Northside Hospital

Dunwoody, GA, United States

Northside Hospital

Dunwoody, GA, United States
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News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

A new Consumer Reports analysis of more than 1,300 hospitals finds that 56 percent of U.S. hospitals have C-section rates above the national target for low-risk births. The report also reveals startling variations in C-section rates from hospital to hospital, even those within the same zip code. The message to mothers? Your biggest risk for an unnecessary C-section may be the hospital you choose. Roughly one in three babies born in this country, or about 1.3 million children each year, are now delivered by cesarean section, the most common surgery performed in U.S. hospitals. “Research suggests that for childbirth, women pick their doctor first, not their hospital. Our goal is to get women thinking about the hospital too, since the hospital you choose can play a big role in determining your risk of a C-section,” says Doris Peter, Ph.D., director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. The C-section hospital ratings – all free – are available online at CR.org/hospitalratings. In many cases, cesarean sections are absolutely necessary. But often they are not: Almost half are done in situations where babies could be delivered vaginally instead, according to research. “Most hospitals are doing far too many unnecessary C-sections and women, armed with this data, can help Consumer Reports send a message to hospitals that we want them to improve,” said Peter. Consumer Reports’ goal is two-fold: first, to make C-section rates public to help new moms make smart choices, and second, to use the ratings as a mechanism to bring high rates down and thus drive positive marketplace change. The risk of having a C-section is higher in the Northeast and South, and lower in the West and Midwest. Four states had C-section rates of 30 percent or higher: West Virginia (31 percent), Florida (31 percent), Louisiana (32 percent), and Nebraska (34 percent, where there is only one hospital reporting data). And four states had rates below 18.5 percent: South Dakota (17 percent), Idaho (17 percent), New Mexico (17 percent), and Minnesota (18 percent). The national benchmark set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is 23.9 percent or less. The variation among individual hospitals is even more dramatic. For large hospitals, C- section rates range from 7 percent at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York, to 51 percent at South Miami Hospital in Miami, Florida. And just outside of Miami, Hialeah Hospital had the highest C-section rate (65 percent) of all hospitals rated by Consumer Reports. Even when hospitals are located within close proximity, variations in C-Section rates can be substantial. Consumer Reports found this pattern in multiple locations including the following cities: St. Louis, Missouri; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Fort Worth, Texas. “This variation is a critical point in our analysis because there is a big, important take away for moms. You cannot afford not to know the track record of the hospital where you’re delivering,” says Peter. Furthermore, in a recent study in the journal Birth, more than half of women said they would travel 20 miles farther to have their baby at a hospital with a C-section rate that was 20 percentage points lower. Some hospitals aren’t making it easy for women to know their C-section rates, Peter said. Consumer Reports does not have data for more than half of the estimated 3,000 hospitals that deliver babies because hospitals aren’t required to report that information to the public. “We applaud those hospitals who do share their C-section data, particularly the ones who do poorly. We see this as a critical step in the direction toward greater transparency and openness,” says Peter. Most worrisome are the hospitals that perform more than 5,000 births every year and do not publicly report their data, of which there are 28. Consumer Reports contacted the three hospitals with the most births and to date, only one, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, responded. New York- Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and Northside Hospital in Atlanta did not respond to requests for comment. The following states had more than two of these large non-reporting hospitals: Florida, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. New York has a total of eight non-reporting hospitals, most of which are located in New York City: Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park; Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn; Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC; Mount Sinai St. Lukes – Roosevelt, NYC; New York Methodist, Brooklyn; New York- Presbyterian Hospital, NYC; North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset; NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC. Overall, there were 216 hospitals with C-section rates above 33.3 percent for low-risk deliveries, earning CR’s worst rating. Of these hospitals, the 22 listed below were the ones that delivered the most babies within a year. Conversely, there were 203 hospitals with rates of 18.4 percent or lower, earning CR’s best rating. Twenty- two of them were hospitals that delivered a high volume of babies. South Miami Hospital, Miami, Fla     51 Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY     44 Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ     43 Woman’s Hospital of Texas, Houston, TX     41 Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland, TX     40 Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA     39 Las Palmas Medical Center, El Paso, TX     39 Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Plano, TX     39 Memorial Regional Hospital, Hollywood, FL     38 Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, Richmond, VA     37 Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, Edinburg, TX     37 Baptist Hospital of Miami, Miami, FL     37 Riverside Community Hospital, Riverside, CA     36 Bayshore Medical Center, Pasadena, TX     35 Jackson Health System, Miami, FL     35 Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Boca Raton, FL     34 St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, Paterson, NJ     34 Medical Center at Bowling Green, Bowling Green, KY     34 Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX     34 Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, KS     34 Inova Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria, VA     34 Baptist Medical Center, San Antonio, TX     34 About Consumer Reports Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers. __________ MAY 2017 © 201​7​ Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports® magazine, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our prior written permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent unauthorized commercial use of its content and trademarks.


