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Aug 14, 2015 · Vitamin D: Don’t overdo it, especially for obese teens

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dosing obese teens with vitamin D shows no benefits for their heart health or diabetes risk, and could have the unintended consequences of increasing cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides. These are the latest findings in a series of Mayo Clinic studies in childhood obesity.

Seema Kumar, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist in the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, has been studying the effects of vitamin D supplementation in children for 10 years, through four clinical trials and six published studies. To date, Dr. Kumar’s team has found limited benefit from vitamin D supplements in adolescents. The latest study, Effect of Vitamin D3 Treatment on Endothelial Function in Obese Adolescents, appears online in Pediatric Obesity.

“After three months of having vitamin D boosted into the normal range with supplements, these teenagers showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow,” says Dr. Kumar. “We’re not saying the links between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases don’t exist for children—we just haven’t found any yet.”

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

One in five American adolescents is obese, and more than a third are overweight, according to the Journal of American Medical Association. Several observational studies also have noted links between vitamin D deficiency and a host of weight-related medical complications, including cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance. As a result, caregivers and providers often start high-dose supplementation in an attempt to slow or reverse some of the clinical complications associated with obesity.

“I have been surprised that we haven’t found more health benefit,” says Dr. Kumar. “We’re not saying it’s bad to take vitamin D supplements at reasonable doses, and we know most obese teens are vitamin D deficient. We’re just saying the jury is still out on how useful it is for improving overall health in adolescents.”

This is the first of Dr. Kumar’s studies to report increased cholesterol and triglycerides during vitamin D supplementation, a finding she says might be attributed to the smaller number of children who participated in the study and the relatively short timeframe. She calls for larger, placebo-controlled studies to examine the long-term effects of vitamin D supplementation on teens and children.

Parents and providers often put obese adolescent children on vitamin D regimens — sometimes at more than 5-to-10 times the recommended daily intake — because some studies have shown a link between vitamin D in the blood and improved vascular function, says Dr. Kumar. She opted to study vitamin D in overweight teens because this population is at increased risk for chronic disease, and because of the compound’s increasing popularity as a homeopathic or complementary treatment for obesity.

Dr. Kumar notes that it is possible to ingest too much vitamin D, a condition called vitamin D toxicity or hypervitaminosis, which can result in poor appetite, nausea, vomiting and kidney complications. More information is available online.


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 and https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

Jun 18, 2015 · Beating Advanced Cancers: New Epigenomic Block for Advanced Cancer Progression

I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I will reach out to Dr. Ho’s research coordinator and team. You should also feel free to do so. Even discuss the study and press release with your treating oncologist; he or she may know whether application of this technology is appropriate for your husband’s care. Please let me know how I can help further.

Samuel Smith | Public Affairs Specialist | Mayo Clinic | External Relations – Research Communications | 507-266-0607 office | 815-535-1902 cell | smith.samuel@mayo.edu

Jun 16, 2015 · Beating Advanced Cancers: New Epigenomic Block for Advanced Cancer Progression

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — An international research team led by Mayo Clinic oncologists has found a new way to identify and possibly stop the progression of many late-stage cancers, including bladder, blood, bonebrainlung and kidney.

The precision medicine study appears online in Oncogene and focuses on kidney cancer and its metastases. Recent studies of the same epigenomic fingerprint in other cancers suggest a common pathway that could help improve the diagnosis and treatment of advanced disease across a wide variety of cancer types.

“If you think of late-stage cancer as a runaway car, most of our drugs take a shot at a tire here and there, but sometimes they miss and often they can’t stop it entirely,” says Thai Ho, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic oncologist and lead author of the study. “We believe we have identified a mechanism that seizes the cancer’s biological engine and could potentially stop it in its tracks.”

The new approach zeroes in on an epigenomic fingerprint in metastatic disease, in which the body often misinterprets a healthy genetic blueprint, producing toxic cells that run afoul of the body’s normal functions.

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

Dr. Ho and his colleagues are currently validating a test based on the newly identified epigenomic fingerprint, called H3K36me3 loss, which could help providers identify more aggressive cancers or find the best drug for the individual patient to further personalize medical care.

“This paper is the first report we know of translating this fingerprint into patient tissues, and efforts are ongoing to expand this to tumors beyond kidney cancer,” says Dr. Ho.

The test and a potential treatment are based on an emerging discipline of medical research called epigenomics, the complex biological process through which individual cells read their genetic blueprints and then determine what type of tissue to become.

