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AUGUSTA, Ga. (Dec. 19, 2016) - Scientists are using "gene scissors" to cut off the code of a defective gene that results in progressively weaker muscles and death in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and replace it with a synthetic code they hope will one day restore healthy life to these patients. "We want to use genetically corrected stem cells to replace the stem cell pool and make new muscles that function normally," said Dr. Yaoliang Tang, cardiovascular researcher in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Tang is a principal investigator on a new $2.6 million National Institutes of Health grant that is enabling the studies in an animal model of the genetic disorder. Every gene has a code that tells it what protein(s) it will ultimately express. In the case of the dystrophin gene in this disease, the code is telling the DNA to tell the RNA to make a short, dysfunctional form of dystrophin, a protein in the muscle cell membrane that is essential to the structural integrity of muscle cells. "It's a construction piece," Dr. Mark Hamrick, bone biologist in the MCG Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, said of dystrophin. Muscle cells are normally strong but constantly under stress as we move, breathe and exercise, often experiencing tears but typically rapid repair as well. But in these patients, muscle cells are weak, more prone to injury and death and end up being replaced with small, even weaker muscle fibers. "You have so much regeneration that you get these weak little fibers; they are almost like a neonatal-type fiber; they are so small and weak," Hamrick said. Healthy, strong muscle tissue is soon replaced by weak, dysfunctional fibrous tissue. So the scientists are using technology called CRISPR-Cas9 to cut the problematic piece of the dystrophin gene out of muscle cells, and replace it with a synthetic code that enables normal dystrophin. They will ultimately return to their mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy a progenitor muscle cell that is now expressing longer dystrophin and making stronger muscle cells that will eventually repopulate the weak muscle mass. They are starting with muscle cells from the mouse model and reverting them to a stem-cell like state, called induced pluripotent stem cells. The pluripotent stem cells, which can make any cell type, can be derived from embryonic tissue, but a decade ago, Japanese scientists developed a method to make induced versions from essentially any cell type - such as a muscle cell - a development that would garner a Nobel Prize. The MCG scientists will coax the induced pluripotent stem cells to become muscle progenitor cells, the precursor for the healthy muscle cells needed. The fact that the cells that will ultimately be returned, started with the individual - or the mouse in the case of this basic science study - also reduces concerns that giving the cells will result in a severe immune system response, Tang said. Gene editing also is more efficient in pluripotent stem cells than mature cells, he added. The additional benefit of starting with a muscle cell is that cells have some genetic memory, so these have a predisposition to become muscle cells again, Tang said. "It's going to home to the muscle and differentiate into a muscle cell. So it's going to go back in and rebuild everything," said Hamrick, a co-investigator on the new grant. One concern with using any type of stem cell is the possibility that these cells will also produce cancer. To diminish that possibility, Tang is adding a small molecule called Plurisin#1 to the mix that selectively targets stem cells for elimination. "After we do the gene editing and make the muscle progenitor cells, we just want to remove any tumor-potential pluripotent cells remaining before returning cells to the animal," Tang said. To further aid efficacy, they will use techniques like brief periods of ischemia and reperfusion in the muscles, a technique that Tang has shown will attract stem cells and enhance their activity. They also are engineering nano-sized compartments containing the stem-cell attracting protein SDF-1α for delivery to the dying muscle tissue. CRISPR-Cas9 enables scientists to edit problematic genes by using the Cas9 enzyme for cutting and an RNA molecule that helps identify the right target. The technology can be used to edit a gene, and, as in the case of Tang's study, to also reinsert a substitute. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Symptoms of weakness tend to rise between the ages of 3-5 in the condition that is far more common in males. Early on, patients can have trouble standing, keeping their balance and raising their arms. Death often results from respiratory and/or heart failure, since strong muscles are needed to drive these basic life functions. This fall, scientists at China's Sichuan University became the first to use the technology clinically to disable a gene, which can block the immune response, in the immune cells of a patient with aggressive lung cancer. Cancer typically uses the gene to its advantage to weaken the body's attack against it. The scientists then increased the immune cell number and injected them back into the patient. Additional trials are expected next year. It likely will be several years before the MCG scientists know whether their basic science studies will result in these types of clinical trials for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Tang and Hamrick said. Current therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy include steroids, bracing and physical therapy. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug eteplirsen for patients, a controversial decision - despite the welcome news for parents and children - because the clinical trial was only in a dozen patients and because of questions about whether the drug sufficiently increases levels of dystrophin. Dr. Neal L. Weintraub, associate director of MCG's Vascular Biology Center and Georgia Research Alliance Herbert S. Kupperman Eminent Scholar in Cardiovascular Medicine, also is a principal investigator on the multiple principal investigator NIH grant.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Chronic inflammation after a heart attack can promote heart failure and death. