Activity by kevinpunsky
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Scientists have recently found evidence that professional football players are susceptible to a progressive degenerative disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repetitive brain trauma. Now, researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have discovered a significant and surprising amount of CTE in males who had participated in amateur contact sports in their youth.
About one-third of these men whose brains had been donated to the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank had evidence of CTE pathology. CTE only can be diagnosed posthumously.
The Mayo study, published in the December issue of Acta Neuropathologica, links amateur contact sports — football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, basketball, baseball and others played while in school — with the development of CTE, which when severe can affect mood, behavior and cognition.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalists: Sound bites with study author Kevin Bieniek are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus was awarded a $5.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify vascular risk factors in aging and dementia, and translate that knowledge into studying potential targets for treatment.
The grant is one of the first awarded as part of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which called for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan. The first goal of the national plan is to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
Guojun Bu, Ph.D., molecular neuroscientist, and Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D., neurologist and neurogeneticist, are the principal investigators for the study. Both are based on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. Several additional investigators on Mayo’s Florida and Rochester, Minnesota, campuses, as well as Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, will be involved.
Jounalists: Sound bites with Guojun Bu, Ph.D., and Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D., are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and St. Vincent’s HealthCare, a ministry of Ascension Health, are collaborating to bring Mayo Clinic’s nationally ranked cancer services to patients in a newly built medical suite on the campus of St. Vincent’s Riverside. The goal is to offer Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center’s programs and services to more patients directly in the community.
Construction of the 11,500-square-foot medical suite is expected to be completed in summer of 2016. Financial details of the agreement will not be disclosed.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with a local health system that is known worldwide for delivering superior cancer care,” says Michael Schatzlein, M.D., President and CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare. “Every year, thousands of patients travel across the globe to be treated by Mayo Clinic physicians, and, now, St. Vincent’s will offer our patients the same high-quality care right here on our Riverside campus.”
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have been awarded a $13.3 million, five-year federal grant to test a vaccine designed to prevent the recurrence of triple-negative breast cancer, a subset of breast cancer for which there are no targeted therapies.
The clinical trial, which will enroll 280 patients at multiple clinical sites, is expected to begin early in 2016.
The grant, the Breakthrough Award from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program, will fund a national, phase II clinical trial testing the ability of a folate receptor alpha vaccine to prevent recurrence of this aggressive cancer following initial treatment.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Knutson are available in the downloads.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, email@example.com [...]
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cancer researchers dream of the day they can force tumor cells to morph back to the normal cells they once were. Now, researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have discovered a way to potentially reprogram cancer cells back to normalcy.
The finding, published in Nature Cell Biology, represents “an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer,” says the study’s senior investigator, Panos Anastasiadis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Anastasiadis are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In their bid to find the best combination of therapies to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus demonstrated that all histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are not created equal.
In testing multiple HDAC inhibitors in combination with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel, known to give some benefit for this aggressive cancer, they found that class II HDAC inhibitors signal through a newly discovered pathway to promote synergy with chemotherapy treatment.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Copland are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — U.S. News & World Report again has named Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus to its annual list of “America’s Best Hospitals” published online today. Mayo Clinic is ranked No. 1 in the Jacksonville metro area, No. 4 in Florida and among the top 50 hospitals nationally in cancer, gastroenterology (GI) and GI surgery, geriatrics, and neurology and neurosurgery.
“This honor reflects the deep commitment of our staff to provide the highest quality of care to our patients every day,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “Our employees are critical to the success of Mayo Clinic. I’m extremely grateful for their dedication and commitment to making the patient experience the very best it can be.”
Journalists: Sound bites from Dr. Farrugia are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have identified key differences between patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and those with the most common genetic form of ALS, a mutation in the C9orf72 gene.
Their findings, reported online today in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrate that ALS patients show abnormalities in levels and processing of ribonucleic acids (RNA), biological molecules that determine what gene information is used to guide protein synthesis.
More than 30,000 Americans live with ALS, a condition that destroys motor neuron cells that control essential muscle activity, such as speaking, walking, breathing and swallowing. While increasing efforts are geared toward therapeutic development, an effective drug for ALS has yet to be identified, in large part because of our incomplete understanding of the disease.