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"Great Sky fits all our parameters for our second investment in the Atlanta market," said David Frame, Managing Principal of Landeavor. "It's in a rapidly emerging growth corridor, easy access to north-south transportation, with modern services nearby, including the new Northside Hospital." Great Sky is partially developed with 450 occupied homes. Landeavor's purchase includes vacant developed lots, undeveloped parcels and the community's HOA amenity and open space. "The Atlanta housing and job metrics remain solid and support our desire to continue to grow our portfolio in the market," Frame said.  "We want to expand in the Southeast and Texas and feel there's a strong upside and investment potential in Atlanta." Landeavor plans to expand the housing inventory in the community by adding builders and housing products. "Our first priority is to expand the builder mix and diversify prices and products," Frame said. "We've already had several discussions with builders and are confident we will settle a deal quickly." In addition to expanding the housing stock, Landeavor plans to develop the remaining residential and commercial parcels. Great Sky borders the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir, a 411-acre reservoir formed by damming Hickory Creek in 2007. A sizable percentage of the reservoir's 15 miles of shoreline fall within Great Sky. About Landeavor:  Landeavor, LLC is a residential real estate development company with offices in Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston and Raleigh, NC. The company specializes in the development of residential communities as principal developer or joint venture. Through its distinct capital alliances, the company is uniquely positioned to invest in or develop a variety of planned communities in any stage of development. Landeavor's ownership comprises 11 communities across the Southeast and Texas, including MillBridge, recently named Charlotte's 2017 Community of the Year. For more information, visit www.Landeavor.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/landeavor-llc-purchases-second-atlanta-community-300463487.html


News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: www.businesswire.com

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A' rating to the following bonds expected to be issued by the Hospital Authority of Hall County and the City of Gainesville (the authority) on behalf of Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS): Fitch has also affirmed the 'A' rating on approximately $388 million of bonds issued by the authority on behalf of NGHS. Fitch has withdrawn the 'A' rating on the series 2014C bonds as the issuance was consolidated in with the series 2014B bonds. In addition to the series 2017A/C bonds, NGHS expects to issue approximately $188 million of series 2017B bonds. The series 2017B bonds, in addition to the security described below, will be secured by a limited property tax pledge by Hall County, GA of up to seven mills. Fitch will assign a separate rating on the series 2017B bonds based on this support. The series 2017A/B bonds are expected to be issued as fixed rate bonds and the series 2017C bonds are expected to be issued as variable rate bonds. Bond proceeds will be used to refund all or a portion of NGHS's outstanding series 2010A and series 2010B bonds, to fund various capital projects, to reimburse for prior capital expenditures and to pay costs of issuance. The series 2010A/B fixed rate refunding will be dependent upon market conditions at the time of pricing. The series 2010A/B debt service reserve funds are expected to be released upon refunding, reducing the refunding par. Pro forma maximum annual debt service (MADS) is expected to equal approximately $55.6 million and is level through 2047. The series 2017A/B/C bonds are expected to price the week of Jan. 9 through negotiation. The Rating Watch Evolving has been removed as the ratings on NGHS are not subject to a variation to the 'US Nonprofit Hospitals and Health Systems Rating Criteria'. Bond payments are secured by a pledge of the gross revenues of the obligated group and a leasehold mortgage on certain properties, including the NGMC - Gainesville. STRONG OPERATING CASH FLOW: NGHS's strong profitability is a key credit strength which helps to mitigate the system's heavy debt burden. Profitability remains strong, although at lower than historical levels, with operating EBITDA margin equal to 14% in fiscal 2016, easily exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 10.3%. STRONG MARKET POSITION: NGHS operates the only two hospitals in its primary service area (PSA) of Hall County, GA and holds a dominant 81.8% market share. Further, the service area has exhibited