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Kevin Punsky @kevinpunsky

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Mayo Clinic

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United States

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Activity by Kevin Punsky @kevinpunsky

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Tue, Mar 7 at 9:57am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic continues expansive growth in construction, staff hires

Mayo Clinic Campus FloridaJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Over the past two years Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus has erupted with substantial growth in major construction projects and new staff to serve a fast-growing patient population, especially those who require complex medical care. During this time, Mayo Clinic has invested more than $300 million in major construction projects and added 900 new staff as it advances its status as the premier destination medical center in the Southeast. Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus now has about 5,900 employees and contributes roughly $2 billion to the Florida economy.

As part of this economic boom, Mayo Clinic today announced another major construction project on its Florida campus – an investment of $70.5 million to add four floors for a total of five to Mayo Building South and remodel existing space in the Davis Building. The project will add 80,000 new square feet and renovate 40,000 existing square feet. With completion expected in 2019, the building expansion will provide:

  • Space for cardiovascular, cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery program areas
  • Expansion of the spine center and pain rehabilitation programs
  • Additional surgical rooms
  • Space and equipment to establish a molecular imaging center for radiology
  • Laboratory expansion

“To solidify our position as the premier destination medical center in the Southeast, we plan to recruit the brightest people, significantly expand our space, and continuously improve our technology to enhance our ability to deliver the highest quality of care for our patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.

A $25 million gift from the family of Dan and Brenda Davis of Jacksonville helped spur the next phase of the expansion. The family’s gift will support the Mayo Building South construction and the recruitment of world-renowned physicians and researchers.

“We are extremely grateful to the family of Dan and Brenda Davis for their generous and unyielding support for Mayo Clinic,” Dr. Farrugia says. “The history of Mayo Clinic in Florida is enshrined and made possible by the incredible generosity of generations of the Davis families.”

Over the next five years, Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus will add about 300,000 square feet of space and hundreds of additional new staff, including more than 100 physicians.

In preparation for this new expansive growth, Mayo Clinic is working with the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and Florida Department of Transportation on improvements for traffic around the campus.

“We are seeing tremendous growth in recruiting outstanding academic medical personnel and adding much needed space for our staff to work and care for patients,” Dr. Farrugia says. “As we grow, we will double our capacity to care for patients of all ages. That’s why it is important for patients to know that 85 percent of all commercial insurance plans are accepted at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.”

Mayo Clinic already has begun constructing an innovative destination medical building that will provide integrated services needed for complex cancer, as well as neurologic and neurosurgical care. Initially rising four stories, the 150,000-square-foot building has the potential for 11 more stories. The building is expected to be completed in 2018.

Another major construction project underway on Mayo’s Florida campus is a state-of-the-art positron emission tomography (PET) radiochemistry facility. The facility, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will house a radiochemistry laboratory and a cyclotron – a particle accelerator important in the production of radiopharmaceuticals. The facility will produce Mayo-developed Choline C-11 used in certain PET scans. The scans are the latest advancements in imaging tests that light up prostate cancer wherever it is found and provide targets for therapy. Locating recurrent prostate cancer sooner may enable Mayo physicians to target the cancer more quickly, before it spreads further. This allows for more effective treatment. The cyclotron also will produce other radiopharmaceuticals to image a variety of organs and develop the next generation of imaging techniques.

Also, Mayo Clinic and United Therapeutics Corporation are collaborating to construct a three-story, 75,000 square-feet building that houses technology that will increase the volume of lungs for transplantation significantly by preserving selected marginal donor lungs and making them viable for transplantation. Then, the lungs will be made available to patients at Mayo Clinic and other transplant centers throughout the U.S. The organizations also will work together on regenerative medicine research — a game-changing area of medicine with the potential to heal damaged tissues and organs. The building also will house a biotechnology center aimed at attracting new companies to Northeast Florida. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

“For health care to reach its full potential, we have to discover, translate and apply new solutions,” Dr. Farrugia says. “We must bring together talented and curious minds from health care and all kinds of industries to nurture an environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.”

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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

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Thu, Mar 2 at 12:32pm EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic earns top honor for chest pain care

closeup of heart monitor with the text word alertJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Chest Pain Certification, which designates high-quality, safe and effective care. This new certification is a hallmark of excellence and signifies a well-run disease management program.

This certification is one of the few that has been awarded in the state of Florida. It is also the second designator of quality that Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus has earned for its treatment of chest pain. Since 2010, Mayo Clinic hospital in Florida has been accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers for its care of chest pain patients.

“This certification is recognition of the emphasis we place on quality care for our patients,” says cardiologist Steven Ung, M.D., medical director of the chest pain program at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “On presentation to our Emergency Department, the chest pain patient enters into an episode of care within the Mayo Clinic model of integrated group practice,” Dr. Ung says.

In the Emergency Department, a clinical pathway directs the patient to the appropriate team of specialists. This may include interventional cardiologists, general cardiologists, hospitalists or other medical specialists. All are focused on diagnosing and treating the cause of the patient’s chest pain.

“Chest pain can mean many things: the first-time symptoms of heart disease (an acute coronary syndrome), a heart attack requiring an emergency intervention to open the occluded heart artery, a viral illness, indigestion or other problems,” Dr. Ung says. “The certifications we have received recognize our ongoing commitment to high quality care and excellent outcomes for patients with chest pain and all heart conditions.”

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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

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Tue, Feb 28 at 4:01pm EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Stem cell science in space

NASA astronaut working on Dr. Zubair's stem cell research on space station

The SpaceX rocket carrying samples of donated adult stem cells from a research laboratory at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Feb. 19. In the picture above, astronaut Peggy Whitson is aboard the International Space Station conducting one of the steps in the stem cell research.

The biological cells come from the laboratory of Dr. Abba Zubair, who specializes in cellular treatments for disease and regenerative medicine. According to Dr. Zubair, Whitson is performing the trypsinization step to harvest mesenchymal stem cells (1 of 3 types of stem cells sent to space) from a biocell culture system. Trypsinization is a process which breaks down proteins, enabling the cells to adhere to the vessel in which they're being cultured. Dr. Zubair and his team hope to find out how the stem cells hold up in space. All stem cells will be cryopreserved and travel back to the laboratory in one to two months for further analysis.
SpaceX CRS-10 mission blast off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center with Dr. Zubair's stem cell research

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida says,“This space cargo carries important material for research that could hold the key for developing future treatments for stroke ─ a debilitating health issue. Research such as this accelerates scientific discoveries into breakthrough therapies and critical advances in patient care.”

Watch: Stem cells head to space.

Journalists: A broadcast-quality video pkg (3:02) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Watch: Dr. Zubair as discusses his stem cell research.


Journalists: Broadcast quality sound bites with Dr. Zubair are in the downloads.

Read related news releases:

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kevinpunsky

Tue, Feb 28 at 10:29am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic publishes genetic screen for Alzheimer’s in African-Americans

woman caregiver with older African-American woman diversity Alzheimer'sJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Mayo Clinic research team has found a new gene mutation that may be a risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans. This is the first time this gene has been implicated in the development of this disease in this population. Alzheimer’s disease has been understudied in African-Americans, despite the fact that the disease is twice as prevalent in African-Americans, compared to Caucasians and other ethnic groups.

This likely pathogenic variant may be unique to the African-American population, the researchers say. It has not been found in Caucasians with Alzheimer’s disease or in gene repositories from more than 60,000 subjects who are not African-Americans.

