- News Releases
ROCHESTER, Minn. — July 31, 2012. Researchers at Mayo Clinic have completed the world's first genome-wide sequencing analysis of peripheral T-cell lymphomas, unlocking the genetic secrets of this poorly understood and highly aggressive cancer of the immune system. Andrew Feldman, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pathologist and Damon Runyun Clinical Investigator, and a team of researchers affiliated with Mayo's Center for Individualized Medicine and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, found 13 genomic abnormalities that were seen in multiple peripheral T-cell lymphomas. Of particular interest, five of these abnormalities relate to production and behavior of the p53 protein — often called the "guardian of the genome" because of the central role it plays in regulating cell life cycles and, therefore, suppressing cancers. The study, entitled "Genome-wide Analysis Reveals Recurrent Structural Abnormalities of TP63 and other p53-related Genes in Peripheral T-cell Lymphomas," is scheduled for early release in the online edition of the journal Blood at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. "Every time I diagnose a peripheral T-cell lymphoma, I know that two out of three patients will succumb to that lymphoma," says Dr. Feldman. "That's a very unsatisfying feeling, and I hope that our research can help change those statistics." Peripheral T-cell lymphomas account for about 12 percent of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and carry remarkably high mortality rates. Fewer than 35 percent of patients live five years beyond diagnosis. New diagnostic biomarkers (chemical or genetic clues in the body's system) and treatments aimed at specific subgroups of peripheral T-cell lymphomas could lead to improved outcomes, says Dr. Feldman. Developing these, however, has been a challenge for several reasons. Lymphomas that look remarkably similar under a microscope may differ substantially in their overall prognoses and responses to treatment. Additionally, scientists and doctors have a relatively poor understanding of how peripheral T-cell lymphomas develop and proliferate. "The most common type of T-cell lymphoma is called 'not otherwise specified.' It's basically a wastebasket diagnosis because we don't understand enough about the specific genetic abnormalities to be able to pinpoint subtypes of T-cell lymphomas that might trigger different treatments by the treating oncologist," says Dr. Feldman. Dr. Feldman's study will be used to improve diagnostic tests and develop targeted treatments for peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — July 30, 2012. Mayo Clinic Health System Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) is sharing in an $11 million government grant to lead the creation of a national learning collaborative among rural health care providers. The effort is part of a national partnership using the Health Care Innovation Award funded by the Affordable Care Act. "This is a great opportunity for us to share health care knowledge and best practices with our colleagues to improve health care in rural communities nationally," says Paul Targonski, M.D., Ph.D., who leads the Mayo PBRN. "It's also a great important way for us to learn from our partners' expertise and experiences in rural health care, as well as leverage research to help solve the nation's health care problems." The network is partnering with rural clinics and communities to help them work together to deliver better health care. It is leading the efforts within the grant to create and evaluate the outcomes of sustainable local learning collaboratives that will drive health practice improvements. Partners in the project include Mineral Regional Health Center, Superior, Mont.; The Appalachian Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institute Consortium, Pikeville, Ky.; iVantage Health Analytics, Portland, Maine; and Montana's frontier and rural health care communities. The specific award, the "Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership," is intended to develop and implement a network to standardize operations and efficiencies across Montana's medical practices, including tertiary care centers, critical access hospitals, and rural health clinics. Training will be provided to participating sites, and support will include health improvement specialists, electronic health record specialists and data analysis.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — July 25, 2012. Massive crowds from around the globe will mingle in London during the Olympics, and that means a world-class array of germs will mix with them. Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert Gregory Poland, M.D., offers several tips for avoiding illness when you are around lots of people, whether at the Olympics, a professional football game, convention, arena concert or other major event. MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video clips of Dr. Poland will be available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network. "The big ones that we're worried about in terms of the Olympics are things that are currently epidemic in certain parts of the world, including the U.S. Those would include pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and of course, when you have people coming from the Southern Hemisphere, this is their influenza season," says Dr. Poland, the Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine and director of the Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic. Whenever you're in a venue with hundreds of thousands of people gathering, particularly from all corners of the world, you automatically run increased risk, Dr. Poland says. The people around you may not have the same immunization programs or the same standards of personal cleanliness or food safety, he adds. Besides illnesses such as pertussis, measles, mumps, colds and flu, other heightened dangers in places with large numbers of people passing through include respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis; vermin such as head lice and bedbugs; food-borne sickness such as E. coli, salmonella, hepatitis A and traveler's diarrhea; and skin conditions including athlete's foot and staph infections. Dr. Poland offers these tips for sidestepping illness: Keep your vaccines up to date: The most important ones include the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella; the seasonal flu shot; and a relatively new vaccine called Tdap, for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis. Vaccination against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is particularly important as epidemics spring up around the United States and the world, Dr. Poland says. England and other parts of Europe have also had measles outbreaks, he says. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, particularly before leaving a restroom, eating or touching your face. Wash your hands for about 20 seconds, roughly as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." When visiting a public restroom, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door when leaving, to avoid recontaminating your hands with the plethora of germs on public faucets and door handles. Dine carefully: If it's not cooked well, boiled or peeled, forget it. Seek out food that requires little handling when prepared. Make sure food that is supposed to be hot is served hot and food that is supposed to be cold is served cold, and make sure dishes and utensils are clean. Wear shower shoes/pool shoes when using the shower or pool in public places. Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs or whirlpools unless you are certain they are properly maintained. It's particularly hard for consumers to tell whether a hot tub or whirlpool is sanitary, and if it is not, bacterial, skin and pulmonary infections are a danger, Dr. Poland says. Don't smoke: It raises the odds you'll get Legionnaires' disease if you're exposed to the legionella bacteria, and can also make you more susceptible to respiratory illnesses in general. Don't try on hats in stores: To minimize the risk of getting head lice, if you buy a hat, seal it in a plastic bag to carry it home, then freeze it for several days or launder it before wearing. Scout for bedbugs before taking a hotel room, and once in a room, only place your luggage on wooden surfaces or in the bathtub, not on the floor, bed, chair or couch until you determine whether bedbugs are present. Be an advocate for your health: If someone near you is obviously ill, move away if you can, or ask to be reseated. If a server's hands touch your food or the rim of your glass or cup, don't be embarrassed or hesitant about asking for a new serving or moving on and eating elsewhere.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — July 11, 2012. Mayo Clinic and 18 other leading medical research institutions nationwide are urging congressional leaders to maintain current funding levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They say medical research funding is essential for the health of the nation and the economy. NIH-funded research happens in all 50 states, and occurs in large and small communities across the nation — strengthening the economy and creating jobs. It is estimated that every $1 million in federal research funding creates at least 16 jobs in a community. The institutions also ask that a federal salary cap for NIH-funded researchers be returned to its previous level. The letter says the pay cut to scientists will drive some away and make recruitment of "the best and the brightest" even more difficult. Most medical research at U.S. academic medical centers — whether laboratory studies or clinical trials — is supported by NIH dollars. That includes research in all key disease areas: all types of cancer; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders; heart and lung diseases; diabetes and obesity; genetic conditions; infectious diseases; mental illness and more. Almost any major advance or therapy in these areas has involved NIH funding. In recent years, inflation and budget cuts have led to cuts in award amounts and the number of grants. In the past, one-third of grant applications received funding in many disciplines. Now only 12 percent in some areas win funding. Difficulty obtaining grants has driven some experienced researchers from their scientific careers and made many students think twice about research as a career choice. Those signing the letter are: Arizona State University Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute Duke University School of Medicine Henry Ford Health System Mayo Clinic New York University School of Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine University of California Health System University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus University Hospitals Case Medical Center University of Michigan Health System University of Minnesota The University of Texas at Arlington The University of Texas System University of Utah School of Medicine University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health University of Wisconsin System Vanderbilt University Text of the letter sent to the U.S. Congress follows: The undersigned institutions are recognized as some of the leading research and academic medical centers in the United States. We appreciate the opportunity to bring to your attention two issues that dramatically impact the research function of our institutions: National Institutes of Health (NIH) — It is critically important that the NIH continues to be recognized as a national priority. We strongly urge your consideration of funding NIH at the $32 billion level in the FY 2013 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Executive Pay Scale/Salary Cap — The restoration of the salary limit imposed on extramural NIH researchers to Level I of the Executive Pay Scale is critical to our ability to attract and retain the most qualified researchers to our institutions and the field. We urge your inclusion of the salary cap restoration during your subcommittee's deliberations.