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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason)

Activity by Julie Janovsky-Mason

Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Tue, Jun 16 4:17pm · 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;

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

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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Fri, Dec 5 2014 · 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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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Tue, Sep 4 2012 · 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.org and

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

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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Thu, Jun 7 2012 · 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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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Wed, Jun 6 2012 · 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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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Mon, Jun 4 2012 · 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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Julie Janovsky-Mason (@juliejmason) posted · Mon, Apr 2 2012 · 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.org and

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

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