strong population growth which is expected to continue through 2020 at nearly double the rate of Georgia. HIGH DEBT BURDEN: NGHS's debt burden has moderated due to strong revenue growth but remains high with pro forma MADS equal to 5.3% of fiscal 2016 revenue. Despite the strong profitability, MADS coverage by EBITDA of 2.8x in fiscal 2016 is light relative to Fitch's 'A' category median of 4.5x. MIXED LIQUIDITY METRICS: Unrestricted liquidity increased 20% since fiscal 2014 to $795 million at Sept. 30, 2016 and will be bolstered by $75 million of reimbursement from the series 2017 bonds. Pro forma liquidity metrics are strong relative to operating expenses with 338 days cash on hand but are light relative to debt with 15.6x cushion ratio and 88.4% cash to pro forma debt. SUSTAINED STRONG CASH FLOW: Fitch expects that Northeast Georgia Health System will sustain its strong operating profitability, providing adequate cash flows to provide for consistent coverage metrics. A deterioration in cash flow and debt service coverage could result in negative rating pressure. NGHS, headquartered in Gainesville, GA, approximately 53 miles northeast of Atlanta, operates a total of 657 acute care beds under a single hospital license on two hospital campuses (NGMC - Gainesville and NGMC - Braselton). NGMC - Braselton opened in April 2015 on time and on budget and is located approximately 17 miles from NGMC - Gainesville and 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. Additional operations include an employed multispecialty physicians group, a physician-hospital organization (PHO) network and two skilled nursing facilities. Total consolidated operating revenues increased 35% since fiscal 2014 to $1.05 billion in fiscal 2016. The strong revenue growth reflects increased volumes, the strong population growth in the service area and the opening of NGMC - Braselton. The obligated group accounted for 87% of consolidated operating revenue and 96% of total consolidated assets in fiscal 2016. NGHS signed a definitive agreement to acquire Barrow Regional Medical Center, a 56 bed hospital located in Winder, GA. The transaction is expected to close on Dec. 31, 2016 after which the hospital will be renamed NGMC - Barrow. Operating profitability remains strong but has decreased from historical levels. Operating EBITDA margin averaged 17.8% between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2014 but decreased to 12% in fiscal 2015 and 14% in fiscal 2016. Despite the compression, operating EBITDA margin remains strong, well exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 10.3%. The compression in fiscal 2015 reflects the start-up costs for NGMC - Braselton. Fiscal 2016 results reflect increased expenses related to the implementation of a new IT system. Management is projecting operating EBITDA margin to equal 14.1% in fiscal 2017, reflecting dilution from the Barrow acquisition, and to incrementally increase each year to 16.6% in fiscal 2021. The system's strong operating profitability reflects effective cost management practices, increasing volumes and NGHS's leading market share in its service area. NGHS holds a dominant 81.8% market share in its PSA of Hall County, GA. No other hospital holds greater than 3% market share in the PSA. NGHS operates the only two hospitals in the PSA, with the closest competitor located 25 miles away. Hall County accounted for 43% of admissions in 2016. Additionally, NGHS holds a leading 26.3% market share in its secondary service area with Northside Hospital holding 16.3% market share. No other competitor holds greater than 10% market share. The system's total market share increased each year to 44.2% in 2016 from 36.7% in 2012. The growth reflects growth in both the SSA and the Braselton market. Despite the increase in pro forma debt, NGHS's debt burden is lower than historical levels due to the system's strong revenue growth. However, the pro forma debt burden remains high. NGHS's high debt burden reflects heavy capital spending to meet the growing population. Pro forma MADS is equal to 5.3% of fiscal 2016 revenue, nearly double Fitch's 'A' category median of 2.7%. In comparison, the system's prior MADS equaled 7.7% of fiscal 2013 revenues. The high debt burden requires the maintenance of strong cash flow to support coverage metrics. Despite the strong cash flow, MADS coverage by EBITDA and operating EBITDA of 2.8x and 2.6x in fiscal 2016 are light relative to Fitch's 'A' category medians of 4.5x and 3.9x, respectively. Approximately 42% of NGHS's pro forma debt is backed by a Hall County tax pledge, including the series 2017B bonds, series 2014A bonds and the series 2010B bonds (expected to be refunded by the series 2017B bonds). Pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement, the