Julie Janovsky-Mason @juliejmason

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3 days ago by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic researchers identify cancer-fighting drugs that help morbidly obese mice to lose weight

researcher examining specimen at microscopePHOENIX — Scientific investigations sometimes result in serendipitous discoveries which shift the investigations from one focus to another. In the case of researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, studies addressing obesity’s impact on cancer treatment resulted in an unexpected discovery that shifted the focus from cancer to obesity. The investigators observed that two common cancer-fighting drugs sparked significant weight loss in the obese mice, even though the mice continued their excessive consumption of a high-fat diet. These results, which are part of a Mayo Clinic study, were reported in the Jan. 17 edition of Oncotarget.

“We were surprised to observe that when morbidly obese mice were treated with certain cancer-fighting drugs, the drugs not only targeted their cancers, but also tended to spontaneously resolve their obesity ─ even with undiminished gorging on a high-fat diet,” says Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen, M.D.,  who co-led the study with postdoctoral fellow Cheryl Myers, Ph.D. and Mayo Clinic immunologist Sandra Gendler, Ph.D.

“Importantly, two chemotherapy agents ─ methotrexate and cyclophosphamide ─ could be dosed to completely reverse obesity without detectable toxicity, even in mice without cancer,” explains Dr. Myers. “Interestingly, these drugs are already used to treat some noncancerous conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.”

More research needs to be done to see if the same outcome can be achieved in morbidly obese patients.

“The ease with which this weight loss was achieved in mice ─ even with continued caloric binging ─ is in stark contrast to the Herculean difficulties morbidly obese patients experience trying to preserve weight loss through dietary restraint,” adds Dr. Gendler.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-6173, newsbureau@mayo.edu

The weight reduction observed in the obese mice was not attributable to trivial explanations, such as a decrease in dietary intake, increased energy expenditure or malabsorption. Instead, the investigators identified multiple effects of methotrexate or cyclophosphamide that worked together to expedite loss of excessive weight in mice. Much like chemotherapy’s well-known ability to decrease red and white blood cell precursors transiently, methotrexate or cyclophosphamide depleted fat cell precursors, leading to much decreased fat storage. “This meant that excessive dietary calories had to go somewhere else in the body instead, such as to the liver,” explains Dr. Cohen.

“Surprisingly, the liver maintained a robust level of metabolic activity during methotrexate or cyclophosphamide treatment, but was nearly shut down in regards to fat production and fat storage,” adds Dr. Myers.

“Based on our composite data,” explains Dr. Gendler, “it appears that methotrexate or cyclophosphamide can induce the livers of obese mice to burn off rather than accumulate excessive dietary fat. This results in desirable weight reduction instead of increased obesity, even with continued caloric binging.”

The study sets the stage for further research, exploring how these metabolic mechanisms could reduce the need for severe dietary constraints in morbidly obese individuals.


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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Nov 16, 2016 by @juliejmason · View  

Next-generation biomaterial being developed to treat bleeding

red blood cells with white blood cells backgroundPHOENIX — Researchers at Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a biomaterial that has potential to protect patients at high risk for bleeding in surgery.

The Nov. 16 cover article, “An Injectable Shear-Thinning Biomaterial for Endovascular Embolization,” in the journal Science Translational Medicine reports on a universal shear-thinning biomaterial that may provide an alternative for treating vascular bleeding.

Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that treats abnormal blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body beginning with a pinhole puncture in the femoral artery. This procedure is accomplished by inserting metallic coils through a catheter into a vessel, which induces clotting to prevent further bleeding.

For patients unable to form a clot within the coiled artery or patients on high doses of blood thinners for their mechanical valves or cardiac assist devices, coil embolization could lead to complications, such as breakthrough bleeding, according to the study.

Despite its improvement over open surgical procedures, rebleeding after coil embolization is common and can be life-threatening, states the study.

The study’s lead co-author Rahmi Oklu, M.D., Ph.D., a vascular interventional radiologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, explains shear-thinning biomaterial offers many advantages over metallic coils, the current gold standard.