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have now shown that activated T-cells -- part of the immune system's inflammatory response -- are both necessary and sufficient to produce such heart failure. "These studies," Shyam Bansal, Ph.D., Sumanth Prabhu, M.D., and colleagues write in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, "provide important proof-of-concept for T-cells as disease mediators in heart failure." Two key experiments demonstrated this necessary and sufficient role for the activated T-cells, which presumably attack heart muscle tissue in an auto-immune fashion. The first key experiment involved removing a specific subset of activated T-cells from mouse models. Treating the mice with antibodies against CD4+ T-cells four weeks after experimental heart attacks -- to deplete that subset of T-cells -- prevented the progressive abnormal enlargement of the left ventricle that leads to heart failure, as compared with untreated mice. The second key experiment showed the effect of transferring activated T-cells from heart-attack mice to healthy mice. When spleen CD4+ T-cells were transferred from heart-attack donor mice to naïve recipient mice, they induced long-term left ventricle dysfunction, fibrosis and enlargement, hallmarks of heart failure. These findings could translate to the clinic, the researchers say. "Our data suggests that targeting specific immune cell subsets at defined stages of disease may represent a better approach to therapeutic immunomodulation to improve heart failure." Nearly one-quarter of people suffering heart attacks in the United States develop heart failure. Overall, patients with heart failure have a 50 percent chance of survival in five years. The current research evolved out of an impactful 2013 paper that was named one of the five most outstanding papers in Circulation Research for the year. In Remodeling of the Mononuclear Phagocyte Network Underlies Chronic Inflammation and Disease Progression in Heart Failure: Critical Importance of the Cardiosplenic Axis, Prabhu and colleagues showed that immune cells that are stored in the spleen were intricately involved in the heart failure that follows a heart attack, or infarction, in a mouse-model system. The splenic immune cells that invaded the heart tissue included pro-inflammatory macrophages and dendritic cells. Since a primary function of the dendritic cells is to present an antigen to T-cells, to activate the T-cells and begin the immune response, the researchers suspected that T-cell activation in the heart tissue, and perhaps heart-tissue injury caused by T-cells, might be central to the pathological heart enlargement that is called remodeling. Normally, the inflammatory response to tissue damage after infarction -- death of muscle tissue in a heart attack -- has two stages. First there is a beneficial, early acute inflammation response that removes dead cells and begins repairs to the injured area. Then, in healthy healing, the acute inflammation resolves, and a healing process follows. One problem in heart failure is a nonresolving, persistently overactive inflammation at the heart. T-lymphocyte cells are distinguished by surface markers. The group of T-cells that have CD4 contains many subsets that have specialized functions. These include pro-inflammatory T helper cells, or Th1, that produce interferon-γ and interleukin-2, or IL-2; anti-inflammatory Th2 cells that produce IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13; pro-inflammatory Th17 cells that secrete IL-17; and immunomodulatory regulatory T-cells, or Tregs, that globally suppress activation of immune responses. So the UAB researchers began to look for changes in subsets of T-cells over an eight-week period after heart attack. They found the CD4+ T-cells were globally expanded and activated during chronic ischemic heart failure, and that there was an expansion of memory T-cells in the spleen. In particular, they found significant expansion of CD3+CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells and CD3+CD4+ helper T-cells in circulating blood, as well as increased CD4+ subsets of Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg cells, indicating a pro-inflammatory response. In the failing heart, they found increased CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells, and increased Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg CD4+ subsets. They also found a marked reduction of the Th1/Th2 ratio, and an increased Th17/Treg ratio, as well as upregulation of the inflammatory Th2-type cytokines. In the spleen and mediastinal lymph nodes, they found significantly increased Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg cells. The spleen showed increased expansion of antigen-experienced effector and memory CD4+ T-cells. Memory T-cells are the cells that become primed to mount a specific immune response when an antigen from a pathogen or injured tissue appears a second time. Memory cells are why vaccination is effective; however, in the case of heart failure, memory cells may be responsible for an ongoing capacity of T-cells to injure the heart. At UAB, Prabhu is the Mary Gertrude Waters Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, and he directs the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and the Comprehensive Cardiovascular Center, UAB Department of Medicine. Besides Prabhu and Bansal, authors of the paper, "Activated T-lymphocytes are essential drivers of pathological remodeling in ischemic heart failure," are Mohamed Ameen Ismahil, Ph.D., Mehak Goel, Ph.D., Bindiya Patel, Tariq Hamid, Ph.D., and Gregg Rokosh, Ph.D., all of the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease. Bansal and Prabhu also are part of the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center medical service.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

