 1,856 physicians responding in 2011 and 2,132 physicians responding in 2013. The study included physicians on payroll at the Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Results were adjusted for geographic site, age, sex and specialty.

“There is a societal imperative to provide physicians a better option than choosing between reducing clinical work or burning out,” Dr. Shanafelt says. “Physicians reducing their professional effort due to burnout could exacerbate the already substantial U.S. physician workforce shortage as well as impact continuity of care for patients.”

He says the link between burnout and cutting clinical work is particularly concerning for several primary care disciplines, such as family medicine and general internal medicine. These specialties already have the largest projected physician shortages and have some of the highest rates of burnout.

The researchers say more studies must be done to determine if the workforce reduction due to burnout is causal and to see if changes in the practice environment can reverse this trend.

In addition to Dr. Shanafelt, Mayo Clinic co-authors include:

  • Michelle Mungo
  • Jaime Schmitgen
  • Sharonne Hayes, M.D.
  • Jeff Sloan, Ph.D.
  • Stephen Swensen, M.D.
  • Steven Buskirk, M.D.

From Sirota:

  • Kristen Storz
  • David Reeves, Ph.D.

The study was funded by Mayo Clinic.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or


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Mar 14, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Medical Students, Burnout and Alcohol

Close up of doctor's medical Stethoscope, laid face-down on table, processed in blue huesROCHESTER, Minn. — Medical students are more prone to alcohol abuse than their peers not attending medical school, especially if they are young, single and under a high debt load. That’s according to a study on medical student burnout by researchers at Mayo Clinic. The findings appear in the journal Academic Medicine.

“Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern,” says Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., Mayo Clinic internist and senior author of the paper. “We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse.”

Mayo researchers surveyed 12,500 medical students, and one-third of those students responded. Approximately 1,400 of that subgroup experienced clinical alcohol abuse or dependence. Nationally, that translates to about one-third of those responding, compared to only 16 percent of peers not in medical school, and double the rate of alcohol abuse or dependence of surgeons, U.S. physicians or the general public based on earlier research by this team.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, email:

Burnout factors such as emotional exhaustion or feelings of depersonalization were all highly associated with alcohol abuse or dependence among the medical students. Three other factors were independently associated:

  • A younger age than most peers in medical school
  • Being unmarried
  • Amount of educational debt

No statistical difference was found between differing years of medical school or between men and women.

Researchers say the average cost of medical school from 1995 to 2014 increased by 209 percent at private colleges and 286 percent at public schools. They say physicians graduating with a medical degree in 2014 had an average of $180,000 in educational debt.

“In our paper we recommend wellness curricula for medical schools, identifying and remediating factors within the learning environment contributing to stress, and removal of barriers to mental health services,” says first author and Mayo Medical School student Eric Jackson.

Other co-authors include Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Omar Hasan, M.B.B.S., and Daniel Satele, of Mayo Clinic. The research was funded by the American Medical Association and Mayo Clinic.


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Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Mar 2, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Mayo Clinic Researchers Show how to Turn Around Science Education

Close-up of zebra fishROCHESTER, Minn. — Over seven years ago, Mayo Clinic researchers began collecting scientific data on a different kind of experiment: How well K-8 school students might improve in science if offered a hands-on, real-time research curriculum. Their findings, published online in the journal Palgrave Communications, demonstrate that their Integrated Science Education Outreach (InSciEd Out) program is not only scalable and transferrable across the country and the world, but that it can be used to help reform science education in primary and secondary schools. The work also challenges efforts in education reform to employ the same statistical scrutiny found in the review process of other areas of science.

Instead of sticking with a traditional textbook curriculum in Lincoln K-8 school in Rochester, Minn., the Mayo team collaborated with the school system to introduce a research laboratory approach using live zebrafish as a tool and focal point. The data show that first school became the top science middle school in Minnesota. Since then, the approach has been replicated in multiple grade levels in schools in other systems and states, and has been exported in a partnership with India.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email:

“These analyses provide evidence that scientifically rigorous evaluation demonstrating relevant program efficacy is indeed achievable in education science,” says Joanna Yang, a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical and Translational Sciences at Mayo Graduate School and first author of the article.

The study follows the growth of 4 cohorts of participating students assessed for proficiency in science in grades 5 and 8. Outcomes from students employing InSciEd Out curriculum are compared to cohorts at the district and state level following traditional curriculum. The InSciEd Out students show identity of scientists through a more than 8-fold increase in science fair participation. They show entry into the scientific pipeline through a doubling in their choice to enter advanced science classes when transitioning to high school. Each of these changes is shown in the manuscript to be sustained for 6 years in the science/education partnership.