Dr. Ho offers the example of honeybees as among the starkest examples of how epigenomics affects cellular function and an organism’s fate.

Throughout their life spans, all bees in a hive share the same DNA sequence. But some bees become drones, others sterile female workers, and still others the queen. Much of this differentiation can be attributed to epigenomics, says Dr. Ho.

In feeding a larval honeybee with copious amounts of a richly nutritious secretion called royal jelly, the larva will eventually develop into a queen. Chemicals present in the royal jelly, but absent in nectar and pollen, are thought to activate entirely different parts of the same bee genome — converting one larva into the queen while others, such as workers and drones, are much smaller and have shorter life spans. Similarly, cancers often subvert a cell’s normal epigenomic mechanisms to become more aggressive.

The study represents a collaborative effort from the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, spanning at all three Mayo sites: Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Mayo Clinic in Florida, and Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Scientists and physicians at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine, Van Andel Research Institute and National Cancer Centre Singapore contributed to this two-year study.

Funding comes from the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and generous benefactors of Mayo Clinic.

Co-authors of the study are: In Young Park, Ph.D., and Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., both of Texas A&M University; Hao Zhao, Ph.D., Pan Tong, Ph.D., Anh Hoang, Pheroze Tamboli, M.D., Wei Qiao, Nizar Tannir, M.D., Jing Wang, Ph.D., Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., and Eric Jonasch, M.D., of MD Anderson Cancer Center; Karl Dykema, of Van Andel Research Institute; Bin Tean Teh, M.D., Ph.D., of Van Andel Research Institute and National Cancer Centre Singapore; Federico Monzon, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine; and Mia Champion, Ph.D., Huihuang Yan, Ph.D., Alexander Parker, Ph.D., Richard Joseph, M.D., Erik Castle, M.D., and Rafael Nunez Nateras, M.D., of Mayo Clinic.


About the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine
The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is home to the Individualized Medicine Clinic, the world’s first integrated, multidisciplinary genomics clinic, serving patients with advanced cancer and diagnostic dilemmas. The center discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. Visit http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine/ for more information.

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 and https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.


Feb 25, 2015 · A. Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., Named Director of Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine

~Stewart, Keith.photoROCHESTER, Minn. — A. Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., has been appointed medical director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. Dr. Stewart is a consultant in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine.

“I am honored to have this opportunity,” says Dr. Stewart. “We will build on the excellent work of the center to date, with a renewed focus on helping our clinicians access genomics based diagnostics and therapeutics on a routine basis to improve patient care. The integrated complex care delivered at Mayo Clinic provides a unique ability to lead in the development of precision medicine advances with global impact.”

Dr. Stewart’s own research and clinical interest is in translational genomics in multiple myeloma, including both basic and clinical research to identify novel targets for therapy in multiple myeloma. A diversity of public and private institutions currently support this work: the National Cancer Institute, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as well as numerous partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry for clinical trials.

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

Dr. Stewart has served in several leadership roles across both Research and Practice at Mayo Clinic, including recent roles as Dean for Research in Arizona, chairman of the Department of Research in Arizona, membership on the Arizona Executive Operations Team, Clinical Practice Committee, Space and Capital Committee, and physician leadership of the Arizona Biomedical Corridor Project.

The Center for Individualized Medicine focuses on translational genome-based research, working to deliver high value patient outcomes across Mayo Clinic by customizing care to the individual patient’s unique genetic makeup.

Dr. Stewart will be supported in the transition by acting director, Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., and will take the place of former director, Gianrico Farrugia, M.D.

Dr. Stewart will assume the title of Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and also is recognized as the Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Professor of Cancer Research.


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 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.


Feb 20, 2015 · Recap of Sen. Klobuchar's Tour of Mayo Clinic Biorepositories

Sen. Klobuchar with Dr. Richard Weinshilboum- CIM BiobankROCHESTER, Minn. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) affirmed her commitment to medical innovation and precision medicine today during a tour of the Mayo Clinic Biorepositories’ new state-of-the-art space in northwest Rochester.

“President Obama made precision medicine a common term … and I’m delighted to be here to see first-hand the work that has been going here at Mayo Clinic for quite some time,” Klobuchar said. “We need to continue to support medical research and fund the NIH—we increasingly are facing international competition.”Sen. Amy Klobuchar tours Mayo Clinic Biobank

Obama announced the NIH’s $270 million Precision Medicine Initiative on January 20 during this year’s State of the Union Address, thrusting the relatively obscure medical term into the national spotlight and launching a national dialogue about medical innovation and genomics in clinical care.