BOSTON - A new study led by clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) testing the safety and effectiveness of anticoagulant strategies for patients with atrial fibrillation who undergo stenting procedures has shown that therapies combining the anticoagulant drug rivaroxaban with either single or dual anti-platelet therapy (DAPT) were more effective in preventing bleeding complications than the current standard of care. Principal Investigator C. Michael Gibson, MD, Chief of Clinical Research in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at BIDMC, reported the new research findings today online in The New England Journal of Medicine and simultaneously presented the findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016 in New Orleans. The PIONEER AF-PCI randomized clinical trial involved more than 2,100 patients at 430 sites in 26 countries. Each year, nearly 1 million patients in the United States undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and are implanted with stents positioned to treat narrowed coronary arteries. Following PCI, patients receive dual anti-platelet therapy - a combination of aspirin and a second blood-thinning medication - to prevent the formation of blood clots in the stent. Approximately 5 to 8 percent of patients undergoing PCI have atrial fibrillation, the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia and an important risk factor for stroke. These patients typically take a blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin), to prevent stroke. "In managing the stented patient with atrial fibrillation, a pharmacologic strategy must carefully balance the risk of stent thrombosis, or blood clot, with the risk of bleeding complications," said Gibson, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the PERFUSE (Percutaneous/Pharmacologic Endoluminal Revascularization for Unstable Syndromes Evaluation) Study Group. "This trial, which tested two entirely new strategies, now provides us with randomized clinical trial data demonstrating that a combination of rivaroxaban with anti-platelet therapy is successful in minimizing bleeding while preventing clotting." Current guidelines call for combining three drugs - DAPT plus a vitamin K antagonist (VKA) anticoagulant - in a strategy known as "triple therapy." But as the authors note, this approach may result in excess major bleeding rates of 4 to 12 percent within the first year of treatment. The PIONEER AF-PCI trial studied men and women over age 18 with atrial fibrillation who had undergone a PCI procedure with stent placement. The study subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Group 1 received reduced dose rivaroxaban plus a P2Y-12 inhibitor monotherapy; Group 2 received very low dose rivaroxaban plus DAPT; and Group 3 received VKA plus DAPT. The findings showed that among patients with atrial fibrillation who underwent intracoronary stent placement, the administration of rivaroxaban in one of two dose strategies reduced the risk of clinically significant bleeding in about one out of every 10 to 11 patients as compared with triple therapy including a vitamin K antagonist. The risks of rehospitalization and death from all causes were also reduced in about one out of every 10 to 15 cases. "This new treatment strategy benefits patient health as well as hospital finances," added Gibson. The PIONEER AF-PCI study is supported by Janssen Scientific Affairs LLC, and Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals. Study coauthors include BIDMC investigators Serge Korjian, MD and, Yazan Daaboul, MD,; Roxana Mehran, MD, and Jonathan Halperin, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York; Christoph Bode, MD, of the University of Freiburg, Germany; Freek W.A. Verheugt, MD, of Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis (OLVG), Amsterdam; Peter Wildgoose, PhD, Mary Birmingham, PharmD, Juliana Ianus, PhD, and Paul Burton, MD, PhD, of Jansen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Martin van Eickels, MD, of Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Gregory Y.H. Lip, MD of The University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Services, Birmingham, UK; Marc Cohen, MD, of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ; Steen Husted, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital, Herning, Denmark; Eric D. Peterson, MD, MPH of Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC; and Keith AA Fox, MB, ChB, of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, UK. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit http://www. .


News Article | November 30, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The Digestive Health Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa has dedicated a new center in remembrance of George Mickle, a former patient who passed away from esophageal cancer at age 52 in 2014. The new Mickle Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer, unveiled in a public ceremony on November 14, is a symbol of the practice’s focus and commitment to provide education, awareness, research, and innovation to citizens of the Tampa Bay area for appropriate treatment options available for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other esophageal disorders, including esophageal cancer. “The Mickle family, through their generosity in George's memory, has given us an invaluable podium from which to speak about GERD and esophageal cancer,” says Dr. Alexander Rosemurgy. “As thought leaders in American medicine with decades of experience in treating these disorders, this center brings meaningful recognition to our years of work and accomplishments. Yet, much needs to be done. Their generosity compels us to continue to push for advances in patient education and care; our fight is not done.” Members of George’s family and close friends traveled from all over the country to join his team of physicians, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and nurses and members of the community to unveil the new center. George’s widow, Maeve Mickle, will work with the Hospital and the Digestive Health Institute to help raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of GERD and esophageal cancer, with a focus on their link. George was a patient of Drs. Sharona Ross and Alexander Rosemurgy, who are nationally recognized in endoluminal, laparo-endoscopic single site (LESS) and complex abdominal robotic surgery. Together, these physicians have worked on developing one of the nation’s largest registries for patients with digestive disorders, including GERD and esophageal cancer. “George was the love and light of my life,” says Maeve Mickle. “He valiantly and bravely fought and I promised him that I would continue the fight and our journey, with the hope that we can help prevent another family from going through what we endured,” she continued. “Over the past 30 years, the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased 56 fold in the US. In response to this outrageous, yet preventable, increase, we dedicated an entire center for reflux and esophageal cancer at the Digestive Health Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa,” says Dr. Sharona B. Ross. “We intend to raise public awareness of these awful diseases. Esophageal adenocarcinoma is highly associated with