“Coils require your body’s ability to create a clot in order to create that occlusion. Our shear-thinning biomaterial, regardless of how anticoagulated the patient may be, will still create that occlusion,” says Dr. Oklu, who began researching the shear-thinning biomaterial three years ago while working at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with his colleague, Ali Khademhosseini, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-6173, janovsky-mason.julie@mayo.edu

Dr. Oklu says the shear-thinning biomaterial, which can be injected through an endovascular catheter, creates an impenetrable cast of the vessel, preventing further bleeding. This shear-thinning biomaterial is easier to deliver and see on a CT and on MRI, enabling physicians to better assess the outcomes of the procedure, says Dr. Oklu.

Research on the shear-thinning biomaterial continues at Mayo Clinic. The goal is to address unmet patient needs, including possible treatment of vascular malformations, varicose veins, aneurysms and traumatic vascular injuries, as well as a drug delivery device in cancer treatment.

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

The study’s other co-authors are:

  • Hassan Albadawi, Division of Interventional Radiology, Mayo Clinic; Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Reginald Avery, Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University
  • Yu Shrike Zhang, Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, and Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Michael Duggan, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Dushyant Sahani, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Bradley Olsen, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ali Khademhosseini, Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Harvard- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Sloan Foundation.

Dr. Oklu has a financial interest related to the technology referenced in this news release.


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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Aug 8, 2016 by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University to Form Collaborative Research Teams through new Team Science Grants

a close-up of a lab worker wearing gloves and protective gear, with lab equipment, doing researchPHOENIX and TEMPE, Ariz. — Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University’s (ASU) research leadership announce the launch of a new grant program that will team up research scientists and clinicians from both institutions to develop transformative solutions for patients.

The inaugural Mayo Clinic and ASU Team Science Grants will fund Biomedical Sensing, Functional Restoration and Biomedical Imaging/Informatics themed projects. Three collaborative Mayo and ASU research teams were chosen, which are comprised of researchers from both institutions.

“This uniquely collaborative approach to medical science capitalizes on the clinical and technological strengths of Mayo Clinic and the broad range of engineering expertise at Arizona State University,” says Gregory Gores, M.D., executive dean for Research at Mayo Clinic. “We are pleased to support multidisciplinary teams with rich expertise, working synergistically to transform scientific discoveries into critical technological advances to address unmet needs of patients.”

Together Mayo Clinic and ASU have committed up to $2.7 million in award funding that will be split among each of the three projects.

“ASU and Mayo Clinic are redesigning conventional approaches and proposing novel solutions to enhance patient care, education and research focused on better health outcomes,” says Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research officer at ASU. “Investing in this year’s Team Science awardees helps us recognize the transformative efforts of brilliant researchers from both organizations.”

MEDIA CONTACTS: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-6173, janovsky-mason.julie@mayo.edu

Jim McVeigh, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-4368, mcveigh.jim@mayo.edu

Judy Keane, Arizona State University, 480-965-3779, judy.keane@asu.edu

The three teams will be jointly led by faculty from both institutions.

This year’s awarded projects are:

A multidisciplinary approach to optimize integration of sensory feedback for prosthetic applications in people with upper limb loss: A multidisciplinary team will work to enhance intuitive motor control and the ability for those with upper limb loss to feel with their prosthesis. The project will test and validate sensor technologies integrated with a prosthetic to address the unmet needs of individuals who currently have upper limb loss. Co-principal investigators are Kristin Zhao, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, and  Marco Santello, Ph.D., ASU.

Phase-contrast imaging using a compact coherent X-ray light source: Working with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic and ASU team will research an alternative method of X-ray phase-contrast imaging (XPCI). Currently, XPCI requires long exposures while using medical x-ray tubes. The team aims to construct a compact X-ray light source that will make medical XPCI clinically possible. Co-principal investigators are William Graves, Ph.D., ASU, and Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic.