Klobuchar called the initiative “imperative” to the future of health care in the United States and a key component of the local and state economies.

“America has always been a leader (in health innovation),” Klobuchar said. “We want those dollars, those jobs, right here in Rochester, in the Twin Cities.”

Mayo Clinic has been investing heavily in precision medicine since 2010, when it launched the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine to start bringing genomics technologies into patient care throughout the Mayo Clinic enterprise and the Mayo Clinic Health System.Sen. Klobuchar with CIM Administrator Scott Beck- CIM Biobank

The Center’s Biobank and related cryogenic storage facility represent a multi-million-dollar effort to help achieve those goals. By this summer, the Biobank expects to have enrolled 50,000 volunteer participants who also are Mayo Clinic patients. By connecting patients’ donated DNA samples with health questionnaires and electronic health information, medical researchers can conduct studies about the genomic underpinnings of disease in a fraction of the time and money it would take to recruit and consent patients one at a time.

More than 120 studies, around national health crises like cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, already make use of the Biobank—with more under review.

Already, physicians have started using individual patient genomic information to bring the right chemotherapy to cancer patients, while helping other patients avoid adverse drug reactions to routine medications, like statins and pain relievers.

Journalists: B-roll and sound bites w/ Sen. Klobuchar and Dr. Weinshilbaum are in the downloads.

Feb 19, 2015 · MEDIA ADVISORY -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar to Tour Mayo Clinic Biobank, Discuss the Precision Medicine Initiative; Media Welcome for Tour and Interviews

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will tour the Mayo Clinic Biobank and discuss the Precision Medicine Initiative with leadership from both the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and Mayo Medical Laboratories. Journalists are welcome to accompany Sen. Klobuchar and join the informational tour of Mayo Clinic’s multi-million-dollar investment in precision medicine. Mayo Clinic leadership will also be available for interviews and background discussions.

laboratory researcher working in Biobank labWHO: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., acting director, Center for Individualized Medicine; Curtis Hanson, M.D., director, Mayo Medical Laboratories.

WHAT: Walking tour of the Mayo Clinic Biobank and the Biorepositories Program of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. Photo opportunities and opportunities to discuss the Precision Medicine Initiative with Sen. Klobuchar and Mayo Clinic leadership.

WHERE: Biorepositories Building of Mayo Clinic, 2915 Valleyhigh Drive NW, Rochester, MN 55901. Entrance is behind the building.

WHEN: Friday, February 20, from 11:15 to 11:40 a.m.

NOTE: Members of the media should RSVP to 507-284-5005.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sam Smith, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu.

Jan 30, 2015 · Precision Medicine Initiative and the Mayo Clinic Biobank

Mayo Clinic is excited about the national focus on individualized medicine and what the future holds. More than half ($130 million) of the total $215 million budget request, put forth by President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, is for a national biobanking initiative that draws on existing collections across the country. Mayo Clinic has among the country’s largest collections through the Mayo Clinic Biobank and the Biorepositories Program.President Obama addressing patients, researchers, physicians about Precision Medicine

Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine have made a significant commitment to building a scalable biorepository infrastructure, which includes multiple specimen processing laboratories and centralized storage.

One of these collections is the Mayo Clinic Biobank, a collection of blood samples and health information donated by Mayo Clinic patients. The Biobank collects samples and health information from patients and other volunteers, regardless of health history. The Biobank was established at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minn., and recruitment began in April 2009. Since then, the Biobank has expanded to Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Jacksonville, Fla. and Scottsdale, Ariz., in addition to the Mayo Clinic Health System. The Biobank aims to enroll 50,000 Mayo Clinic patients by 2016 to support a wide array of health-related research studies at Mayo Clinic and other institutions.

Steve Thibodeau, David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director, Biorepositories Program facts about the Mayo Clinic Biobank.

Journalists: Soundbites with Dr. Thibodeau and b-roll of the Mayo Clinic Biobank are available in the downloads.

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

  1. Mayo Clinic Biobank is one of the country’s largest unified collections of patient samples that are matched with a standardized epidemiology questionnaire, related information from the electronic medical record, and a broad consent for use.
  2. 44,000 samples of patients from all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., are stored at -80 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). Participants range in age from 18 to 99 years old.
  3. 134 research projects are actively using Biobank samples, with more under review.
  4. The Mayo Clinic Biobank  is the largest of hundreds of sample collections at Mayo Clinic. The Grohne Building at Mayo Clinic is currently capable of storing approximately 7 million blood and DNA samples, with room to expand to about 21 million.
  5. All samples in the Mayo Clinic Biobank are de-identified before storage, making it nearly impossible for researchers (or anyone else) to misuse samples or discover a patient’s identity.