chronic acid reflux and its therapies. This cancer can largely be prevented with a very minimally invasive operation for reflux. Our center provides state of the art, innovative diagnostic testing and surgical treatments for both acid reflux and esophageal cancer.” GERD is one of the most common health disorders in the United Stated, affecting up to 20% of Americans’ daily life and accounts for over 9 million annual medical office visits. Over 10 billion dollars are spent annually on anti-reflux medications in the United States. This is why Florida Hospital Tampa recognizes this disease’s vast reach and intends to inspire Tampa Bay to prospectively address this condition. Many experts believe the overuse of anti-reflux medications is one of the contributing factors to the increased number of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 there was approximately 16,910 patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and around 15,690 deaths occurring from the disease. Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer with an estimated survival rate of less than 20%. We are working to change this through awareness and education. For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Mickle Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer, please call (813) 615-7300. About Florida Hospital Tampa Florida Hospital Tampa is a not-for-profit 527-bed tertiary hospital specializing in Digestive Health, Cardiovascular Medicine, Neuroscience, Orthopedics, Women’s Services, Pediatrics, Oncology, Endocrinology, Bariatrics, Wound Healing, Sleep Medicine and General Surgery, including minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures. Also located at Florida Hospital Tampa is the renowned Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, a recognized leader in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and leading-edge research. The recent addition of the Doc1st ER shows that Florida Hospital Tampa is committed to providing compassionate and quality healthcare. Part of the Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital is a leading health network comprised of 26 hospitals throughout the state. For more information, visit http://www.FHTampa.org.


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute has been awarded accreditation with distinction by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority in hyperbaric medicine. This accreditation identifies the Institute as providing patients with advanced care and patient safety. Only a few hospitals and facilities have earned this distinction. This is the second time the Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute has received this prestigious accreditation. The super oxygenation offered by hyperbaric treatments can help heal those with wounds caused by diabetes, poor circulation, traumatic injury, radiation therapy and other causes commonly identified as chronic non-healing wounds. In order to receive the UHMS accreditation, the Institute underwent an inspection by expert evaluators. The accreditation process involved an in-depth look at the Institute’s commitment to staffing and training, equipment installation, operation, maintenance, facility and patient safety and standards of care. More than 1,600 individual standards had to be successfully met to receive accreditation. “This accreditation demonstrates Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute’s commitment to providing our community with the highest quality, compassionate patient care,” said Dr. Xavier F. Cannella, Medical Director of the Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute. “Our team members have worked very hard to accomplish this goal and we are very pleased to announce this achievement.” For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute, please call (813) 615-7161. About UHMS The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) was formed in 1967. It is an international nonprofit association serving some 2,000 physicians, scientist, associates and nurses from more than 50 countries in the fields of hyperbaric and dive medicine. The UHMS is an important source of scientific and medical information pertaining to hyperbaric medicine involving hyperbaric oxygen and diving through its bimonthly, peer-reviewed journal. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, symposium, workshops, books and other publications. It organizes an annual scientific meeting at different U.S. and international locations to permit review of the latest in research and treatment and to promote the highest standards of practice. For more information about the UHMS and why accreditation is important visit http://uhms.org. About the Wound Healing Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa The Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing Institute brings together a team of physicians, nurses and certifies technologist to provide individualized treatment plans and comprehensive therapies to treat problematic or chronic wounds. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment allows the body’s natural wound-healing mechanisms, which are oxygen dependent, to function more efficiently. The Wound Healing Institute provides a multidisciplinary approach to chronic wound care that creates the best possible outcomes for patients. Approximately 92% of all wounds treated in our center are healed within just 16 weeks. We are located at 3000 Medical Park Drive, Ste. 430 Tampa, Fl. 33613. For more information about the Florida Hospital Wound Healing Institute, visit http://www.FHTampa.org or call (813) 615-7161. About Florida Hospital Tampa Florida Hospital Tampa is a not-for-profit 527-bed tertiary hospital specializing in Digestive Health, Cardiovascular Medicine, Neuroscience, Orthopedics, Women’s Services, Pediatrics, Oncology, Endocrinology, Bariatrics, Wound Healing, Sleep Medicine and General Surgery, including minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures. Also located at Florida Hospital Tampa is the renowned Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, a recognized leader in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and leading-edge research. The recent addition of the Doc1st ER shows that Florida Hospital Tampa is committed to providing compassionate and quality healthcare. Part of the Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital is a leading health network comprised of 26 hospitals throughout the state. For more information, visit http://www.FHTampa.org.