county is required to levy up to 7 mills to pay debt service if hospital system revenues are insufficient. Unrestricted cash and investments increased 20% since fiscal 2014 to $795 million at Sept. 30, 2016. The increase reflects the system's strong profitability and cash flows. Unrestricted liquidity will be further bolstered by $75 million of reimbursement proceeds from the series 2017C bonds, increasing pro forma liquidity to $870 million. Pro forma liquidity metrics, including reimbursement, are strong relative to operating expenses with 338 days cash on hand, exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 215.5. However, despite the growth over the past three years, pro forma liquidity remains light relative to NGHS's heavy debt burden with 15.6x cushion ratio and 88.4% cash to pro forma debt, comparing unfavorably with Fitch's 'A' category medians of 19.4x and 148.6%. Capital spending is expected to be moderate, averaging $143 million (141% of depreciation) over the next five years, allowing for further liquidity growth. Capital projects will be funded by approximately $75 million of series 2017C proceeds and cash flow. Unrestricted liquidity is projected to continue to increase over the next five years. Subsequent to the series 2017 bond issuance, NGHS will have approximately $984 million of bonds outstanding. Total pro forma par outstanding reflects the expected release of the series 2010A/B debt service reserve funds. Approximately 42% of NGHS's pro forma bonds outstanding are backed by the Hall County tax pledge. The pro forma debt profile will include approximately 66% underlying fixed rate bonds and 34% underlying variable rate bonds. NGHS is counterparty to three fixed payor swaps and a basis swap, including two fixed payor swaps entered into in October 2016, effectively converting approximately 19% of the total bonds to a synthetic fixed rate. No collateral was required to be posted at Sept. 30, 2016. NGHS covenants to provide annual and quarterly disclosure. 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News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

SAN DIEGO, CA - A combination of two targeted agents - one approved by the Food and Drug Administration and one undergoing testing - has demonstrated safety as well as encouraging signs of effectiveness in a phase 1 clinical trial in patients with relapsed or hard-to-treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers will report the findings at the 58th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). The combination of the approved drug ibrutinib and the novel agent TGR-1202 is being tested in patients to determine if the two agents can be safely given at the same time and whether they lead to more durable remissions in CLL and MCL compared to ibrutinib alone. While ibrutinib, which targets the cell protein BTK, often reduces the amount of cancer in patients with relapsed or drug-resistant CLL or MCL, it rarely eliminates the cancer or generates long-lasting results in MCL or high-risk forms of CLL. By pairing it with TGR-1202, which blocks the P13K-delta protein, researchers hope to disable two key parts of cancer cells' growth circuitry. As of late July, investigators had treated 28 patients - 17 with CLL, 11 with MCL - with the tandem therapy. The regimen was shown to be safe, with an 800 mg dose of TGR-1202 found to be suitable for further study. "The efficacy of the combination looks promising as well," said Dana-Farber's Matthew Davids, MD, principal investigator of the investigator-initiated trial. Davids will present the findings Monday, December 5, at 8 a.m. in Room 5AB of the San Diego Convention Center. "We have already seen a complete response - no evidence of cancer - in one patient with CLL, and several other patients are approaching complete response," Davids added. Another potential benefit of the two-drug combination is that it could offer greater flexibility in treatment, Davids remarked. Patients who need to discontinue one of the drugs because of temporary complications could continue with the other and resume the two-drug regimen when the complications subside. While enrollment of patients with CLL in the trial is complete, openings remain for patients with MCL, and the study is open at several sites across the country through the Blood Cancer Research Partnership, a Dana-Farber-led hematologic malignancies research consortium funded through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The senior author of the study is Jennifer Brown, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber. Co-authors are Haesook Kim, PhD, Alyssa Nicotra, Alexandra Savell, Karen Francoeur, RN, Jeffrey Hellman, PA-C, Caron Jacobson, MD, and David C. Fisher, MD, of Dana-Farber; Hari Miskin, MS, and