Next generation brain mapping in epilepsy surgery: The project team will focus on developing a novel, flexible sensor platform for electrophysiology mapping of normal and epileptic brain tissue. The goal is to allow surgeons to visualize abnormalities and cut out epileptic brain tissue, which will improve efficiency and outcomes. Co-principal investigators are Greg Worrell, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, and Gregory Raupp, Ph.D., ASU.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a New American University — a major public educational institution, a premier research center and a leader in innovation. ASU’s vision is described by its three core principles: excellence in scholarship, access to education and impact in the global community. As a New American University, ASU is intellectually vibrant, socially conscious and globally engaged. For more information, visit http://www.asu.edu.


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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Jul 12, 2016 by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic Researchers Identify Potential Immunotherapy Drug Combination for Targeting Advanced and Metastatic Cancers

Dr. Peter Cohen (left) and Dr. Sandra Gendler (right)Studies Reveal the Combination’s Ability to Ramp Up the Destruction of Cancers in Mice

PHOENIX — A drug combination designed to enhance the immune system’s ability to zero in and attack cancer cells has shown a pronounced therapeutic effect against advanced and metastatic cancers in mice, according to a Mayo Clinic study, published in the July 12 edition of the online journal Oncotarget.

“Cancers can remain inconspicuous in the body for months to years before causing major problems, leading the immune system to coexist rather than to attack cancers,” explains Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen, M.D., who co-led the study with Mayo Clinic immunologist Sandra Gendler, Ph.D., and postdoctoral fellow Soraya Zorro Manrique, Ph.D.

“We tested Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists — drugs that mimic invasive bacteria — as a strategy to trick the immune system into attacking cancer as if it were a life-threatening infection. Since chemotherapy can enhance immunotherapy, we also screened the pairing of TLR agonists with over 10 different chemotherapy agents,” says Dr. Cohen, adding that the Mayo Clinic team targeted mouse models that included highly aggressive forms of breast cancer (known as 4T1) as well as pancreatic cancer (known as Panc02).

The investigative team observed that when the chemotherapy agent cyclophosphamide was combined with TLR agonists, advanced 4T1 and Panc02 cancers largely regressed within two cycles of treatment and did not recur if the mice completed five additional cycles of consolidating treatment. Only the combination of the TLR agonist and cyclophosphamide resulted in permanent cancer eradication, and no other tested chemotherapy came close to working as well as cyclophosphamide. The Mayo Clinic team also reported that the combined treatment was very well tolerated and actually less toxic than either TLR agonists or cyclophosphamide given individually.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-6173, newsbureau@mayo.edu

Studies revealed that, even before treatment, the cancer-bearing mice had T-lymphocyte immune responses against their tumors, requiring only weekly injections of the TLR agonist and cyclophosphamide to become therapeutically effective. Importantly, the treatment agents did not need to be injected directly into tumors, and were fully effective against widespread metastases as well as the primary tumor sites.

The drug combination also revealed an additional benefit — it activated monocytes (a type of white blood cell) to participate in the killing of cancer cells. Explains Dr. Gendler, “It appears very likely that each round of treatment stimulates the bone marrow to churn out freshly activated monocytes, which distribute throughout the body, spare normal cells, and find and kill cancer cells.”

Dr. Cohen adds, “We were also able to identify TLR agonists that can similarly activate human monocytes to seek out and kill tumors.”

Mayo Clinic is continuing its research, now studying within an FDA-approved clinical trial whether patients with advanced cancers, including pancreas, breast, colorectal, melanoma and others, respond similarly to mice when cyclophosphamide treatment is paired with the TLR agonist motolimod.


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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May 4, 2016 by @juliejmason · View  

$7 Million Research Funding Award for Migraine Research

Mayo Clinic Phoenix

PHOENIX — A Mayo Clinic research team, led by neurologists Todd Schwedt, M.D. and David Dodick, M.D., has been approved for $7 million in funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study migraine treatment strategies.

The five-year study, “Determining the Optimal Treatment Strategy for Patients Who Have Chronic Migraine With Medication Overuse,” will compare two current strategies for treating patients who have chronic migraine.