WYNNEWOOD, PA, March 03, 2017-- Dr. Howard J. Eisen has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Inspired by a personal interest in the field, Dr. Eisen has dedicated his career to advancing cardiovascular medicine. His journey started at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology and an MD, respectively, and continued at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a medical intern and resident of medicine. Dr. Eisen did his Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes Hospital. Dr. Eisen proceeded to acquire various academic roles for the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University. He has served as the Thomas J. Vischer professor of medicine at Drexel's College of Medicine since 2004 and as a member of study section for the National Institutes of Health since 1999. Over the years, he has worked in the areas of cardiology, cardiovascular disorders, heart failures and transplants, and general clinical research.In order to keep abreast of changes in his field, Dr. Eisen affiliates himself with the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Transplantation, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and the American Federation of Clinical Research. He is also a diplomate through the American Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the American Board of Cardiovascular Diseases. Dr. Eisen is Boarded by the ABIM in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease and Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology. Notably, he has been named a top doctor in Philadelphia Magazine and Castle & Connolly's Top Doctors in America every year since 1996, and in 2006, he was awarded the Alumni Service Award through the American Federation of Clinical Research. Dr. Eisen has also been featured in the 1st through 8th editions of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and five editions of Who's Who in Science and Engineering.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

HAMBURG, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) is pleased to announce that LAB282, the £ 13 m (over EUR 15 m) drug discovery partnership with Oxford University, has made its first wave of awards, backing projects targeting cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases. Launched last year in November as a partnership between Oxford University, Evotec, Oxford University Innovation Ltd and Oxford Sciences Innovation plc, LAB282 aids the rapid translation of research outputs into new drug discovery and development programmes. It draws on expertise provided by Evotec and combines it with pre-clinical proof-of-concept grant funding to accelerate projects into a position where they can be commercialised and scaled up efficiently and effectively. Out of a pool of high-quality project proposals across various therapeutic areas and encompassing different therapeutic modalities, two projects were chosen. The two grant winners will be conducting further research into: - "Drugs from bugs" - A project developing evasins, a potential treatment for cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases derived from the saliva of ticks; - DarTG - A potential new target for the development of antibiotics that could shut down tuberculosis and several other pathogens. Evotec will exclusively contribute its drug discovery expertise and platforms to the selected projects and together with Oxford University and its academic researchers develop them further with the aim to have a pre-clinical proof of concept for new drugs. The next round of grants awards is due in June 2017. Dr Thomas Hanke, LAB282 Expert-in-Residence and Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, commented: "I am excited and very pleased we were able to select two outstanding and truly translational projects from a panel of high-quality applications for the first round of LAB282 awards. My cordial congratulations go to Prof. Bhattacharya and Dr Ahel and their teams for their excellent work. I am very much looking forward to closely collaborating with the Oxford University and Evotec teams in accelerating bona fide drug discovery from the awarded projects." Shoumo Bhattacharya, British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Oxford University and lead academic on the evasins project, said: "The LAB282 funding, which brings Evotec's world-class expertise in the development of peptide therapeutics and in inflammation to the evasin project, will help the development of new therapeutics - 'drugs from bugs' - that can treat orphan autoimmune diseases such as myocarditis." Carolyn Porter, Deputy Head of Technology Transfer, Oxford University Innovation, added: "The LAB282 partnership was established to accelerate drug discovery at Oxford University. This funding will enable the evasin project to enter the clinic more rapidly for the benefit of patients with cardiovascular autoimmune disorders for which there is no cure. Through validation of DarTG role in bacterial growth and function, our second funded project could uncover a new strategy for development of antibiotics." The "drugs from bugs" project will be looking to develop evasins, which are peptides derived from the saliva of ticks. Ticks have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and have been evolving these peptides to block chemokines, which are proteins in the body that recruit inflammatory cells to the site of injury. The research team led by Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya have developed a new "Bug-to-Drug" technology to find these tick peptides in order to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that are currently incurable. In this project, they will use these peptides to target chemokines that cause giant cell myocarditis ("GCM"), a rare autoimmune