The findings, published in the February issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, represent the first comprehensive genetic screening in African-Americans for potentially pathogenic variants in known Alzheimer’s genes.

Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s research seeks to paint a more complete genetic picture of genes that confer risk for Alzheimer’s and genes that protect against that risk in different populations, says neurogeneticist Minerva Carrasquillo, Ph.D., who is the co-author.

“Currently, at least 5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and the rate of this devastating dementia is expected to rise dramatically in the coming decades,” says Dr. Carrasquillo. “By uncovering genetic factors that modify the risk of Alzheimer's disease, there is the potential to identify druggable gene targets and genetic variants that could be used for early disease detection and prevention.”

The research team’s approach is to look at genetic factors known to be involved in early-onset Alzheimer’s disease — dementia that occurs before 65 and sometimes in people as young as 30-40 years of age. Up to 5 percent of Alzheimer’s disease has this early form, and a substantial number of these cases have been shown to be caused by genetic irregularities.

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

The investigators hypothesized that early-onset Alzheimer’s disease genes may also be involved in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans, although a comprehensive screen has not been done previously.

In this study, researchers looked for genetic mutations in three genes known to contribute to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The three genes ─ APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 ─ are involved in producing and cutting apart proteins as part of normal brain function. But mutations in these genes can result in increasing the amount of the amyloid beta peptide (Abeta) that leads to the amyloid plaques that build up in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. The rise in brain plaque quantity mirrors progression of Alzheimer’s dementia.

While 200 early-onset Alzheimer’s disease mutations in these three genes have been identified in Caucasians with Alzheimer’s disease, only three have been found in African-Americans with Alzheimer’s disease — one APP mutation in a single family and two PSEN1 mutations. Of the two PSEN1 mutations, one was within a single African-American family, and one was in a female early-onset Alzheimer’s disease patient. Before this study, no PSEN2 mutations had been found in African-American patients.

In this study, the team sequenced the genome of 238 African-Americans participants. This group was divided between 131 patients with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and 107 control participants. Investigators found six variants within the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease genes in the patients, but not in the control group. Researchers then looked for these six gene variants in a second independent group of 300 African-Americans participants (67 with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and 233 controls) and found that four of the variants were in the control group. That means two variants ─ one in a shorter form of PSEN1 and one in PSEN2 ─ may pose risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans.

PSEN1 variants had been found before in African-Americans with the disease, but this discovery of a likely pathogenic PSEN2 gene variant is new in this population, says Dr. Carrasquillo. “And as far as we know, it has not been found in other populations with late onset Alzheimer’s disease.”

“This study opens the door to further analysis of this gene variant ─ both in African-Americans with Alzheimer’s and in other populations,” she says.

“These findings, which require replication, represent an important step in expanding genetic research in Alzheimer’s disease to minority populations,” says the study’s senior investigator, neurogeneticist and neurologist Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D.

The first author of this study is Aurelie N’songo, Ph.D., who obtained her doctoral degree in Dr. Ertekin-Taner’s laboratory and is no longer at Mayo Clinic.

Other co-authors are:

  • Xue Wang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Thuy T. Nguyen, Mayo Clinic
  • Yan Asmann, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Steven Younkin, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Mariet Allen Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Neill Graff-Radford, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Ranjan Duara, M.D., Mount Sinai Medical Center
  • Maria Greig Custo, M.D., Mount Sinai Medical Center

This work was supported by the Florida Department of Health, the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program (AZ03), the Mentored New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity Alzheimer’s Association grant, Mayo Clinic Office of Health Disparities Research, Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P50 AG0016574), National Institute on Aging (RF1 G051504 and U01 AG046139), and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01 NS080820).

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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Sun, Feb 19 at 9:44am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Blast off: Stem cells from Mayo Clinic physician’s lab launch into space

NASA lift off with stem cells researchJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Consider it one physician’s giant leap for mankind. Today, the latest rocket launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, included a payload of several samples of donated adult stem cells from a research laboratory at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. The launch by SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, is part of NASA’s commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station.

The biological cells come from the laboratory of Abba Zubair, M.D., Ph.D., who says he has eagerly awaited the launch following several delays over the past couple of years. Dr. Zubair, who specializes in cellular treatments for disease and regenerative medicine, hopes to find out how the stem cells hold up in space. He says he’s eager to know whether these special cells, which are derived from the body’s bone marrow, can be more quickly mass-produced in microgravity and used to treat strokes. Microgravity is the condition in which people or objects appear to be weightless. The effects of microgravity can be seen when astronauts and objects float in space. Microgravity refers to the condition where gravity seems to be very small. 

“At Mayo Clinic, research drives everything we do for patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “This space cargo carries important material for research that could hold the key for developing future treatments for stroke ─ a debilitating health issue. Research such as this accelerates scientific discoveries into breakthrough therapies and critical advances in patient care.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-662-2629, punsky.kevin@mayo.edu

Journalists, sound bites with Dr. Zubair are available in the downloads below.

Dr. Zubair says he has dreamed of this moment all his life, with a passion for space that goes back to his childhood in the northern city of Kano, Nigeria. There, he says he came across a book about the first moon launch and became instantly enthralled. In high school, he recruited other physics students to build a model rocket prototype using corrugated metal and rudimentary materials from the local blacksmith. When it came time to apply for college, however, the school adviser steered him from becoming an astronaut. “He said it may be a long time before Nigeria sends rockets and astronauts into space, so I should consider something more practical,” Dr. Zubair recalls.

With the goal of being useful to patients and helping cure disease, he headed to medical school in Nigeria. His training took him to the University of Sheffield, in Sheffield, England; the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as he specialized in bone marrow transplants and stem cell research. He came to Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus to treat cancer patients and others whose conditions could be helped by regenerative medicine ─ all the while running a research lab that studies adult stem cells. Four years ago, under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Zubair applied for research proposals that involved medicine and outer space.

Dr. Zubair came across a request for research proposals that involved medicine and outer space four years ago. His mother had died of stroke in 1997, and he had been thinking about stem cells as a treatment for stroke-related brain injury. Collaborating with Mayo Clinic neurologists James Meschia, M.D., and William D. Freeman, M.D., he studied mouse models of stroke.

“Stem cells are known to reduce inflammation,” he explains. “We’ve shown that an infusion of stem cells at the site of stroke improves the inflammation and also secretes factors for the regeneration of neurons and blood vessels.”

One big problem is that it may take as many as 200 million cells to treat a human being, and developing vast numbers of stem cells on Earth can take weeks.

“It’s further complicated, because some patients are unable to donate cells for themselves, and, sometimes, there aren’t enough donors who are a good match, as sometimes occurs for minorities,” he says.

Dr. Abba Zubair talking with stem cell research colleagues in the lab looking at a computer monitor

Studies in simulators on Earth have shown that adult stem cells — the undifferentiated cells that exist in the body to replace damaged or dying cells — reproduce quickly and reliably in microgravity. While it’s not known why microgravity works better than a petri dish, some researchers speculate the conditions may be similar to the floating environment of developing cells in the body. With funding from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a nonprofit organization, Dr. Zubair hopes to find that, in space, stem cells can be reproduced safely in large quantities, providing new opportunities for patients.

He’ll gather real-time information about the cells as astronauts conduct experiments measuring molecular changes.

“We’ll be looking to see if there are genes activated in microgravity and analyzing the stages of the cell cycle,” he says.

“We may discover proteins or compounds that are produced that we can synthesize on Earth to encourage stem cell growth without having to go to microgravity.” Over the last three years of planning, he says he’s been tickled to learn about the challenges of space-based research, such as the need for techniques to handle fluids that don’t mix in microgravity.

