Cedars-Sinai medical tipsheet for June 2005

06/20/05

MOLECULAR CHANGE OCCURRING DURING BRAIN TUMOR PROGRESSION ALSO EVIDENT IN BREAST CANCER
A molecular change that takes place in the newly formed blood vessels of progressing brain tumors have now been documented in the most common type of breast cancer, as well. The molecular shift occurs in major proteins called laminins, important constituents of blood vessels. As tumors become increasingly invasive, the laminins normally found in blood vessels become altered in the blood vessels of the tumors as part of a process that enables the tumors to grow and metastasize. Observing these changes in the tissue of individual patients may offer physicians a way to accurately diagnose breast carcinoma and predict further development. The molecular mechanism itself is seen as a future target for therapy aimed at cutting off the oxygen and nutrients tumors require.

AFTER LUNG VOLUME REDUCTION SURGERY, EMPHYSEMA PATIENT LOOKS FORWARD TO YARD WORK
Lung volume reduction surgery is undergoing a renaissance as a treatment for emphysema – the nation's fourth leading cause of death – in part because a major National Institutes of Health study published in 2003 identified which patients were viable candidates. Much of that research was conducted by Cedars-Sinai physicians and surgeons. Charlotte Kelley, diagnosed with emphysema more than 25 years ago, recently underwent LVRS. "There are just so many things that are a breeze now," she said. "… I no longer spend every moment thinking about whether I can do this or do that, or if I'm going to be able to breathe or not."

STAR JONES REYNOLDS, PAULETTA AND DENZEL WASHINGTON AWARD SCHOLARSHIPS IN MAY 19 CEREMONY
Star Jones Reynolds, Pauletta and Denzel Washington, and neurosurgeon Keith Black awarded scholarships to two young neuroscientists during a May 19 ceremony in New York. Kimberly Idoko and Ksenia Prosolovich will conduct research in neuroscience under the direction of noted physicians and scientists.

MANY CONGENITAL ANOMALIES IN BABIES AND CHILDREN ARE NOW TREATED WITH MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY, RESULTING IN LESS DISCOMFORT, QUICKER RECOVERY AND FEWER COMPLICATIONS
"When it comes to surgery and how kids' bodies heal, it's important to realize that children are not small adults, and they respond differently than do their larger counterparts," says Gregory Fontana, M.D., director of the multi-disciplinary pediatric surgical specialists program at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Advances in technology have made it possible for surgeons to perform many pediatric operations with minimally invasive techniques. Philip K. Frykman, M.D., Ph.D., has been named associate director of pediatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai, and specializes in minimally invasive treatment for many congenital anomalies in babies and children.

FLUORESCENCE DEVICE TO DIAGNOSE ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND TUMORS DESCRIBED AT OPTICS CONFERENCE
At a conference on optics and photonics, the director of the Biophotonics Research and Technology Development Laboratory of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Surgery described the development of an experimental fluorescence spectroscopy device that has been able to diagnose dangerous atherosclerotic plaques (vulnerable plaques) and aggressive brain tumors (gliomas).

BLADDER PACEMAKER TREATMENT RELIES ON ELECTRICAL PULSES TO REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF URGE INCONTINENCY
According to the American Urogynecologic Society, 13 million Americans experience incontinence and 11 million of them are women. When traditional treatments aren't effective, some patients with severe urge incontinence are experiencing good results with an implantable "bladder pacemaker" that generates electrical pulses to decrease the number of bladder contractions. This, in turn, reduces the symptoms of urgency and frequency associated with urge incontinence.

PANCREAS TRANSPLANT DIRECTOR DONALD DAFOE, M.D., JOINS CEDARS-SINAI'S TRANSPLANT TEAM AS INCIDENCE OF TYPE 1 DIABETES CONTINUES TO CLIMB
Donald Dafoe, M.D., has been named director of the Pancreas Transplant Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Dafoe served as chief of transplantation surgery at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and at Stanford University Medical Center. Pancreas transplant is considered a therapeutic option for patients with type 1 diabetes. Serious complications of the disease include kidney failure, hardening of the arteries, blindness and even death.

TARGETED CANCER DRUG COMBINED WITH A PILL FORM OF LOW-DOSE CHEMOTHERAPY FOUND TO SHRINK TUMORS AND SLOW PROGRESSION OF RECURRENT OVARIAN CANCER
A targeted cancer drug given with low-dose chemotherapy shrank ovarian tumors and slowed progression of ovarian cancer in patients with recurrent disease, according to research findings presented by Agustin Garcia, M.D., principal investigator of the study and Director of Breast Cancer Research at the Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The targeted drug, bevacizumab (AvastinTM), is one of a new class of "anti-angiogenesis" drugs that prevents the growth of blood vessels that feed cancer tumors.

PATIENTS WITH METABOLIC SYNDROME AND MODERATE LEVELS OF CORONARY CALCIUM FOUND TO HAVE A GREATER CHANCE OF HAVING BLOCKED ARTERIES, AS DETECTED ON A STRESS IMAGING TEST
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that patients with metabolic syndrome – a cluster of risk factors for heart disease – and a moderate level of calcium in the coronary arteries had a greater chance of having blockage of those arteries, as detected on a stress imaging test. The findings, reported in the June issue of Diabetes Care, show that analyzing a patient's metabolic profile in relation to their coronary calcium levels will help physicians identify patients who need stress testing so that effective treatment measures can be taken. Daniel Berman, M.D., the Director of Cardiac Imaging at Cedars-Sinai is available for interviews.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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