“Our results using advanced, modern laboratory techniques called next-generation sequencing, allowed us to acquire a library of new knowledge about patients with ALS,” says the study’s senior author, Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neuroscience on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.
Dr. Petrucelli and Hu Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology on Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minn., led a team of investigators who carefully analyzed the RNA from human brain tissues. They found that ALS brains had numerous RNA defects, compared to nondisease brains. They also predicted molecular events that may be altered due to the changes found in RNAs involved in pathways regulating those events and that may contribute to ALS.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Clinicians testing the drug dasatinib, approved for several blood cancers, had hoped it would slow the aggressive growth of the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma; however, clinical trials to date have not found any benefit. Researchers at Mayo Clinic, who conducted one of those clinical trials, believe they know why dasatinib failed — and what to do about it.
In the online issue of Molecular Oncology, investigators report finding that dasatinib inhibits proteins that promote cancer growth as expected but also suppresses proteins that protect against cancer.
The findings suggest that pretesting patient glioblastoma biopsies will help identify who may respond well to dasatinib and who should avoid using the drug, says the study’s senior author, Panos Z. Anastasiadis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic in Florida has been named a Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The designation is given to centers that provide early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, a full range of therapies and specialized care, outcomes follow-up and clinical research and studies, among other points of excellence.
Mayo Clinic in Florida is the only Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center in the Southeast and one of only 26 in the country.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., and SILVER SPRING, Md. — Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR) today announced a collaboration to build and operate a lung restoration center on the Mayo campus. The goal is to significantly increase the volume of lungs for transplantation by preserving and restoring selected marginal donor lungs, making them viable for transplantation. The restored lungs will be made available to patients at Mayo Clinic and other transplant centers throughout the United States.
Construction of the center is expected to be completed in late 2017. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
“This collaboration is exciting because it allows Mayo Clinic to bring the latest advances in life-saving technology to transplant patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida. “Ultimately, this relationship will help Mayo Clinic expand its reach to patients who could benefit from this innovation. Increasing the number of lungs available for transplantation provides more options for patients suffering from pulmonary disease.”
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Farrugia are available in the downloads.
Non-Ownership Relationship Expands Knowledge and Reach
TAMPA, Fla. — Mayo Clinic and Shriners Hospitals for Children today announced Shriners Hospitals for Children as a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of organizations committed to better serving patients and their families through physician collaboration.
The network will allow Shriners Hospitals for Children, a national health care system, to offer providers and patients convenient access to additional expertise from Mayo Clinic. The closer relationship will enhance the delivery of local care and promote peace of mind as providers and patients make health care decisions.
“With Mayo Clinic’s similar mission of providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research, a relationship will give Shriners Hospitals the opportunity to further transform children’s lives,” said Dale W. Stauss, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When people find out — usually from a diagnostic scan looking at something else — that they have a lesion in their pancreas that could morph into pancreatic cancer, they can panic. They insist on having frequent CT scans and biopsies to monitor the lesion, or they ask for surgery. Physicians also don’t know if these abnormalities are dangerous, so the patients end up in surgery having part of their pancreas removed. Often the lesion is nothing to worry about.
But a team of international physicians, led by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has developed a profile of the patient who would be most at risk of developing lesions that are most likely to develop into cancer. Their analysis is published online today in the journal Digestive and Liver Diseases.
“The factors we found that increase risk of pancreatic cancer now allow us to separate patients as either low or high risk,” says the study’s senior author, Michael B. Wallace, M.D., MPH, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. “High-risk patients can then be scanned and biopsied more frequently or can opt for surgery, but low-risk patients don’t need such surveillance. They can be watched much less intensively.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746, firstname.lastname@example.org
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — By examining more than 3,600 postmortem brains, researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, have found that the progression of dysfunctional tau protein drives the cognitive decline and memory loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid, the other toxic protein that characterizes Alzheimer’s, builds up as dementia progresses, but is not the primary culprit, they say.
The findings, published in Brain, offer new and valuable information in the long and ongoing debate about the relative contribution of amyloid and tau to the development and progression of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s, says the study’s lead author, Melissa Murray, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.