Most importantly, experiments will continue after the expanded stem cells return to Earth.

“We’ll study them to make sure they’re normal, functional and safe for patients with stroke,” he says. “My work in regenerative medicine has always been intentionally translational ─ not just to study what the cells do and what can be done with them but to make a difference for patients. That’s what makes our project unique.”

For the launch, Mayo Clinic is collaborating with the Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST) in Cape Canaveral, and BioServe Space Technologies in Boulder, Colorado. CAST supported Dr. Zubair's research by providing strategic mission planning, proposal development, spaceflight technical support and served as an interface between the research team and various space activities and agencies. BioServe provided space flight hardware, on orbit research protocol and scheduling interface.

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About the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine

The Center for Regenerative Medicine builds on Mayo Clinic's extensive research resources and clinical practice, spanning the spectrum of discovery science, translational research and clinical application. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine.

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 mayoclinic.org or newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

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Wed, Feb 1 at 9:59am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic to test vaccine designed to provide immune response against early breast lesions

a graphic illustrating the concept of breast cancer genomicsJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Only about 35 percent of precancerous breast lesions morph into cancer if untreated, but physicians cannot identify which lesions are potentially dangerous. So all women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ undergo traditional therapy of surgery and possibly hormonal therapy and radiation. Now, Mayo Clinic researchers are about to test a vaccine that they hope will replace standard therapies and prevent recurrence for some, if not all, these patients.

Keith Knutson, Ph.D., director of the Discovery and Translation Labs Cancer Research Program at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, has received a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a phase II clinical trial that will test a vaccine designed to establish lifelong immunity against development of these precancerous lesions.

If ultimately successful, the vaccine could substitute for current ductal carcinoma in situ therapy and may become part of a routine immunization schedule in healthy women.

“We ultimately want to eliminate ductal carcinoma in situ, which means preventing disfiguring surgeries and toxic therapies in the 60,000 women who receive this diagnosis every year in the U.S.,” says Dr. Knutson, who designed the vaccine.

Eliminating ductal carcinoma in situ also would reduce the overall breast cancer burden significantly, he adds. “Ductal carcinoma in situ is a significant health problem, accounting for about 20 percent of U.S. cases of breast cancer.”

Beginning in 2017, Dr. Knutson and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic campuses in Florida and Rochester, Minnesota, will test the vaccine in 40-45 patients diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. These patients will be treated with the vaccine first. Six weeks later, they will receive surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy) and other standard therapy. During the initial six weeks, physicians will monitor patients to see if ductal carcinoma in situ lesions reacted to the vaccine.

“The hope is that they disappear,” says Dr. Knutson. If successful, advanced clinical trials could be designed to test the possibility that vaccination may be a “safe alternative to conventional and problematic” treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ, he says.

The new grant is the second that Dr. Knutson and his team have received from the U.S. Department of Defense to test a breast cancer vaccine. In 2015, they received a five-year $13.3 million U.S. Department of Defense Breakthrough Award to fund a phase II clinical trial testing a different breast cancer vaccine that Dr. Knutson had developed. That vaccine is designed to prevent the recurrence of triple-negative breast cancer, which is a subset of breast cancer for which there are no targeted therapies. A phase I trial of the vaccine found it to be safe.

The vaccine to be tested on ductal carcinoma in situ also has been tested in a phase I clinical study. This vaccine is targeted against human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER-2), an oncogene known to play a role in the development and progression of an aggressive subtype of breast cancer known as HER-2 positive.

Dr. Knutson suspects that excess HER-2 proteins are expressed in all subtypes of breast cancer, including the most common one: estrogen-positive breast cancer. He says that the phase I study of the HER-2 vaccine elicited an immune response in all tested individuals. The vaccine is designed to stimulate production of T cells that target initial development of ductal carcinoma in situ.

“We don’t know if the vaccine works just on HER-2 breast cancer,” he says. “We believe that once an immune response is generated against the ductal carcinoma in situ lesion, it doesn’t matter what subtype of cancer the lesion may become.”

Other key Mayo Clinic investigators are:

Part of the funding also will go to TapImmune, Inc., a biotech company in Jacksonville, to produce the clinical-grade vaccine. TapImmune, Inc., has licensed the new HER-2 vaccine from Mayo Clinic.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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Tue, Jan 17 at 10:01am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic awarded $1.6 million in Alzheimer’s disease research state grants

Alzheimer disease, neuron network with amyloid plaquesJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida were awarded eight grants from the Florida Department of Health to investigate the prevention or cure of Alzheimer’s disease. These awards followed a peer-reviewed and competitive grant application process, where the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board reviewed applications and selected 27 studies statewide.

“Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is home to international leaders in neuroscience research who are focused on addressing the unmet needs of patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “We integrate basic and clinical research and immediately translate our findings into better patient care. We very much appreciate the state’s investment in finding solutions for Alzheimer’s disease.”

The eight projects will cover a wide scope of research in Alzheimer’s that affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. and is ranked as the sixth leading cause of death. Several of the projects will take steps to tease apart the intricate genetic pathways of the disease. Two projects address developing methods of diagnosing Alzheimer’s and understanding disease risk in African-American patients. One project explores a new avenue of treatment, enhancing the ability of Alzheimer’s drugs to enter the brain.

“The number of projects chosen at Mayo Clinic, and the total funding of $1.6 million, demonstrates the quality of science and research leadership at Mayo,” says Tushar Patel, MB, Ch.B., dean for Research on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “Excitingly, nearly all of the awardees are young investigators who are thinking creatively and outside the box as they establish careers in the study of this very complex disease.”

The funding for the awards is provided by the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program, an initiative passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

Journalists, sound bites with neurologist Dr. Nilufer Ertekin-Taner are available in the downloads below.

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

“We’re pleased by this ongoing recognition of our long-standing work and involvement in the state of Florida and for the continued investment in our goal, which is to translate research findings into treatments that can change lives,” Dr. Farrugia says.

More than 19 percent of Florida’s population is 65 and older ─ the highest percentage in the nation, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 population estimates. Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is positioned with world-renowned experts; resources, such as a 5,000-specimen brain bank for studying neurodegenerative disorders; and collaborations with clinical colleagues, making Mayo’s Department of Neuroscience a world leader in its field. In addition, Mayo Clinic is 1 of 2 two medical institutions in Florida and 1 of just 3 in the Southeast that are funded by the National Institute on Aging as Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Tue, Jan 10 at 10:00am EDT by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic researchers find protein that weakens severe sepsis immune reaction

medical or chemistry science background with a microscopeJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — No effective therapy exists today for sepsis, an inflammatory storm that afflicts about 3 million Americans a year ― killing up to half. But now, investigators at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida have identified a key molecule that, in mice, helps protect the body’s central nervous system against the runaway inflammation.

Based on that discovery, published in Molecular Psychiatry, Mayo scientists are now on the hunt for an agent that pumps up that protective response against sepsis in humans and determine downstream pathways that can be augmented to prevent further central nervous system damage.

“Sepsis most often develops in the youngest and the oldest of us, when the immune system can respond abnormally,” says the study’s senior investigator, John Fryer, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “By discovering a protein that keeps the central nervous system inflammatory response from sepsis in check, we now have a path to finding or developing a targeted agent that may substantially lower the high toll experienced every year from sepsis.”