Peter Sportelli of TG Therapeutics, New York, N.Y.; Asad Bashey, MD, PhD, of Northside Hospital, Atlanta, Ga.; Laura Stampleman, MD, of Pacific Cancer Care, Monterey, Cal.; Jens Rueter, MD, of Eastern Maine Medical Center; Adam Boruchov, MD, of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, Conn.; and Jon Arnason, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Research funding for the study was provided by TG Therapeutics (New York, NY). From achieving the first remissions in childhood cancer with chemotherapy in 1948, to developing the very latest new therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world's leading centers of cancer research and treatment. It is the only center ranked in the top 4 of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals for both adult and pediatric cancer care. Dana-Farber sits at the center of a wide range of collaborative efforts to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center provides the latest in cancer care for adults; Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center for children. The Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center unites the cancer research efforts of five Harvard academic medical centers and two graduate schools, while Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care provides high quality cancer treatment in communities outside Boston's Longwood Medical Area. Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique, 50/50 balance between cancer research and care, and much of the Institute's work is dedicated to translating the results of its discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Ovarian cancer growth inhibited by nanoparticle delivery of EGFR siRNA, allowing chemotherapy to starkly shrink or eliminate tumors in mice In the fight against cancer, doctors dish out combination-blows of surgery, chemotherapy and other drugs to beat back a merciless foe. Now, scientists have taken early steps toward adding a stinging punch to clinicians' repertoire. A novel targeted therapy using nanoparticles has enabled researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to purge ovarian tumors in limited, in vivo tests in mice. "The dramatic effect we see is the massive reduction or complete eradication of the tumor, when the 'nanohydrogel' treatment is given in combination with existing chemotherapy," said chief researcher John McDonald. That nanohydrogel is a minute gel pellet that honed in on malignant cells with a payload of an RNA strand. The RNA entered the cell, where it knocked down a protein gone awry that is involved in many forms of cancer. In trials on mice, it put the brakes on ovarian cancer growth and broke down resistance to chemotherapy. That allowed a common chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, to drastically reduce or eliminate large carcinomas with very similar speed and manner. The successful results in treatment of four mice with the combination of siRNA and cisplatin showed little variance. The therapeutic short interfering RNA (siRNA) developed by McDonald and Georgia Tech researchers Minati Satpathy and Roman Mezencev, thwarted cancer-causing overproduction of cell structures called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs), which extend out of the wall of certain cell types. EGFR overproduction is associated with aggressive cancers. The researchers from Georgia Tech's School of Biological Sciences published their results on Monday, November 7, 2016, in the journal Scientific Reports. Research was funded by the National Institutes of Health's IMAT Program, the Ovarian Cancer Institute, the Deborah Nash Endowment Fund, the Curci Foundation and the Markel Foundation. The new treatment has not been tested on humans, and research would be required by science and by law to demonstrate consistent results - efficacy - among other things, before preliminary human trials could become possible. The current in vivo success strengthens the idea that knocking out EGFR at the RNA level may be a worthy goal to explore in the fight against carcinomas in general. The same patented nanohydrogel packed with other types of therapeutic RNA is currently being tested for the treatment of other types cancers. EGFRs are receptors found in epithelial cells, which line organs throughout the body: Lungs, mouth, throat, intestines and others. In women, it also lines reproductive organs: Ovaries, uterus and cervix. They are long proteins that poke through the cell membrane, connecting the cell's interior with the outside. They look like squiggly worms with tiny mouths on the outside that take up a messenger protein. In a healthy cell, those messenger molecules cause EGFRs to trigger long chains of biochemical reactions that lead to the activation of