“For the first time, we will be able to directly compare two commonly used treatment strategies for those with chronic migraine and medication overuse. The results will help determine the optimal treatment strategy for patients with this common and disabling condition,” says Dr. Schwedt, adding that the trial is expected to begin later in 2016 and is expected to involve 1,280 enrolled patients.

Approximately 36 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines and three percent of people (or roughly 10 million) suffer from chronic migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Chronic migraine is defined as having at least 15 days of headache per month, including at least eight days per month of migraine.

About half of chronic migraine sufferers take medication to stop an attack too frequently, which could lead to medication overuse. Medication overuse can lead to more frequent migraines and migraines that are less responsive to other types of treatments. Mayo Clinic’s study will research the effects of immediate discontinuation of the overused medication plus treatment with migraine prophylactic therapy versus migraine prophylactic therapy without immediate discontinuation of the overused medication.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 480-301-6173, newsbureau@mayo.edu

Dr. Schwedt’s study was selected for funding through PCORI’s Pragmatic Clinical Studies Initiative, an effort to produce results that are broadly applicable to a diverse range of patients and care situations, and can be more quickly taken up in clinical practice.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other health care stakeholders in a major study conducted in real-world settings, but also for its potential to answer an important question about migraines and fill a crucial evidence gap,” says Joe Selby, M.D., MPH, executive director, PCORI. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Mayo Clinic to share its results.”

Mayo Clinic’s award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. For more information about PCORI’s funding, visit http://www.pcori.org.


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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Jun 18, 2015 by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic and TGen Help Launch Clinical Trials to Combat Advanced Skin Cancer

Word cloud definition for skin cancer - melanomaArizonans will receive benefit from recently FDA-approved precision medicine clinical trial to fight a deadly form of melanoma

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Mayo Clinic and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) are helping launch a national clinical trial that will apply the latest in precision medicine to treat advanced melanoma skin cancer.

The study leverages advances in genomics, informatics, and health information technology, yielding more precise medical treatments for patients with this devastating disease.

Mayo Clinic is the only clinical site in Arizona to offer this new treatment, sponsored by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) and the Melanoma Research Alliance. These clinical trials are the culmination of nearly four years of research under an SU2C Melanoma Dream Team grant.

Metastatic melanoma is a type of cancer that has spread from the skin to other parts of the body, most frequently the lungs, muscles, brain, and liver. Metastatic melanoma is responsible for more than 9,000 deaths a year in the United States, so there remains an urgent need for new treatment options.

For interviews with Dr. Aleksandar Sekulic and Dr. Alan Bryce or a patient with metastatic melanoma, contact Julie Janovsky-Mason, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at (480) 301-6173; Janovsky-Mason.Julie@mayo.edu.

For interviews with Dr. Trent, please contact: Steve Yozwiak, TGen Senior Science Writer at 602-343-8704; syozwiak@tgen.org [...]

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Dec 5, 2014 by @juliejmason · View  

Unprecedented Benefit Seen in Worldwide Test of a Three-Drug Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

PHOENIX — In the treatment of multiple myeloma, the addition of carfilzomib to a currently accepted two-drug combination produced significantly better results than using the two drugs alone, according to a worldwide research team led by investigators from Mayo Clinic.

Their findings will be reported online Dec. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine, and presented on Dec. 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), held in San Francisco.

Interim analysis of the ASPIRE clinical trial, which enrolled 792 patients with relapsed multiple myeloma from 20 countries, found an “unprecedented” prolongation of the time patients were free of disease progression, says the study’s lead investigator, Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B, a Mayo Clinic oncologist in Arizona. “Patients taking three drugs — carfilzomib, lenalidomide and dexamethasone — stayed free of disease progression for 26 months on average,” he says. “No one has reported anything like this before for relapsed multiple myeloma.” [...]

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Sep 4, 2012 by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic in Arizona Reaches 1,000th Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Milestone

PHOENIX — September 4, 2012.  The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Mayo Clinic in Arizona recently reached a milestone by performing its 1,000th adult bone marrow transplant. Mayo Clinic's BMT program, in collaboration with Phoenix Children's Hospital, is the largest BMT program in Arizona.

hands holding illustrated heart

VIDEO ALERT: Click here to watch Roberta Adams, M.D.