A bacterial infection that sets off an overactive immune response is often the reason that sepsis develops, Dr. Fryer says. And while up to half of affected patients survive, many experience acute delirium and have substantially increased risk of long-lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, he says.

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

“Few people realize how prevalent sepsis is and what a devastating immune reaction it causes. Our goal is to help the immune system react properly, and our discovery offers us an exciting prospective avenue for therapy,” says Dr. Fryer, who is also assistant dean of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Scientists who have studied the protein identified in the study — lipocalin-2 — may be surprised to learn that it is not the villain some investigators believe it to be, he adds. “There has been the suggestion that lipocalin-2 is a neurotoxic molecule. We find it, in the right context, not to be not toxic at all, but highly protective.”

To conduct the study, Mayo Clinic investigators used a mouse model of sepsis to look at cytokines present in the central nervous system during sepsis. Cytokines are small proteins important for cell signaling.

Of more than 100 different cytokines, they found that lipocalin-2 was the most substantially elevated in the central nervous system as sepsis developed. To test the role of this molecule in the disease, researchers used a mouse without lipocalin-2 (a mouse in which the gene that produces lipocalin-2 is deleted) and found significantly higher levels of pro-inflammatory proteins and significantly worsening behavioral side effects. Investigators then validated their finding that lipocalin-2 was key to mediating inflammation in sepsis through a genetic analysis that revealed a number of anti-inflammatory pathways that were being controlled by this molecule.

There are two potential clinical uses of this discovery, according to Dr. Fryer. One is that lipocalin-2 could be a marker for sepsis — meaning that it may be possible to test for lipocalin-2 in patients to see whether sepsis is developing. The other use is as an agent that boosts lipocalin-2 levels or augments its function in the brain may prevent central nervous system damage and cognitive impairments that occur after sepsis-like conditions, he says.

“We are combing the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) clinical collection of currently approved drugs to see if any work like lipocalin-2, and we are also screening drug libraries of novel compounds,” Dr. Fryer says. “We are also trying to understand the detailed molecular mechanism underlying the protective effect of  lipocalin-2 in this context.”

Study co-authors – all of Mayo Clinic – are:

  • Silvia S. Kang, Ph.D.
  • Yingxue Ren, Ph.D.
  • Chia-Chen Liu, Ph.D.
  • Aishe Kurti
  • Kelsey Baker
  • Guojun Bu, Ph.D.
  • Yan Asmann, Ph.D.

The study is funded by the Mayo Foundation, GHR Foundation, Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine, Gerstner Family Career Development Award, The Robert and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program Fellowship, Mayo Clinic Program on Synaptic Biology and Memory, Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program of Florida Department of Health (6AZ06), and National Institutes of Health grants NS094137, MH103632, AG027924, AG035355, NS074969, AG047327, and AG049992.

In addition, Dr. Fryer expresses particular appreciation for the generous philanthropic support from Gary and Marilyn Gilmer, “that had been dedicated to neurological complications following septic injury and came at the very time that we had been thinking of how we would like to pursue this project but had little funding to do so.”

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Dec 6, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic finds surprising results on first-ever test of stem cell therapy to treat arthritis

medical illustration of stem cells

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida have conducted the world’s first prospective, blinded and placebo-controlled clinical study to test the benefit of using bone marrow stem cells, a regenerative medicine therapy, to reduce arthritic pain and disability in knees.

The researchers say such testing is needed because there are at least 600 stem cell clinics in the U.S. offering one form of stem cell therapy or another to an estimated 100,000-plus patients, who pay thousands of dollars, out of pocket, for the treatment, which has not undergone demanding clinical study.

The findings in The American Journal of Sports Medicine include an anomalous finding — patients not only had a dramatic improvement in the knee that received stem cells, but also in their other knee, which also had painful arthritis but received only a saline control injection. Each of the 25 patients enrolled in the study had two bad knees, but did not know which knee received the stem cells.

Given that the stem cell-treated knee was no better than the control-treated knee — both were significantly better than before the study began — the researchers say the stem cells’ effectiveness remains somewhat uninterpretable. They are only able to conclude the procedure is safe to undergo as an option for knee pain, but they cannot yet recommend it for routine arthritis care.

“Our findings can be interpreted in ways that we now need to test — one of which is that bone marrow stem cell injection in one ailing knee can relieve pain in both affected knees in a systemic or whole-body fashion,” says the study’s lead author, Shane Shapiro, M.D., a Mayo Clinic orthopedic physician.

Journalists, sound bites with Dr. Shane Shapiro are available in the downloads below.

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

“One hypothesis is that the stem cells we tested can home to areas of injury where they are needed, which makes sense, given that stem cells injected intravenously in cancer treatments end up in the patients’ bone marrow where they need to go,” he says. “This is just a theory that can explain our results, so it needs further testing.”

Another explanation is that merely injecting any substance into a knee offered relief from pain.

“That could be, but both this idea and the notion that a placebo effect could be involved would be surprising, given that some patients are still doing very well years after their study treatment ended,” says Dr. Shapiro.

He adds that these findings are important because while use of a patient’s own stem cells for regenerative therapy is extraordinarily popular, the treatments may be untested and are often poorly regulated.

Stem cell clinics often offer expensive treatments for conditions that range from multiple sclerosis, lung and heart disease, to cosmetic treatments, such as facelifts. None of these techniques have been studied because clinics maintain that use of a patient’s own cells is not a drug.

But, depending on how they are processed and used, stem cells can, in fact, be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as biological products or drugs requiring rigorous safety and efficacy approval processes. In early September, the FDA held scientific meetings to clarify how to regulate such practices.

Mayo Clinic researchers developed their study with FDA approval.

“We feel that if we are going to offer any stem cell procedures to our patients, the science needs to be worked out,” Dr. Shapiro says.

The study was conducted in Mayo’s Human Cell Therapy Lab. Researchers extracted 60 to 90 milliliters of bone marrow from each patient, then filtered it, removed all blood cells, and concentrated it down to 4 to 5 milliliters. The solution, which contained tens of thousands of stem cells, was injected into a patient’s knee using ultrasound-guided imagery.

“We actually counted all of the stem cells with markers that are accepted by the FDA, and we made sure they would be able to survive inside the patient,” Dr. Shapiro says. “Counting is expensive. Most clinics just draw the cells from bone marrow or fat and inject them back into the patient without checking for stem cells, hoping that patients get better,” he says.

Dr. Shapiro and his colleagues are currently designing new studies that will test whether the stem cells home to distant areas of injuries, as well as exploring other implications suggested in their findings.

Study investigators include Mayo Clinic in Florida senior author Mary L. O’Connor, M.D., Shari E. Kazmerchak, Michael G. Heckman, and Abba C. Zubair, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. O’Connor is now at Yale University.

Funding for this study was from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Nov 29, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic finds myocarditis caused by infection on rise globally

closeup of heart monitor with the text word alertJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Myocarditis, an assortment of heart disorders often caused by infection and inflammation, is known to be difficult to diagnose and treat. But the picture of who is affected is becoming a little clearer. Men may be as much as twice as likely as women to develop severe and possibly fatal reactions. And the risk of sudden cardiovascular death in the young is relatively high. Myocarditis accounts for about 5 percent of sudden cardiovascular infant deaths and up to 20 percent of sudden cardiovascular death in adolescents. And the chronic disease is responsible for up to 45 percent of heart transplants in the U.S.

This assessment of the global state of myocarditis, published Nov. 29 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, points to the need for advanced therapies and prevention strategies, says Leslie Cooper Jr., M.D., cardiologist and chair, Cardiovascular Department, on Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida.