genes involved in a variety of cellular functions. In carcinoma cells, the number of EGFRs present typically skyrockets. "In many cancers, EGFR is overexpressed," McDonald said. "The problem is that because of this overexpression, many cellular functions, including cell replication and resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs, are dramatically cranked up." The cell goes haywire, metabolizes too much sugar, divides too much, and resists chemotherapy. The cancer grows into a tumor and can spread through the body. An overabundance of EGFRs found in a biopsy is usually a sign the cancer is aggressive, and that patient prognosis is poor. "In 70 percent of ovarian cancer patients, EGFR is overexpressed at very high levels," McDonald said. EGFR overexpression also makes cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy by thwarting a natural defense mechanism. "The platinum-based chemotherapies used to treat ovarian cancers cause DNA damage, which switches on apoptosis," McDonald said. Apoptosis is cell suicide. When cells can't repair DNA damage, they're programmed to kill themselves to keep the damaged cells from spreading. The primary chemotherapy used to treat ovarian cancer works by coaxing cancer cells to trigger the suicide program, but having too many epidermal growth factor receptors gets in the way. "EGFR overexpression hinders apoptosis; they won't die. By knocking down EGRF, we make the cell hypersensitive to the drug. Apoptosis is reactivated," McDonald said. Existing EGFR targeted drugs called tyrosine-kinase inhibitors disrupt an EGFR function, but their success in treating ovarian cancer has been limited. "Clinicians have tried EGFR inhibitors to treat ovarian cancers for some years, and they only get about 20% of patients responding to it," McDonald said. "Apparently, the particular EGFR function inhibited by these drugs is not critical to ovarian cancer." The short interfering (si) RNA designed by the Georgia Tech researchers attacks the cancer much closer to its root. To make the protein for EGFR, RNA has to transfer its genetic code from DNA. The researchers' siRNA binds to the cell's RNA and stops it from working. "We're knocking down EGFR at the RNA level," McDonald said. "Since EGFR is multi-functional, it's not exactly clear which malfunctions contribute to ovarian cancer growth. By completely knocking out its production in ovarian cancer cells, all EGFR functions are blocked." The nanohydrogel that delivers the siRNA to the cancer cells is a colloid ball of a common, compact organic molecule and about 98 percent water. Another molecule is added to the surface of the nanohydrogel as a guide. It makes the pellets adhere to the cancer cells like sticky cluster bombs. Cancerous tissue may also be aiding the nanohydrogel in targeting it. "When you get into a tumor, there are a lot of blood vessels, and many are broken," McDonald said. "This may help the nanoparticles get passively trapped in the neighborhood of tumorous tissues." In the in vivo trials, the siRNA, which contained a fluorescent tag, allowed researchers to observe nanoparticles successfully honing in on the cancer cells. "We originally selected to target the EGFR gene because its activity is easily measured, and we wanted to use it simply as an indicator that our nanoparticle siRNA delivery system was working," McDonald said. "The fact that the EGFR knockdown so dramatically sensitized the cells to standard chemotherapy came as a bit of a surprise." At first, his team observed how the tumors responded to chemotherapy alone. Then they combined it with the nanoparticle treatment. "When we gave the chemotherapy alone, the response was moderate, but with the addition of the nanoparticles, the tumor was either significantly reduced or completely gone," McDonald said. But he tempered enthusiasm with caution. "Further work will be required to see if the treatment completely destroyed every trace of cancer cells in the tumors that disappeared, or if future recurrence is possible." If the researchers' continuing studies further prove to be consistent, the combination of the nanohydrogel with other therapeutic RNAs could represent a significant advancement in the treatment of a wide spectrum of cancers. Georgia Tech's Lijuan Wang and Dr. Benedict Benigno from Atlanta's Northside Hospital coauthored the paper. Research was funded by the National Institutes of Health's Program for Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies Program (grant 1R21CA155479-01), the Ovarian Cancer Institute at Northside Hospital, the Deborah Nash Endowment Fund, the Curci Foundation, and the Markel Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ATLANTA--Having high levels of a certain biomarker is linked to poor prognosis in