Mayo Clinic is a regional referral center and performs more than 200 adult stem cell transplants each year. The long-running program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and the National Bone Marrow Donor Program.

"This milestone represents Mayo Clinic's commitment to the highest-quality care for these extremely compromised patients, as well as the commitment of our staff to our patients," says Roberta Adams, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic in Arizona's BMT Program.

"The program has developed a broad referral base and strives to ensure that patients receive the very best care without leaving their home state," says James Slack, M.D., the program's adult clinical director.

Mayo Clinic's BMT program provides consultations, evaluations and treatment for patients who would potentially benefit from a stem cell transplant. BMT procedures include allogeneic (using donated stem cells), related and unrelated myeloablative or non-myeloablative, and autologous (using the patient's own, stored stem cells). Patients who are younger than age 18 are cared for through Mayo Clinic's pediatric program at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Approximately 30 BMTs are performed at PCH each year.


About Mayo Clinic:

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

Media Contact: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Public Affairs, 480-301-4222

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Jun 7, 2012 by @juliejmason · View  

Hospital Awarded "A" for Patient Safety

PHOENIX, Ariz., — June 7, 2012.  Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona scored high marks for safety, earning an "A" Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The Hospital Safety Score was calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group's Blue Ribbon Expert Panel using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. U.S. hospitals were assigned an A, B, C, D, or F for their safety.

Mayo Clinic Arizona Hospital

"Mayo Clinic takes great pride in our commitment to patient safety. Providing the safest, best possible care to our patients is always at the forefront of everything we do," said Wyatt W. Decker, M.D., Vice President, Mayo Clinic, Chief Executive Officer for Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Being recognized as one of the safest hospitals in Arizona means a great deal to our staff and the patients we serve," Dr. Decker added.

"It's The Leapfrog Group's goal to give patients the information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. "We congratulate the hospitals that earned an 'A' and we look forward to the day when all hospitals in the U.S. will earn the highest scores for putting patient safety first."
To see Mayo Clinic Hospital's scores as they compare nationally and locally, visit the Hospital Safety Score website, which also provides information on how the public can protect themselves and loved ones during a hospital stay.

Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group's nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital's overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors. The panel includes: John Birkmeyer (University of Michigan), Ashish Jha (Harvard University), Lucian Leape (Harvard University), Arnold Millstein (Stanford University), Peter Pronovost (Johns Hopkins University), Patrick Romano (University of California, Davis), Sara Singer (Harvard University), Tim Vogus (Vanderbilt University), and Robert Wachter (University of California, San Francisco).


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Jun 6, 2012 by @juliejmason · View  

Study Leads to New Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma Drug

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — June 6, 2012.  It's the most common form of skin cancer, but in its advanced stages, basal cell carcinoma has the potential to become disfiguring and life threatening. An international phase 2 study headed by Mayo Clinic led to the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of the first drug of its kind to help advanced basal cell carcinoma patients who have few treatment options. The results appear in the June 7 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

close-up of pills

VIDEO ALERT: Click here for footage of Dr. Sekulic.

The study found the drug Erivedge (vismodegib) shrank advanced basal cell carcinoma tumors in 43 percent of patients with locally advanced disease and in 30 percent of patients whose disease spread to other organs.

"This targeted therapy represents a new paradigm in cancer treatment," says lead researcher Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist and cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

More than 2 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are found in this country each year. Basal cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 80 percent of all diagnosed non-melanoma skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. It occurs when a basal cell develops a mutation in its DNA, causing it to multiply rapidly, with the potential of forming a cancerous tumor. In most cases, when basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed early it is treated effectively by surgery. When the cancer reaches an advanced state, surgery is not always an option or can be disfiguring. The disease can also be life threatening if left untreated or if it further advances into the skin, bone and tissue.