Along with Dr. Cooper, who is an internationally recognized expert on myocarditis, researchers from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland contributed to the study. Dr. Cooper also authored the myocarditis section for the 2015 Global Burden of Disease Study, which was published Oct. 7 in the Lancet, and the American Heart Association scientific statement on specific dilated cardiomyopathies, which was published Nov. 3 in Circulation. Cardiomyopathies, which often feature enlarged hearts and heart failure, can result from myocarditis.

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

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

Dr. Cooper reported in the Lancet global disease study that cases of myocarditis have increased from about 1.5 million annually to 2.2 million cases from 2013 to 2015. Although the exact incidence of myocarditis in the U.S. has not been reported, it is estimated that several thousand patients — most of them 40 or younger — are diagnosed.

In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, he found that the rate of myocarditis and associated death is much higher in men than in women. This is likely due to testosterone-driven inflammation.

Early diagnosis is key to preventing long-term heart damage from myocarditis, Dr. Cooper says. If chronic disease results, scarring in the heart can promote heart failure. Although standard therapies are used to control symptoms of heart failure, new investigational therapies soon may enter clinical trials, and new management of the disorder is being discussed, Dr. Cooper says.

“We are on a quest for advances in treating this disorder,” he says.

Myocarditis is a difficult disorder to diagnose and treat, Dr. Cooper says. The most common cause of myocarditis is an infection ― usually viral ― that can damage heart muscle chronically or acutely in otherwise healthy people, Dr. Cooper says. Infections that affect the heart differ around the globe. In the U.S., a dozen common pathogens can be responsible. An example is coxsackie virus, which up to 70 percent of U.S. residents have been exposed to by the time they are 30. “But only 1 to 2 percent of people with acute coxsackie virus infection develop cardiac symptoms,” Dr. Cooper says.

Myocarditis has other causes, including autoimmune diseases, environmental toxins, and adverse reactions to medications. The most clinically important symptoms of the disorder are shortness of breath, which can indicate the start of heart failure, and chest pain ― a sign of heart inflammation, he says.

To prevent the disorder from worsening in children, Dr. Cooper suggests that aerobic exercise be limited for several weeks after a suspected coxsackie virus infection, and “if a child or adolescent develops breathing difficulties or chest pain with evidence of myocarditis, my recommendation is to avoid competitive sports for at least three months,” Dr. Cooper says.

A cardiac MRI within two weeks of symptom onset is 80 percent effective in diagnosing cardiomyopathy, but diagnosis is difficult at more chronic stages.

Most people (60-70 percent) with acute cardiomyopathy from myocarditis get better. About 10-15 percent develops irreversible chronic disease due to scars in the heart created by the infection, Dr. Cooper says. These patients are treated with standard heart failure therapies, but 20 percent die during the decade following infection due to heart failure.

“I see patients everyday with this disorder,” Dr. Cooper says. “We are on the cusp of trying more tailored treatment, and it can’t come soon enough.”

There was no funding support or relationships with industry for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, which Dr. Cooper led.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Nov 2, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Single mutation in recessive gene increases risk of earlier onset Parkinson’s disease

Abstract DNA, futuristic molecule, cell illustration.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A collaboration of 32 researchers in seven countries, led by scientists at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, has found a genetic mutation they say confers a risk for development of Parkinson’s disease earlier than usual.

The major study, published in Brain, is important because the risk comes from a single mutation in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) gene. Investigators had believed that this rare form of Parkinson’s developed only when a person inherited mutations in both PINK1 alleles (one from each parent).

“We know that if you have mutations in both copies of PINK1, age at onset of Parkinson’s will usually be younger than 45. This study showed that if a person inherited a specific mutation in just one PINK1 gene, the disease could develop at about age 55 or so. By contrast, the most common, nonfamilial forms of Parkinson’s develop at about age 65,” says the study’s senior investigator, Wolfdieter Springer, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.

Genetic studies had suggested that a single mutated PINK1 allele might confer an outsized risk of the developing the disease. It took a “very effective synergetic” effort of clinical, structural and cell biologists, along with geneticists and data from thousands of affected patients, to show how it led to earlier disease development, Dr. Springer says.

“It took a real international collaboration to solve this puzzle,” he says.

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

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

PINK1 works with another gene, PARKIN, to ensure that mitochondria in neurons remain healthy. The mitochondria are the cell’s power plants, and many brain disorders, including Parkinson’s, are characterized by disruption in energy production in neurons.

When functioning, proteins from both genes work together to ensure the safe disposal of damaged mitochondria from the cell. They do this by producing a protein marker that labels damaged mitochondria that need to be destroyed. This procedure is part of an elaborate “quality control” system for mitochondria.

“The mitochondria are like a cell’s nuclear power plant that provides fantastic energy when they are running well,” Dr. Springer says. “But, when something goes wrong, the result can be catastrophic for the brain cell, causing neurodegeneration.”

Mutations in both PINK1 alleles (or copies) or in both PARKIN alleles mean that the PINK1-PARKIN pathway cannot function, and damaged mitochondria accumulate in a neuron, leading to its death.

This study showed that a specific mutation (p.G411S) in one copy of PINK1  substantially impairs this same pathway by inhibiting the protein produced from other healthy PINK1 allele. “This rare mutation has an outsized effect, and the remaining levels of functional PINK1 protein are not enough to cope with damaged mitochondria,” Dr. Springer says.

The findings could have implications for other neurodegenerative disorders, many of which feature mitochondrial damage, he says.

The study had started with genetic findings when one of the lead authors, Andreas Puschmann, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Neurology, Skåne University Hospital, Sweden, was a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic. Additional structural and cell biological data then provided the sought-after mechanism to explain the observed phenomenon.

In addition from scientists in the U.S. and Sweden, researchers from Poland, Norway, Ireland, Ukraine and Australia participated in the study.

Dr. Springer is partially supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [R01 #NS085070 ], the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, Center for Biomedical Discovery, Marriott Family Foundation, and a Gerstner Family Career Development Award. Dr. Puschmann is partially supported by the Swedish Parkinson Academy, the Swedish Parkinson Foundation (Parkinsonfonden), governmental funding for clinical research within the Swedish National Health Services, and the Bundy Academy (Lund, Sweden).

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Oct 11, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Trove of Alzheimer’s patients’ molecular, clinical data available

Alzheimer disease, neuron network with amyloid plaquesJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In what the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has described as a pioneering effort, a research team at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has made public a treasure trove of data aimed at accelerating development of therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

The data, a description of which is published in Nature Scientific Data, “implicates a number of genes that are likely to be involved in disease pathways, providing researchers with many testable hypotheses,” says the study’s senior investigator, neurologist and neuroscientist Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D.

The study details whole-genome genotype and gene expression patterns on 2,655 individuals, including people with dementia and those without it. The data includes more than 842 million datapoints and clinical information that will enable researchers around the world to study what is different about Alzheimer’s brains and what can be done to prevent, treat or stop the disease, Dr. Ertekin-Taner says.

“By making available these very large, high-quality molecular and clinical data sets, we are inviting other investigators to mine the information and test their notions of how best to develop treatment,” she says. “Release of this data represents a novel type of sharing paradigm.”

Publication of the data and its description in the supporting study are, in part, a product of a 2013 $7.5 million grant from the NIH aimed at bringing together large data and expertise from different groups to understand Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in a way that advances prevention and treatment.