disease with no cure. GCM usually affects young adults, progressing rapidly to heart failure and death. There is no specific treatment except for a heart transplant. The second project, with Dr Ivan Ahel, looks to validate translational research on DarTG toxin-antitoxin system, a pathway found in tuberculosis. Essentially a back door around tuberculosis' defences, DarTG could be a potential target for small molecules, which could shut down the bacteria. If the project demonstrates that DarTG is the pathogen's Achilles' Heel, it will pave the way for a new class of antibiotics. Aside from offering a potential new therapy for tuberculosis, which will become a greater threat as antibiotic resistance increases, DarTG could also be a weakness in Escherichia coli, superbug Klebsiella pneumonia, and other gram-negative pathogens. LAB282, initiated in November 2016, is a new £ 13 m partnership between the Oxford University, Oxford University Innovation Ltd, Oxford Sciences Innovation plc and Evotec AG created to identify and develop new approaches to treating serious diseases, which originate from the Oxford University. The goal is to accelerate the achievement of pre-clinical proof of concept for new drugs and to generate new spin-out companies. The name derived from the pantone colour code of "Oxford Blue". For more information, please visit www.lab282.org. The Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe, with over 2,500 people involved in research and more than 2,800 students. The University is rated the best in the world for medicine, and it is home to the UK's top-ranked medical school. From the genetic and molecular basis of disease to the latest advances in neuroscience, Oxford is at the forefront of medical research. It has one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the UK and great expertise in taking discoveries from the lab into the clinic. Partnerships with the local NHS Trusts enable patients to benefit from close links between medical research and healthcare delivery. A great strength of Oxford medicine is its long-standing network of clinical research units in Asia and Africa, enabling world-leading research on the most pressing global health challenges such as malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and flu. Oxford is also renowned for its large-scale studies which examine the role of factors such as smoking, alcohol and diet on cancer, heart disease and other conditions. Oxford Sciences Innovation plc is the world's largest IP investment company dedicated to a single university. Founded in May 2015, we help turn Oxford University's world-leading scientific discovery into innovative science and technology companies that can have a positive impact on society. We provide capital and expertise to businesses driven by intellectual property developed in Oxford's Mathematical, Physical, Life Sciences Division and Medical Sciences Divisions. We are guided and powered by some of the world's leading organisations, including Invesco, Woodford Investment Management, the Wellcome Trust and Lansdowne Partners. Oxford University Innovation supports innovation activities across all University Divisions, managing technology transfer and consulting activities, and providing an innovation management service to clients around the world. We provide access to technology from Oxford researchers through intellectual property licensing, spinout company formation and material sales, and to academic expertise through our Consulting Services team. The New Venture Support & Funding team supports investors or donors with an interest in early-stage ventures, and manages the Oxford Angels Network. Our Startup Incubator supports members and ex-members of the University who wish to start or grow entrepreneur-driven ventures that are not University spinouts. Oxford University Innovation is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked 1st in the UK for university spin-outs, having created over 140 new companies in 25 years. In the last reported financial year we completed 529 licenses and consulting agreements. Isis Enterprise, our innovation management consultancy, works with university, government and industrial clients from offices around the world. For updates on innovations from Oxford, follow Oxford University Innovation on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe at http://innovation.ox.ac.uk/about/contact-us. For more information or to arrange interview, please contact: Gregg Bayes-Brown, Marketing and Communications Manager, Oxford University Innovation T: +44 (0)1865 280867 | E: gregg.bayes-brown@innovation.ox.ac.uk Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry's need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology and infectious diseases. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of more than 70 partnered product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term discovery alliances with partners including Bayer, CHDI, Sanofi or UCB and development partnerships with e.g. Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the field of Alzheimer's disease, with Sanofi in the field of diabetes, with Pfizer in the field of tissue fibrosis and Celgene in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com. Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