Journalists: Video is available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A research team led by investigators from Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, and the University of Oslo, Norway, have identified a molecule that pushes normal pancreatic cells to transform their shape, laying the groundwork for development of pancreatic cancer — one of the most difficult tumors to treat.
Their findings, reported in Nature Communications, suggest that inhibiting the gene, protein kinase D1 (PKD1), and its protein could halt progression and spread of this form of pancreatic cancer, and possibly even reverse the transformation.
“As soon as pancreatic cancer develops, it begins to spread, and PKD1 is key to both processes. Given this finding, we are busy developing a PKD1 inhibitor that we can test further,” says the study’s co-lead investigator, Peter Storz, Ph.D., a cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cancer researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, have identified a molecule they say is important to survival of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) — a lethal tumor with no effective therapies. The molecule also seems to play a role in a wide range of cancers.
In an online issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, they identify Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) as an oncogenic enzyme that when inhibited and paired with another targeted drug effectively shuts down ATC cell growth and induces cell death.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Precision medicine is getting a jump-start from a new national initiative announced in President Obama's State of the Union message. One Georgia family has already experienced its benefits: genomic testing called whole exome sequencing helped Mayo Clinic neurologist Zbigniew Wszolek, M.D., solve a medical mystery that had left a boy with painful, jerking spasms that at times prevented him from walking or talking. Dr. Wszolek describes the case in a newly published article in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
As a toddler, Dustin Bennett could not keep his balance, and as he grew older, the rigid, jerking spasms mysteriously appeared and disappeared. Over time, he also developed learning disabilities.
Dustin’s adoptive mother, Linda Bennett, took him to several doctors to find the cause of his movement problems, but years of tests, medications and hospital stays came up empty for the Pearson, Georgia, family.
“I wasn’t willing to give up, because I felt there had to be an answer somewhere,” Linda says.
Journalists: Broadcast quality video is available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has received a $5.75 million gift from the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to advance the study of Lewy body dementia, a deadly disease that causes a progressive decline in mental and physical abilities. The new Mayo program is one of a few in the world dedicated to finding answers and treatments for the disease.
The gift establishes the Mayo Clinic Dorothy and Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Lewy Body Dementia Program and builds on the foundation’s previous support of Mayo research to advance awareness and understanding of Lewy body dementia. It also helps support the brain bank on Mayo’s Florida campus, which includes about 1,000 donated organs of deceased patients confirmed to have had Lewy body dementia.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs,
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Dickson are available in the downloads.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A study of more than 2,000 patients by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has dispelled the myth that cancer biopsies cause cancer to spread. In the Jan. 9 online issue of Gut, they show that patients who received a biopsy had a better outcome and longer survival than patients who did not have a biopsy.
The researchers studied pancreatic cancer, but the findings likely apply to other cancers because diagnostic technique used in this study — fine needle aspiration — is commonly used across tumor types, says the study’s senior investigator and gastroenterologist Michael Wallace, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine.
Fine needle aspiration is a minimally invasive technique that uses a thin and hollow needle to extract a few cells from a tumor mass. A long-held belief by a number of patients and even some physicians has been that a biopsy can cause some cancer cells to spread.
While there have been a few case reports that suggest this can happen — but very rarely — there is no need for patients to be concerned about biopsies, says Dr. Wallace.
“This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe,” he says. “We do millions of biopsies of cancer a year in the U.S., but one or two case studies have led to this common myth that biopsies spread cancer.” [...]
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic has named John Presutti, D.O., as chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross (Georgia), effective March 2, 2015. Dr. Presutti succeeds Kenneth Calamia, M.D., who will retire from Mayo Clinic at the end of 2015.
“Dr. Presutti is a wonderfully gifted and proven physician leader,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida. “He brings energy and passion to his work and is committed to building upon Dr. Calamia’s successful leadership and involvement in the Waycross community.”
Dr. Presutti has been with Mayo Clinic since 1997. He currently is chair of the Division of Regional Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida. He also serves as medical director for Contracting and Payer Relations and is a member of the executive operations teams in Florida and Waycross. As a family practice physician, Dr. Presutti has dedicated his career to the health and well-being of his patients and the training and education of other family medicine physicians. [...]