“The complexity of the human brain and the processes involved in development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease have been major barriers to drug development,” says Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D., program director in the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. “It is key to make these invaluable datasets widely accessible and usable by the larger research community to speed up the generation of knowledge needed for successful therapy development.”

Journalists, sound bites with Dr. Mariet Allen are available in the downloads below.

This multiteam study is led by:

  • Ertekin-Taner, Mayo Clinic
  • Steven G. Younkin, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Todd E. Golde, M.D., Ph.D., University of Florida
  • Nathan Price, Ph.D., Institute for Systems Biology

They are all co-authors on the study, along with 26 researchers from these institutions and Sage Bionetworks in Seattle. The Nature Scientific Data is the first paper from this multicenter group. This team is one of six other multi-center teams participating in the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP-AD) Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation Project, a large-scale team science effort applying open science principles to discover the next generation therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

The study’s lead researchers, Mariet Allen, Ph.D., and Minerva M. Carrasquillo, Ph.D. —both assistant professors of neuroscience on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus — are responsible for heading analyses of the two key kinds of data included in this trove, says Dr. Ertekin-Taner.

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

Dr. Carrasquillo is the first author of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to examine genetic variation in different individuals to see if these variations were associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The data from this study, which was previously released and published in Nature Genetics in 2009, also are included in this study.

“All the key GWAS data from our study for Alzheimer’s is available, which will enable other research groups to ask questions we might not be asking and to use the genomic data to validate findings on specific genes,” she says.

Dr. Allen leads studies that look at the correlation of gene expression levels with genetic variants within the whole genome — a study known as an eGWAS. Protein-coding genes first express molecules known as messenger RNAs, and an eGWAS looks at the quantity of mRNAs that is linked to different genetic variants. The premise is that genetic variants that influence the expression of mRNAs encode critical molecular members of disease pathways, which also influence disease risk.

In 2012, Dr. Allen, working with Dr. Ertekin-Taner, published a large eGWAS on Alzheimer’s disease and made the data public. The researchers compared results of the GWAS and the eGWAS looking to see if “any gene variant that has an effect on Alzheimer’s has that effect through differences in gene expression,” says Dr. Allen. They also looked to see when mRNA expression is not altered and if a gene variant linked to the disease exerts influence on expression of nearby genes.

Investigators found that there is significant overlap among disease GWAS and eGWAS variants, especially in brain regions that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and that many risk variants for these disorders influence brain levels of genes nearby.

The new release of data includes these and additional expression data generated from the 2013 grant.

All of the associations and the raw data are published on the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP-AD) Knowledge Portal and available to qualified researchers.

Other study co-authors are:

  • Fanggeng Zou, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Curtis S. Younkin, Mayo Clinic
  • Jeremy D. Burgess, Mayo Clinic
  • Julia Crook, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Xue Wang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Daniel Serie, Mayo Clinic
  • Thuy T. Nguyen, Mayo Clinic
  • Sarah Lincoln, Mayo Clinic
  • Kimberly Malphrus, Mayo Clinic
  • Gina Bisceglio, Mayo Clinic
  • Ma Li, M.S., Mayo Clinic
  • Yan Asmann, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Neill R. Graff-Radford, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Dennis W. Dickson, M.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Cory Funk, Ph.D., Institute for Systems Biology
  • Benjamin D. Heavner, Ph.D., Institute for Systems Biology
  • James A. Eddy, Ph.D., Institute for Systems Biology
  • Hongdong Li, Ph.D., Institute for Systems Biology
  • High-Seng Chai, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Chen Wang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • Ben Logsdon, Ph.D., Sage Bionetworks
  • Mette A. Peters, Ph.D., Sage Bionetworks
  • Kristen K. Dang, Ph.D., Sage Bionetworks
  • Lara M. Mangravite, Ph.D., Sage Bionetworks

Tissue donation and samples from Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and the Sun Health Research Institute Brain and Body Donation Program of Sun City, Arizona, were used in this study.

Data collection on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus was funded by National Institute on Aging grants P50 AG016574, R01 AG032990, U01 AG046139, R01 AG018023, U01 AG006576, U01 AG006786, R01 AG025711, R01 AG017216, R01 AG003949, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant R01 NS080820, CurePSP Foundation, and support from Mayo Foundation.

Allen, M et al. Human whole genome genotype and transcriptome data for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Sci. Data 3:160089 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.89 (2016).

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Aug 2, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic Ranked No. 1 in Florida by U.S. News & World Report

Scenic view of Mayo Clinic Florida campus
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic is ranked No. 1 in Florida and the Jacksonville metro area in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of top hospitals published online today.

In addition to the Florida ranking, Mayo Clinic’s Rochester, Minnesota, campus was named the best hospital in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. The Rochester campus also took the No. 1 spot in Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona was ranked No. 1 in that state and in the Phoenix metro area.

“The rankings reflect the dedication of our exceptional staff in providing outstanding care and service to our patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida. “Mayo Clinic is a special place because of our employees, and I congratulate each of them on this honor.”

Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus ranked nationally among the top 50 hospitals in eight specialties:

Mayo Clinic in Florida was highly ranked above the national average in Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Nephrology and Urology.

Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus provides diagnosis, medical treatment, surgery and care for more than 105,000 patients each year in 40 specialty areas. Mayo has 5,531 employees in Florida and contributes more than $1.6 billion to the Florida economy.

Mayo Clinic is celebrating 30 years in Florida. In 1986, Mayo Clinic brought its team approach to caring from Rochester to the Southeast when it opened a clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the nearly 400-acre campus offers a medical destination for patients from all 50 states and 140 countries.

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

Journalists: B-roll of the Florida campus and sound bites from Dr. Farrugia are in the downloads.

 

“The No. 1 ranking is outstanding news for Jacksonville and Northeast Florida,” says Dr. Farrugia. “Mayo Clinic’s 150-year legacy in medicine includes 30 years in Florida. We are proud that Mayo is the medical destination for people from throughout our state and the Southeast who come to us with the most complex medical conditions.”

Many outside agencies rate quality in health care, and Mayo Clinic is the only health care organization that consistently ranks among the top providers nationwide, regardless of the quality measure used.

This is the 27th year that U.S. News & World Report conducted a rankings list, which encompasses 16 medical specialties. U.S. News analyzes data for 5,000 medical centers to determine the rankings, which were announced today on the U.S. News website. In the 2016 rankings, Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus tied for No. 1 in the state.

Additional Resources

Arizona News Release: Mayo Clinic Ranked No. 1 in Phoenix and Arizona by U.S. News & World Report

Minnesota News Release: Mayo Clinic Ranked No. 1 Hospital Nationwide by U.S. News & World Report

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Jul 25, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic Scientist Receives Pre-eminent International Award for Alzheimer’s Research

Guojun Bu, Ph.D. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Guojun Bu, Ph.D., a neuroscientist on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, will receive the 2016 MetLife Foundation Major Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s Disease ─ one of the most prestigious awards given annually to the top scientist in this field of study. The award was presented to Dr. Bu today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Bu and his medical research lab have produced more than 220 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited more than 10,000 times. Colleagues and other Alzheimer’s researchers say his team’s contributions to Alzheimer’s research rank among the most significant in the field.