African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer, while the same biomarker doesn't influence disease outcomes in white patients, according to a new study. Racial disparities in disease, particularly breast cancer, continue to pose a major challenge in healthcare. African-American breast cancer patients are more likely to suffer from a more aggressive course of disease and higher mortality compared to other racial groups. In particular, African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer have a dismal prognosis. The dire outcome of this group could indicate that high-risk, African-American breast cancer patients are not being identified as such using standard clinical prognostic tools and aren't being prescribed sufficiently aggressive treatment. Therefore, it's critical to find novel biomarkers that could identify differences in tumor biology between racial groups and serve as risk predictors to help alleviate health disparity in disease outcomes. In this study, a research team led by Georgia State University examined whether a biomarker called nuclear KIFC1, which has been associated with worse outcomes in breast cancer, can predict risk in triple-negative breast cancer, a subtype that disproportionately affects African-American women. The researchers assessed the nuclear KIFC1 biomarker in triple-negative breast cancer tissue samples from 163 African-American patients and 144 white patients who were treated between the years 2003-2008 at Grady Memorial and Emory University hospitals, 2005-2013 at Northside Hospital and 2001-2012 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. Race information in medical records was self-declared by patients. The findings are published in the online journal Scientific Reports. "We looked at the levels of nuclear KIFC1 in their tumors, and interestingly, we found that African-American women had slightly higher levels, but it was only within African-American patients that the levels mattered for their outcome," said Angela Ogden, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Ritu Aneja's laboratory in Georgia State's Biology Department. "African-American women with high nuclear KIFC1 levels tended to do poorly, whereas in white women, it didn't matter if they had high or low levels. It had no effect on their outcomes." The researchers further investigated why the biomarker only seems to matter in African-American patients by studying triple-negative breast tumor cells from African-American and white patients. "We found that if we silence the KIFC1 gene, it had a greater impact on the migration of the African-American cells than it did on the white cells," Ogden said. "It may be that for whatever reason, in African-American breast cancer tumors, KIFC1 helps the cells to migrate and spread to other parts of the body. And for reasons that we currently don't know, that's not the case in white tumors. Ultimately, it may even be that African-American patients could potentially be treated with a KIFC1 inhibitor to help prevent metastasis, but that's for future studies." The study is multi-institutional with tumor samples from breast cancer patients treated at four different hospitals, so the results can likely be generalized. To ensure certain factors didn't confound the results, the researchers adjusted for tumor stage, age at diagnosis, receipt of chemotherapy and the hospital where patients received chemotherapy. They found nuclear KIFC1 had a significant effect on outcomes in African-American patients, even after adjusting for these factors. Biomarkers of relevance to specific racial groups are starting to be explored more in scientific studies, Ogden said. "The approach of treating all patients the same, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, may not be the best approach as genetic ancestry matters," she said. "There may be biomarkers and treatments that work better for people of a certain ancestry, race or ethnicity, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach." Co-authors of the study include Chakravarthy Garlapati, Ravi Chakra Turaga, Nikita Wright, Shristi Bhattarai, Karuna Mittal, Dr. Remus Osan, Ansa Riaz, Sergey Klimov and Dr. Aneja of Georgia State; Dr. Ceyda S?nmez Wetherilt of Georgia State and Emory University School of Medicine; Dr. Padmashree C. G. Rida of Georgia State and Novazoi Theranostics; Drs. Xiaoxian (Bill) Li, Gabriela Oprea-Ilies, Uma Krishnamurti, Michelle D. Reid and Sonal Pattni of Emory University School of Medicine; Mildred Jones and Dr. Guilherme Cantuaria of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute; Dr. Meenakshi Gupta of West Georgia Medical Center; and Dr. Arundhati Rao of Scott and White Medical Center, BSWHealth in Temple, Texas. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.