InSciEd Out launched as a collaboration among Mayo Clinic, Winona State University-Rochester, and Rochester Public Schools in 2009. It has since grown to include collaborations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Florida, Illinois, India, and Ghana. Founding partners Chris Pierret, Ph.D., Stephen Ekker, Ph.D., and James Sonju (principal at Lincoln K-8) realized that students were hungry for science and capable of much more than was currently offered. A pilot program grew into a transferrable multi-year curriculum that led to students publishing as co-authors on research papers and to a visit to the White House where the students and their mentors were praised by President Obama.

“We consider this paper to be a call to apply the same scientific rigor and clinical trial temperament (that we use in science) to education efforts,” says corresponding author Dr. Chris Pierret. “Statistical significance of findings is and should remain the gold standard for describing success.”

Co-authors include Thomas LaBounty of LaBounty Consulting; Woodbury, Minn.; and Stephen Ekker, Ph.D. of Mayo Clinic. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; the National Science Foundation; and Mayo Clinic.


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Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Feb 23, 2016 by @bobnellis · View  

Minnesota Partnership Announces Seven New Research Awards

Lab worker with test tubes doing research
ROCHESTER, Minn. — New treatments and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s and cancer dominate the 2016 research awards recently announced by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. The state-supported funding was distributed among seven research teams, based on competitive applications. Each team represents researchers from Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

“These are seed grants, aimed at providing innovative researchers the means to get a scientific project off the ground and on the way toward a possible new treatment,” says Eric Wieben, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic, program co-director for the Minnesota Partnership.

“I’m pleased that we are entering our second decade of scientific progress with so many strong projects that could potentially change how medicine is practiced,” says Tucker LeBien, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, program co-director.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email:

The seven grants totaled just over $6.5 million.

Characterization of Anti-Tumor Immune Responses following Oncolytic therapy in Spontaneous Cancer
In this study researchers will use engineered Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) as a powerful new immunotherapy for osteosarcoma. The study patients will be dogs already stricken with osteosarcoma that, like humans, often die due to progressive disease and metastasis. Researchers will carry out an in-depth analysis to understand how and when VSV therapy activates the immune system to destroy naturally occurring canine osteosarcoma as a way to prevent or delay disease progression.

Jaime Modiano, D.V.M, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Stephen Russell, M.D., Mayo Clinic

Bioengineered Oral Vaccines against MRSA “Superbug”
This project will develop vaccines against the antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA. If this project is successful, the bacteria will be rendered sensitive to the antibiotics that currently do not work, including penicillin and its derivatives. These vaccines also hold promises to eliminate these dangerous infectious agents before surgery or implantation of artificial joints or cardiac pacemakers to reduce the risk of untreatable infections.

Michael Barry, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Chun Wang, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota Research Partnership Logo

Evaluating Novel Therapeutic Strategies for Treating Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy is a late onset degenerative eye disease. Corneal transplantation is the only available treatment option for this disease. With the identification of the underlying disease mechanism, researchers are now in a position to better understand the disease process and will be testing therapeutic strategies to identify drug classes that will slow disease progression.

Michael Fautsch, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Harry Orr, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Smart Fabric for Cardio-Performance Enhancement
Compression garments have widespread clinical and commercial applications, but garments on the market today suffer from several design flaws. This research team is developing a smart garment with integrated active materials with the ability to squeeze on command, combining the controllability and ease of donning an inflatable sleeve with the low mass/profile of an elastic stocking. Applications range from vascular disease therapies to sports medicine.

Lucy Dunne, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Bruce Johnson, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic

Regenerating Myelin in Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a complicated progressive disease that affects almost one in every thousand people around the world. These researchers will be using newly patented DNA aptamers that help mice to regenerate material damaged by animal MS to study disease progression. Aptamers are specialized molecules that bind to pre-selected targets. Researchers will test how best to assemble these aptamers for treatment, and whether a simpler method to ease the drug manufacturing process will be effective. These studies with mice will set the stage for moving this important new MS therapy toward future studies with humans.

Jim Maher, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Sang-Hyun Oh, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Molecular Mechanism of Novel Small Molecule Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease

This project hopes to establish more efficient treatment regimens for memory loss. It will take a novel therapy (CP2/C458) and determine if it can slow or stop actual loss of nerve cells caused by the toxic proteins that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Michael Lee, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Eugenia Trushina, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic

Early Diagnosis of Brain Insulin Resistance in Alzheimer’s disease
It is shown that in type II diabetes and similarly, in Alzheimer’s disease, blood vessels in the brain are damaged and insulin needed for proper brain function cannot be delivered to the brain. Researchers in this project will work on developing insulin as an imaging marker for the early detection of the blood vessels’ inability to transport insulin into the brain. This will allow health professionals to screen individuals at risk for dementia before the memory changes become evident.

Karunya Kandimalla, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Val Lowe, M.D., Mayo Clinic

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the state of Minnesota. To learn more about the Partnership, visit


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or


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