Dr. Thomas Hanke, LAB282 Expert-in-Residence und Head of Academic Partnerships bei Evotec, kommentierte: "Es freut mich sehr, dass wir aus der Liste der Bewerbungen für die erste Runde der LAB282-Förderung zwei herausragende und wirklich translationale Projekte auswählen konnten. Meine herzlichen Glückwünsche gehen an Prof. Bhattacharya und Dr. Ahel mit ihren Teams für ihre ausgezeichnete Arbeit. Ich freue mich besonders darauf, eng mit der Oxford University und den Evotec-Teams zusammenzuarbeiten, um in den geförderten Projekten beschleunigt solide Wirkstoffkandidaten zu finden." Shoumo Bhattacharya, British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine an der Oxford University und führender Wissenschaftler im Evasine-Projekt, sagte: "Die Finanzierung durch LAB282 bringt Evotecs weltweit führende Expertise bei der Entwicklung neuartiger Peptid-Therapeutika auf dem Gebiet der Entzündungskrankheiten mit dem Evasin-Projekt zusammen. Dies wird die Entwicklung der sogenannten "Drugs from Bugs", beschleunigen, mit denen seltene Autoimmunerkrankungen wie Myokarditis behandelt werden können." Carolyn Porter, Deputy Head of Technology Transfer, Oxford University Innovation, fügte hinzu: "Die LAB282-Partnerschaft wurde etabliert, um die Wirkstoffforschung an der Oxford University zu beschleunigen. Durch die Finanzierung wird das Evasin-Projekt schneller in die klinische Phase kommen - zum Nutzen der Patienten mit kardiovaskulären Autoimmunerkrankungen, für die es noch keine Heilung gibt. Durch die Validierung der Rolle von DarTG beim Wachstum und in der Funktion von Bakterien könnte unser zweites Projekt eine neue Strategie für die Entwicklung von Antibiotika aufzeigen." Mit über 2.500 Forschern und mehr als 2.800 Studenten ist der Bereich einer der größten biomedizinischen Forschungszentren in Europa. Die Oxford University ist weltweit führend im Bereich Medizin und beheimatet die höchstplatzierte Medical School in UK. Oxford ist Vorreiter in der medizinischen Forschung, von der Genetik und molekularen Grundlage von Krankheiten bis zu neuesten Fortschritten im Bereich Neurowissenschaften. Die Universität verfügt über das größte Portfolio klinischer Studien in UK sowie umfangreiche Expertise im Voranbringen von Forschungsansätzen in die Klinik. Partnerschaften mit lokalen NHS Trusts ermöglichen es Patienten, an dieser engen Verbindung zwischen medizinischer Forschung und Gesundheitsversorgung teilzuhaben. Eine große Stärke dieses Bereichs an der Oxford University besteht in dem langjährigen Netzwerk aus klinischen Forschungseinrichtungen in Asien und Afrika, so dass weltweit führende Forschung hinsichtlich der größten Herausforderungen der globalen Gesundheit wie Malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS und Grippe betrieben werden kann. Oxford ist darüber hinaus bekannt für seine großangelegten Studien, die die Auswirkungen von Rauchen, Alkoholkonsum und Ernährung auf Krebs- und Herzerkrankungen sowie weitere Erkrankungen untersuchen. Oxford University Innovation unterstützt alle Aktivitäten der Bereiche der University, darunter die Verwaltung von Technologietransfers und Beratungsaktivitäten, und bietet Kunden weltweit Leistungen im Bereich Management von Innovationen. Wir bieten Zugang zu Technologien von Oxford-Wissenschaftlern durch die Lizenzierung von geistigem Eigentum, Unternehmensausgründungen und Verkäufen sowie zu akademischer Expertise durch unser Consulting Services-Team. Das New Venture Support & Funding-Team ermöglicht Investoren oder Stiftungen Anteile an frühphasigen Unternehmen zu erwerben und verwaltet das Oxford Angels Network. Unser Startup-Inkubator unterstützt Mitglieder und ehemalige Mitglieder Universität dabei, Unternehmen zu gründen und voranzubringen, die keine Ausgründungen der Universität sind. Oxford University Innovation ist führend unter den Universitäten in Hinblick auf die Anzahl der Patente in UK und ist mit über 140 neuen Unternehmen in 25 Jahren Nummer eins bezüglich Universitätsausgründungen. Im letzten veröffentlichten Geschäftsjahr wurden 529 Lizenzen und Beratungsvereinbarungen abgeschlossen. Isis Enterprise, unsere Beratungseinheit für Innovationsmanagement, arbeitet eng mit Universitäten, der Regierung sowie industriellen Kontakten weltweit zusammen. Um Neuigkeiten zu Innovationen von Oxford zu erhalten, können Sie Oxford University Innovation auf LinkedIn und Twitter folgen oder besuchen Sie den folgenden Link: http://innovation.ox.ac.uk/about/contact-us. Für weitere Informationen oder Interviews: Gregg Bayes-Brown, Marketing and Communications Manager, Oxford University Innovation T: +44 (0)1865 280867 | E: gregg.bayes-brown@innovation.ox.ac.uk Evotec ist ein Wirkstoffforschungs- und -entwicklungsunternehmen, das in Forschungsallianzen und Entwicklungspartnerschaften mit führenden Pharma- und Biotechnologieunternehmen, akademischen Einrichtungen, Patientenorganisationen und Risikokapitalgesellschaften innovative Ansätze zur Entwicklung neuer pharmazeutischer Produkte zügig vorantreibt. Wir sind weltweit tätig und bieten unseren Kunden qualitativ hochwertige, unabhängige und integrierte Lösungen im Bereich der Wirkstoffforschung an. Dabei decken wir alle Aktivitäten vom Target bis zur klinischen Entwicklung ab, um dem Bedarf der Branche an Innovation und Effizienz in der Wirkstoffforschung begegnen zu können (EVT Execute). Durch das Zusammenführen von erstklassigen Wissenschaftlern, modernsten Technologien sowie umfangreicher Erfahrung und Expertise in wichtigen Indikationsgebieten wie zum Beispiel Neurowissenschaften, Diabetes und Diabetesfolgeerkrankungen, Schmerz und Entzündungskrankheiten, Onkologie und Infektionskrankheiten ist Evotec heute einzigartig positioniert. Auf dieser Grundlage hat Evotec ihre Pipeline bestehend aus mehr als 70 verpartnerten Programmen in klinischen, präklinischen und Forschungsphasen aufgebaut (EVT Innovate). Evotec arbeitet in langjährigen Forschungsallianzen mit Partnern wie Bayer, CHDI, Sanofi oder UCB zusammen. Darüber hinaus verfügt das Unternehmen über Entwicklungspartnerschaften u. a. mit Janssen Pharmaceuticals im Bereich der Alzheimer'schen Erkrankung, mit Sanofi im Bereich Diabetes, mit Pfizer auf dem Gebiet Organfibrose und mit Celgene im Bereich neurodegenerative Erkrankungen.. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf unserer Homepage. www.evotec.com.