News Article | November 29, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Florida Hospital Physician Group (FHPG) is pleased to announce the addition of Craig W. Burns, D.O. to the team. Dr. Burns is a board certified family medicine physician who provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages, from newborns to adults. Dr. Burns earned his medical degree from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri before completing his internship and residency in family medicine at the Northside Hospital Family Medicine Residency program in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Burns provides a comprehensive range of care from preventative medicine, pediatrics and geriatric care to acute and chronic disease management and spinal consultations. Florida Hospital Physician Group physicians and staff focus on compassionate, whole-person care with extensive knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat medical conditions with a patient-focused approach. “We are very excited to have Dr. Burns join FHPG to provide family medicine services in our new North Pinellas Medical Center in Palm Harbor. His experience and expertise in caring for patients of all ages helps us continue to meet the primary care needs of families and patients throughout the North Pinellas area,” shared Chris Jenkins, President of Florida Hospital Physician Group. Dr. Burns is located at 4705 Alternate 19, Suite B, Palm Harbor, Florida 34683, and is currently accepting new patients. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (727) 935-6477 or visit http://www.FHPhysicianGroup.com. About Florida Hospital Physician Group Florida Hospital Physician Group (FHPG) is a multi-specialty physician group, dedicated to improving the health and wellness of communities throughout the greater Tampa Bay region with more than 160 providers operating in over 45 locations representing over 25 medical specialties. FHPG offers patients the highest level of compassionate and multidisciplinary care through a broad range of medical and surgical services, as well as direct access to five local Florida Hospitals, a Long Term Acute Care facility, imaging centers, specialty and urgent care centers, rehabilitation facilities and home care agencies located throughout Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. 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.FHPhysicianGroup.com.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Continuing to scale its innovative and effective approach to workforce development, Year Up Greater Atlanta (YUGA) announced today that Stacey Ollinger is joining its Board of Directors. Ollinger is a community volunteer who specializes in planning charitable events. Ollinger and her husband Paul will host a fundraiser for YUGA on October 26, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on the rooftop at Spanx by Sara Blakely, located at 3035 Peachtree Road NE in Atlanta. One hundred guests are expected to attend. “Stacey is a phenomenal leader who is known for her creativity and philanthropic impact. We are super excited to have her join our Greater Atlanta Board as we continue to grow and provide opportunity for Atlanta’s young adults,” said Kim Williams Executive Director of YUGA. Year Up is a national nonprofit organization providing education, career training and corporate internships for young adults 18-24 year old. The 12 month workforce development program is enabling disconnected young adults to gain access to careers in Information Technology and Business. Nearly 90% of YUGA graduates are employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the yearlong program, with average starting salaries of $36,000/year. “Year Up has a proven track record in helping young adults launch careers at top companies — and transforming their lives in the process,” said Ollinger. “I’m excited to join the board and support Year Up’s philanthropic goals through fundraising events that grow the bottom line.” A veteran of the hospitality industry where she held sales leadership positions for luxury hotels in Los Angeles and New York City, Ollinger has served as a volunteer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, co-chairing high profile events, including the Spring Backyard Bash, Art Meets Music and their largest fundraiser, Hope & Will Ball in 2015. She has also held chair positions with Northside Hospital’s Cancer Institute's Wine Women & Shoes event and Fix Georgia Pets Red Carpet Fete. Ollinger lives in Brookhaven with her two children, author and comedian husband Paul and French Bulldog, Colonel Tom Parker Ollinger. Year Up partners with companies looking to hire a talented and diverse workforce. Currently, the organization enrolls 280 annually at two locations in Midtown Atlanta and Alpharetta for post-secondary education and professional skills training. In Atlanta, more than 800 alumni have graduated from the program, since 2010. About Year Up Inc. Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Its holistic approach focuses on students' professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 3,000 students a year at sites in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, the National Capital Region, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay Area, and South Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.yearup.org or http://www.youtube.com/yearupinc.


Brister K.J.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Singh R.S.,Northside Hospital | Wang H.H.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Diagnostic Cytopathology | Year: 2015

Background: The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology was published in 2008 and was implemented at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in June, 2010. Prior to this date, our diagnostic scheme was similar to the Bethesda System, except for the category of "Atypia/Follicular Lesion of Undetermined Significance" (AUS). This study evaluates the impact of the Bethesda System on the rate and the positive predictive value (PPV) of the diagnostic categories at BIDMC. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all thyroid fine-needle aspirations (FNAs) during the time periods January, 2006 to November, 2008 and June, 2010 to July, 2011 and the subsequent thyroidectomy specimens. Results: Post-Bethesda System, diagnoses that are equivocal for diverse reasons and which have wide-ranging PPVs are now all grouped into the AUS category, and the proportion of cases that are in the atypical/AUS category rose from 3.7% in the pre-Bethesda period to 12% in the post-Bethesda period. Conclusion: The AUS category has a PPV approaching 50% in our lab. This creates uncertainty regarding the appropriate management for this category and may cause unnecessary overuse of molecular testing for cases in the AUS category. © 2014 WILEY PERIODICALS, INC.

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