“We are very proud of Dr. Bu and his outstanding research team,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida. “At Mayo Clinic, we are grounded in research, so that we can continually advance the science of healing. Our world-class physicians and scientists strive every day to work toward solving the most complex and deadly health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”

Dr. Bu, the Mary Lowell Leary Professor at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, was given the award for his breakthrough discoveries focused on the cell surface receptor called LRP1. Dr. Bu researched the receptor’s role in liver function and discovered that one of its binding partners is apolipoprotein E, or ApoE. When it was discovered that carriers of a gene for the protein called ApoE4 were at significantly greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s in later life, Dr. Bu studied the biology of ApoE and its receptors as they relate to the pathology of Alzheimer’s and related dementia.

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

“It is a tremendous honor, and I’m truly grateful to receive the MetLife Award,” says Dr. Bu. “This recognition also affirms the tremendous work by my lab colleagues who have worked diligently with me over the years to find new ways to understand and treat this deadly disease.”

Mayo Clinic is a world leader in research to advance the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Research at Mayo Clinic produces discoveries that translate to new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for some of the most complex neurological diseases. Prior recipients of the MetLife Award on staff at Mayo Clinic are Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.; Clifford R. Jack Jr., M.D.; Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.; and Steven G. Younkin, M.D., Ph.D.

The MetLife Foundation established the awards in 1986 to recognize and reward scientists demonstrating significant contributions to the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. The awards are administered by the American Federation for Aging Research, which manages the award selection process and presentation. Dr. Bu’s award carries a $100,000 institutional grant and a personal prize of $25,000.

“MetLife Foundation is proud to present this award to Dr. Bu for his exceptional scientific research contributions, which help bring us closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” says A. Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “His outstanding contributions, recognized around the world, have helped us better understand this devastating illness.”

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Jun 14, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic Neuropathologist Awarded International Professional Society’s Highest Honor

Dr. Dickson holding a dissected brainJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dennis W. Dickson, M.D., a neuropathologist at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, will receive the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Neuropathologists (AANP), an international society of physicians and scientists who study, diagnose and treat diseases related to the brain, nerves and muscles.

The honor — the Award for Meritorious Contributions to Neuropathology — recognizes a member who has made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in neuropathology as well as service to AANP, where Dr. Dickson once served as president and as chair of the Program Committee. The award will be given to him June 17 at the AANP’s annual meeting in Baltimore.

Dr. Dickson is a neuropathologist who focuses on studies of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. He is director of the Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research, the Robert E. Jacoby Professor of Alzheimer’s Research, and co-director, Dorothy and Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., Lewy Body Dementia Program.

He also oversees the Mayo Clinic brain bank. For more than 20 years, he has built one of the largest and well-characterized brain banks in the world — a resource that has benefitted research of many scientists and clinicians.

Dr. Dickson was born in Iowa and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and his medical degree from the University of Iowa, where he also spent a post-sophomore year in anatomic pathology and neuropathology. He completed residency in anatomic pathology and neuropathology at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 1986, where he was the director of Neuropathology for 10 years before arriving at Mayo Clinic.

One of his first research papers described monoclonal antibodies specific to neurofibrillary pathology in Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare parkinsonian disorder. Dr. Dickson went on to develop the world’s largest brain bank for PSP and related disorders.

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

Studying donated brains has led to a number of discoveries, including new genes and genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, PSP and other major neurodegenerative disorders, such as Lewy body dementia, frontal lobe dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. More recently, he studied the frequency of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the Mayo Clinic brain bank with a research fellow, Kevin Bieniek, Ph.D., and found it only in brains of former athletes involved in contact sports.

In addition to providing a final diagnosis, neuropathologic findings provide closure to the family and feedback to the physicians involved in care of the patient. They also help elucidate the molecular pathology of these disorders, which will eventually lead to better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these disorders, according to Dr. Dickson.

Dr. Dickson has been nationally and internationally recognized with awards, such as the Metropolitan Life Award, Saul R. Korey Award from the AANP, the Fred Springer Award from the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, the Alfred Meyer Award from the British Neuropathological Society and the Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology. In 2015, he was named a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Jun 7, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic First to Implant Device to Solve Fecal Incontinence

FENIX Device implanted around the anal canal in a closed position

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A clinical team on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is the first to offer four patients with long-term fecal incontinence a new and potentially long-lasting treatment — a small band of interlinked magnetic titanium beads on a titanium string that successfully mimics the function of the anal sphincter.

At this point, Mayo Clinic is the only medical center that has surgically implanted this device, known as the Fenix Continence Restoration System. In December 2015, the system received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval under a humanitarian device exemption, which requires approval for patient use by a hospital’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB at Mayo Clinic is the first and, as yet, the only center to approve use of the device.

The issue of fecal incontinence, or accidental bowel leakage, is not unusual. It can affect more than 20 percent of women over 45, says Paul Pettit, M.D., a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialist at Mayo Clinic. “The condition can be debilitating due to social isolation, depression, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.

“If a patient does not improve through use of less invasive techniques, our only option has been a colostomy,” says Dr. Pettit, who performed the four surgeries. “This device now offers a new option that restores function, and we are happy to be able to offer it.”

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

FENIX Device: a small, flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores in a circle

The magnetic attraction between the beads then brings the device back to the closed position to prevent unexpected opening of the anal canal that may lead to accidental bowel leakage.

The operation itself lasts about 45 minutes and requires an overnight hospital stay.

Most patients with fecal incontinence — a syndrome that involves unintentional loss of solid or liquid stool — are women, and often the cause is childbirth, when the muscles and nerves near the anus are damaged, Dr. Pettit says.

When the system is implanted, the string of magnetic titanium beads is placed around the anal canal in the closed position. Increased intra-abdominal pressure opens the beads to allow for passage of stool. The magnets then spontaneously close.

The device works immediately after surgery and does not require any activation by the patient or adjustments by a physician, according to the manufacturer, Torax Medical Inc., in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Mayo researchers and clinicians who worked with Dr. Pettit on clinical use of the system are Heidi Chua, M.D., Anita Chen, M.D., and Chris DeStephano, M.D., M.P.H.

Sound bites with Dr. Pettit are available in the download section. 

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

May 26, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Researchers Identify Best Drug Therapy for Rare, Aggressive, Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic tumor illustrationJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Each year, about 200 to 400 Americans develop pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma, a rare form of pancreatic cancer that has no effective standard of care. A study involving researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida and Rochester campuses has found that the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin is effective in stopping the growth of this cancer. Their discoveries were published May 10 in the Journal of Translation Medicine.

Researchers used tumor tissue biopsied from a patient whose cancer spread to the liver to develop the first patient-derived tumor xenograft, or avatar mouse model, which enabled testing of a number of drugs.

Oxaliplatin stopped tumor growth after only three treatments, and the tumor did not grow back after treatment ended.

“We showed the tumor growth was inhibited by a number of drugs, but oxaliplatin was the standout drug,” says John A. Copland III, Ph.D., a cancer biologist and the study’s principal investigator. “Our hope is that information gleaned from our study will provide new options for patients diagnosed with this rare form of cancer.”

Patients live an average 49 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma. They only live about 14 months once the cancer has spread, or metastasized.


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

Sound bites with Dr. Copland are available in the download section. 

Oxaliplatin inserts itself into DNA, which results in the death of multiplying tumor cells – particularly if those cells carry a DNA repair mutation. The study found that the patient tumor used in this research had a mutation in the DNA repair gene BRCA-2.

This indicates physicians may want to test patients with pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma for DNA repair gene mutations to provide a more highly individualized medicine approach toward treatment.

“This may be a breakthrough for this rare cancer,” says Gerardo Colon-Otero, M.D., an oncologist and study co-author. “Genomic testing for DNA mutations can now be performed, and, if the results are positive, those patients are candidates for platinum-based drugs, such as oxaliplatin.”