Erivedge can shrink a tumor by targeting a molecular signaling pathway that fuels the cancer cells and shut it down, Dr. Sekulic says.

"These findings are very exciting because we haven't had any therapies before that worked to this degree for advanced basal cell carcinoma," he says. Dr. Sekulic adds that more research is needed to determine if the drug has the potential to improve treatment for those in earlier stages of the disease, those with multiple basal cell carcinomas and those with a genetic predisposition to the disease.

The study included researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.; Sint-Augustinus Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver; Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, Tenn.; University of California, San Francisco; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York; John Hopkins University, Baltimore; Genentech, Inc., San Francisco; and the Universitatsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.


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Jun 4, 2012 by @juliejmason · View  

Four-Drug Mix Treats Multiple Myeloma With Fewer Side Effects, Mayo Clinic-Led Study Finds

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — June 4, 2012.  A four-drug combination of chemotherapy drugs scored high marks as a highly effective treatment for patients newly diagnosed with the blood cancer multiple myeloma, according to results from a Mayo Clinic-led study. The multidrug regimen, called CYCLONE (comprised of Cyclophosphamide, Carfilzomib, Thalidomide and Dexamethasone), boasted strong results in the phase II trial, most notably for how quickly and effectively it worked and how well tolerated it was by the study recipients.

close-up of pills

VIDEO ALERT: click here for footage of Dr. Mikhael.

"Within only four cycles of treatment, 96 percent of patients responded favorably to the therapy," says lead researcher Joseph Mikhael, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Furthermore, 75 percent experienced a very good partial remission — meaning there was a 90 percent reduction of their tumor. A third of the patients experienced a complete remission, where the tumor was no longer detectable."

Dr. Mikhael is presenting the study at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

The study participants also experienced fewer side effects compared to currently available therapies, Dr. Mikhael adds. Side effects associated with multiple myeloma treatment typically involve the nerves of the body, and include numbness, tingling and pain. The American Cancer Society projects 21,700 new cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed this year. Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells, found within the bone marrow.
Abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiply in the bone marrow, resulting in fewer healthy blood cells. These abnormal plasma cells also produce an abnormal protein known as a monoclonal, or M protein, that can cause bone fractures and damage organs, especially the kidneys.

Patients are typically treated with chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant.


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Apr 2, 2012 by @juliejmason · View  

Mayo Clinic-Led Study Finds 2-Drug Combo Slows Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — April 2, 2012.  The combination of the novel drug TH-302 with the standard drug gemcitabine has shown early signs of delaying the worsening of cancer in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, a Mayo Clinic-led study has found. This was evaluated using a measure termed progression-free survival (PFS). According to the results of a multi-center Phase II clinical trial, patients receiving the combination of gemcitabine and TH-302 demonstrated a progression-free survival of 5.6 months compared to 3.6 months in those patients who received gemcitabine alone.

Cancer words

Video alert: Click here to watch Dr. Borad share the results of the study.

The two-month delay in worsening of the cancer is considered significant given that the average survival of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is only six to seven months.

Lead researcher Mitesh Borad, M.D., of Mayo Clinic in Arizona, will present the results of the Phase II study on Monday, April 2, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.

The scientific basis of using TH-302 is to target low-oxygen (hypoxic) areas in cancers that are a common source of drug resistance to conventional chemotherapy drugs. Promising results of the combination of TH-302 and gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer animal models preceded this clinical trial in patients.

The Phase II clinical trial included 214 patients from June 2010 to June 2011 at 45 centers. Patients were randomized to receive standard therapy with gemcitabine or gemcitabine in combination with one of two doses of TH-302.

"The results of the trial support ongoing study of TH-302 in pancreatic cancer," Dr. Borad says.

The study was funded by Threshold Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of TH-302.

About Mayo Clinc Cancer Center

As a leading institution funded by the National Cancer Institute. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conducts basic, clinical and population science research, translating discoveries into improved methods for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.


About Mayo Clinic:

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

Media Contact: Julie Janovsky-Mason, Public Affairs, 480-301-4222

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