Visit http://www.mayo.edu/research/centers-programs/mayo-clinic-biobank/overview and http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine/biorepositories.asp for more information.


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 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.


Jan 23, 2015 · New Breast Exam Nearly Quadruples Detection of Invasive Breast Cancers in Women with Dense Breast Tissue

Rochester, Minn. — A new breast imaging technique pioneered at Mayo Clinic nearly quadruples detection rates of invasive breast cancers in women with dense breast tissue, according to the results of a major study published this week in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Molecular Breast Imaging (right) detected 3.6 times as many invasive cancers as digital mammography (left) in the latest study of more than 1,500 women with dense breast tissue. Results are published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Molecular Breast Imaging (right) detected 3.6 times as many invasive cancers as digital mammography (left) in the latest study of more than 1,500 women with dense breast tissue. About half of screening-age women have dense breast tissue, which digital mammography renders the same whitish shade as tumors. Results are published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is a supplemental imaging technology designed to find tumors that would otherwise be obscured by surrounding dense breast tissue on a mammogram. Tumors and dense breast tissue can both appear white on a mammogram, making tumors indistinguishable from background tissue in women with dense breasts. About half of all screening-aged women have dense breast tissue, according to Deborah Rhodes, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Breast Clinic physician and the senior author of this study.

MBI increased the detection rate of invasive breast cancers by more than 360 percent when used in addition to regular screening mammography, according to the study. MBI uses small, semiconductor-based gamma cameras to image the breast following injection of a radiotracer that tumors absorb avidly. Unlike conventional breast imaging techniques, such as mammography and ultrasound, MBI exploits the different behavior of tumors relative to background tissue, producing a functional image of the breast that can detect tumors not seen on mammography.

The study, conducted at Mayo Clinic, included 1,585 women with heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts who underwent an MBI exam at the time of their screening mammogram.

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



  • Of these women, 21 were diagnosed with cancer — five through mammography alone (24 percent or 3.2 cancers per 1,000 women) and 19 with mammography plus MBI (91 percent or 12 cancers per 1,000 women).
  • Particularly notable was the four-fold increase in detection of invasive cancers (1.9 invasive cancers per 1,000 women with mammography and 8.8 per 1,000 women with mammography plus MBI). Detection rates for noninvasive cancers were not significantly different.
  • The risk of incurring an unnecessary biopsy because of a false positive exam increased in this study, from 1 in 100 women with mammography to 4 in 100 women with mammography plus MBI. (By comparison, recent studies have shown that alternative supplemental screening techniques, such as ultrasound and MRI, generate about eight additional unnecessary biopsies per 100 women.)

“The finding that MBI substantially increases detection rates of invasive cancers in dense breasts without an unacceptably high increase in false positive findings has important implications for breast cancer screening decisions, particularly as 20 states now require mammography facilities to notify women about breast density and encourage discussion of supplemental screening options,” says Dr. Rhodes. “These findings suggest that MBI has a more favorable balance of additional invasive cancers detected versus additional biopsies incurred relative to other supplemental screening options.”

“Recent studies have reported supplemental cancer detection rates of 1.9 per 1,000 women screened with automated whole breast ultrasound and 1.2 to 2.8 per 1,000 women screened with digital breast tomosynthesis, so our finding of an additional 8.8 cancers per 1,000 women makes MBI a very compelling option for women who elect supplemental screening,” says Dr. Rhodes.

Michael O’Connor, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic scientist and inventor of the MBI technology, calls this latest study a major milestone for both safety and efficacy of the imaging device, largely because of the high detection rates achieved through low radiation exposure.

“This new study is important because it incorporates many of the advances in MBI pioneered here at Mayo Clinic and shows that studies can be performed safely, with low radiation exposure to the patient,” says Dr. O’Connor. “This means MBI is safe and effective as a supplemental screening tool.”

“We are very excited about what MBI can offer women with dense breasts,” says Amy Conners, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic’s Breast Imaging Division and a co-author of this study. “While we endorse annual mammography for all women age 40 and over, and the addition of annual MRI for women at high risk, MBI fills an important gap for supplemental screening in women with dense breasts who are not otherwise at high risk.”

The study was made possible by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and a Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


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://mayocl.in/1ohJTMS, or https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.