Lead author Jason Hall, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic research fellow, also showed that the tumor began to re-express markers of normal pancreas tissue.

“This is most likely the explanation for the very prolonged response,” says Dr. Hall. “Perhaps we should explore more chemotherapy drugs that can kill cancer cells as well as revert them to a more normal state.”

Additional Mayo Clinic study co-authors are:

Additional co-authors are:

  • Adam C. Mathias, B.S., of Delta Synthetic Co., Ltd.
  • Louis K. Dawson, B.S.; William F. Durham, M.S.; Robert J. Mullin, Ph.D.; Aidan J. Synnott, Ph.D.; Daniel L. Small, Ph.D.; Julia Schüler, Ph.D. ,Kenneth A. Meshaw, Ph.D.; of Charles Rivers Discovery Services
  • Daniel von Hoff, M.D., of TGen

The study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Grant R01CA136665 (Dr. Copland) and a generous gift from a grant for Rare Cancers from Dr. Ellis W. and Dona Brunton (Dr. Colon-Otero and Dr. Copland).

Competing interests:

  • Copland and Marlow received royalties from the patient-derived tumor xenograft model licensed to Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.
  • Mathias was an employee of Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., and now is employed by Delta Synthetic Co., Ltd.

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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 http://mayoclinic.com or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

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kevinpunsky

Apr 5, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Florida Scientist to Receive International Award for Advances in Dementia Research

Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D., a neurogeneticist on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, will receive one of the highest honors in neuroscience: the 2016 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases.

The $100,000 prize is an internationally recognized tribute for advancing dementia research. It recognizes major contributions to the understanding of the causes, prevention, treatment and cure for Pick's, Alzheimer's and related diseases.

Dr. Rademakers’ research laboratory has made several significant discoveries in the molecular genetics of some of the world’s most devastating neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as Parkinson’s disease-related syndromes.

“The physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic are proud of Dr. Rademakers’ achievements on behalf of our patients and patients everywhere,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic.

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

In 2011, Dr. Rademakers’ laboratory identified that an unusual mutation of the C9orf72 gene is the most common cause of ALS and FTD. This explained the disease in more than 30 percent of ALS patients, and about 25 percent of FTD patients who have other family members with dementia or ALS. Her laboratory has since discovered several genetic factors that help explain why some people with the C9orf72 mutation develop ALS, while others develop FTD.

“Winning the Potamkin Prize is a great honor for me,” says Dr. Rademakers. “I feel fortunate to be in the company of many of my colleagues who have also won this award. It could not have happened without the work of all of the people in my laboratory, and so I hope they see this as recognition of their achievement, as well.”

The identification of the C9orf72 mutation was not the first contribution of Dr. Rademakers to unraveling the genetic basis of FTD and related diseases. In 2006, her laboratory played a key role in the discovery of mutations in the progranulin gene, another major cause of FTD. Her laboratory developed a highly predictive blood test to detect progranulin mutations in dementia patients and provided important insight into the regulation of the progranulin protein.

Discoveries of genetic targets such as C9orf72 and progranulin form the basis of diagnostic testing and therapies, and help gain insight into how diseases develop – and how to prevent them. “Being able to provide new leads that could result in treatment strategies for patients with these devastating diseases is the most rewarding part of research,” says Dr. Rademakers.

Sound bites with Dr. Rademakers are available in the download section. 

“We congratulate Dr. Rademakers and her research team on advancing our understanding of dementia,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida. “At Mayo Clinic, world-leading research informs everything we do. We are grateful that, for the fifth time, the Potamkin Prize recognizes a current Mayo researcher’s commitment to advancing our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and dementias.”

Mayo Clinic is a world leader in research to advance the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Research at Mayo Clinic produces discoveries that translate to new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for some of the most complex neurological diseases of our time. Prior recipients of the Potamkin Prize on staff at Mayo Clinic are Steven G. Younkin, M.D., Ph.D.; Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.; Clifford R. Jack Jr., M.D.; and Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.

Dr. Rademakers is the Mildred A. and Henry Uihlein II Professor of Medical Research in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the Mayo Clinic Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She also receives support from the ALS Therapy Alliance, the Florida Department of Health's Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer's Disease Research Program, and the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia Research.

The Potamkin Prize is awarded annually by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Brain Foundation. Dr. Rademakers will receive the award on April 18, 2016, at the world’s largest gathering of neurologists – the AAN’s 68th Annual Meeting, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Mar 31, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic Researchers Find Way to Prevent Accumulation of Amyloid Plaque, a Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease

Illustration of a healthy brain and Alzheimer's brainJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic researchers led a laboratory study that found a new way to prevent the accumulation of amyloid plaque – a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease – by eliminating a class of molecules called heparan sulfates that form on brain cells.

“Just as a carpet covers a floor and can hold dirt, molecules called heparan sulfates can cover brain cells and trap and hold amyloid peptides, which can then form into clumps called plaque,” says Guojun Bu, Ph.D., a molecular neurobiologist on Mayo’s Florida campus.

The research study deleted the Ext1 gene in laboratory mice using genetic engineering technology. This, in turn, prevented heparan sulfates from forming on the surface of brain cells. The surface was smoother – think tiled floor versus carpet – and this enabled the brain to efficiently clear out amyloid, says Dr. Bu, associate director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

“Our study proves heparan sulfates as the basis for a cascade of events leading to the formation of amyloid plaque, which is an early and essential pathological feature of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Bu.

The research is published in the March 30, 2016, edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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

The researchers also studied donated brain tissue of people who had Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime. The researchers found increased amounts of heparan sulfates in brains from individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, compared with individuals who did not have the disease. This further backed the finding that an abundance of heparan sulfates is a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

The study also has implications for preventing tau tangles, another hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, because tau tangles develop later in the process of disease’s development, says Dr. Bu, the Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine.

“Amyloid plaques typically accumulate in the brain for many years before patients develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Bu. “Our laboratory is now developing tests to identify compounds that could block heparan sulfates from interacting with amyloid and forming plaque. The goal is to prevent or stop Alzheimer’s disease from occurring.”

Preclinical laboratory testing must occur before any drug could be tested with patients.

The Mayo Clinic team collaborated on the research with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California and Washington University in St. Louis. Brain tissue was provided by the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Center Neuropathology Core.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

In addition to Dr. Bu, Mayo researchers involved in the study are:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Mayo Clinic is a world leader in research to advance the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Research at Mayo Clinic produces discoveries that translate to new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for some of the most complex neurological diseases.

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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kevinpunsky

Mar 30, 2016 by @kevinpunsky · View  

Mayo Clinic’s Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign Wins ASGE Award

medical illustration of colon, polyp and colonoscope

Promoting the use of colonoscopy through visual graphics, a team of gastroenterologists on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus has won the Community Outreach Award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

The award is for designing an infographic that grabs readers’ attention in a manner that is easy to understand and effective in promoting colorectal cancer awareness and prevention. The illustration equates road safety signs to signs to follow to ensure personal health. For example, a yellow roadside caution sign says this in text next to the sign: Screen earlier if there is a family history of colorectal cancer.

Drs. Bhaumik S. Brahmbhatt and Michael B. Wallace will receive the ASGE award at the ASGE’s 75th-annual meeting in San Diego in May. ASGE will feature the graphic in a booklet and on the organization’s website. ASGE also will use the graphic in information campaigns designed to increase colon cancer prevention awareness.

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

infograpic

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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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

 

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