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Atlantic Health System’s Annual Heart Failure Awareness Week Symposium will highlight the latest research, programs, and clinical advances in heart failure. The 6th annual, day-long scientific symposium, to be held on February 17, during National Heart Failure Awareness Week, will feature ten Atlantic Health System clinicians presenting on topics including: Claire G. Boccia Liang, MD, FACC, Director of the Women’s Heart Program at Atlantic Health System, will present a keynote on congenital heart disease. “As a nationally recognized leader in cardiology, Atlantic Health System is committed to ensuring that its medical teams have access to the latest research, technology, and care delivery models so patients with heart failure receive optimal treatment that will both prolong and improve the quality of life,” said Linda Gillam, MD, MPH, chair, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Atlantic Health System. “The Annual Heart Failure Awareness Week Symposium also affords attendees a chance for discussion and healthy debate among multi-disciplinary care teams.” Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, is a leading non-profit health care delivery system in New Jersey. Our network includes Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ; Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ; Newton Medical Center in Newton, NJ; Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ; Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ; and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation, and Atlantic Home Care and Hospice. It also includes its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Health System comprises 1,747 licensed beds, more than 14,000 employees and more than 4,000 physicians. Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University; is part of Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the largest ACOs in the nation, and is a member of AllSpire Health Partners.


News Article | December 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In a study published online by JAMA Cardiology, Euan A. Ashley, M.B., Ch.B., D.Phil., of the Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., and colleagues assessed the feasibility of measuring physical activity, fitness, and sleep from smartphones and to gain insight into activity patterns associated with life satisfaction and self-reported disease. Studies have established the importance of physical activity, fitness, sleep, and diet for cardiovascular health, yet these studies were completed with time-consuming, in-person measurements with substantial reliance on participant recall. Mobile technology, in particular advances in smartphone sensors, offers a new approach to the study of cardiovascular health and fitness. Direct measurement of activity through always-on, low-power motion chips provides a promising alternative to questionnaire-based approaches. In 2015, Apple Inc. introduced an open-source framework to facilitate clinical research and standardization of data collection. One of the launch smartphone apps for the framework, MyHeart Counts, is a cardiovascular health study administered entirely via smartphone, incorporating direct sensor-based measurements of physical activity and fitness, as well as questionnaire assessment of sleep, lifestyle factors, risk perception, and overall well-being. From the launch to the time of the data freeze for this study (March to October 2015), the number of individuals (self-selected) who consented to participate was 48,968, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their median age was 36 years, and 82 percent were male. In total, 40,017 (82 percent of those who consented) uploaded data. Among those who consented, 42 percent completed 4 of the 7 days of motion data collection, and 9 percent completed all 7 days. Among those who consented, 82 percent filled out some portion of the questionnaires, and 10 percent completed the 6-minute walk test, made available only at the end of 7 days. "Our study found 5 main results. First, we demonstrate the feasibility of consenting and engaging a large population across the United States using only smartphones. Second, we show that large-scale data can be gathered in real time from mobile devices, stored securely, transferred, deidentified, and shared securely, including with participants. Third, we find that a data set for the 6-minute walk test larger than any previously collected could be generated in weeks. Fourth, we report that state transition patterns of activity, not just absolute activity, relate to the reported presence of disease. Fifth, we conclude that there is a poor association between perceived and recorded physical activity, as well as perceived and formally estimated risk," the authors write. "Most important, we also present the major challenges and limitations of mobile health research, including the skewed age and sex of participants, plus the rapid drop-off in engagement over time, with the resulting loss of data collection for several measures. To realize the promise of this novel approach to population health research, participant engagement needs to be optimized to maximize full participation of those who have expressed at least enough interest to download the app and consent to join the study." "Large-scale, real-world assessment of physical activity, fitness, and sleep using mobile devices may be a useful addition to future population health studies," the researchers conclude. Editor's Note: The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, received in-kind (software development) support from Apple Inc. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, etc.

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