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News Article | May 9, 2017

Today, Fundamental announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to support critical research into psychedelic-assisted therapies in mental health and cognition. This is the first large-scale fundraising campaign with an aim to secure funding for the most advanced US and UK research initiatives in the field. With one in four Americans currently suffering from a mental health issue, new therapies that offer lasting benefits are needed now more than ever. Although new studies into psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy offer promising relief for a variety of mental illnesses, due to their classification as Schedule I drugs, the research currently depends on the support of a few private donors and institutions. Fundamental’s first campaign plans to raise funds for ongoing studies on psilocybin & end of life distress, psilocybin & alcoholism, and MDMA & PTSD at a number of organizations, including the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) as well as future studies on LSD microdosing as part of the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme in London. The Fundamental campaign is the brainchild of Rodrigo Niño, CEO of Prodigy and an accomplished real estate developer in New York. Known for crowdfunding commercial properties in Manhattan and democratizing access to investments for smaller investors from around the world, Niño is now taking a similar approach to philanthropy. He is also a cancer survivor who has experienced the positive effects of psychedelics firsthand. “At 41, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Metastatic Melanoma, with survival odds about 1 in 3 over the next five years,” he said. “We are prepared to know that we will die, but we are never prepared to know when. That is essentially the sum of all fears; it creates a profound traumatic event.” Like many patients with a terminal cancer diagnosis, Niño experienced severe “end-of-life anxiety.” “That near death experience changed me in a number of ways. It opened the door for somebody like me—science driven, rational, numbers driven—to start looking for alternative treatments to ease my suffering when traditional medicine failed me,” Niño continued. He traveled to the Peruvian jungle to partake in an ayahuasca ceremony. After spending a night with a curandero, his fear of dying was gone. Since then, he’s been on a mission to find scientific validation to determine what happened to him and has immersed himself into the research of psychedelics in treating mental illnesses. Once back home in New York, he found Dr. Stephen Ross, Director of Addiction Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, who recently led an internationally acclaimed study on psilocybin treatment for end-of-life distress in patients with life-threatening cancer. “After meeting Dr. Ross, I came across research from all over the world from the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme to MAPS, which showed even more potential for a host of other mental illnesses,” continued Niño. “I knew then as I know now that this is some of the most important scientific work I had ever come across. I’ve made it my mission to support scientific research into treatments that can offer real change in the lives of people suffering from mental illness and their families.” Dr. Ross’s study found that, when administered under psychologically supportive, double-blind conditions, a single dose of psilocybin produced rapid, substantial and enduring improvements in cancer-related depression, anxiety and existential distress as well as improvements in quality of life. “Dealing with the reality of cancer is a terrifying experience and it deeply affects patients and their families. Forty to fifty per cent of cancer patients will have diagnosable anxiety or depression,” said Ross. “Our initial studies into psilocybin are showing great promise for people suffering from end-of-life depression and anxiety. However, to bring these treatments to patients, it is necessary to conduct a multisite study in a larger and more diverse patient population.” Another study led by Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, Professor of Psychiatry at NYU Langone, and Dr. Ross is investigating psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol addiction. The preliminary results have shown strikingly positive outcomes; wherein following the first psilocybin session, percent heavy drinking days and percent drinking days lowered significantly from the baseline level. “Addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs is the leading preventable cause of death and disability globally,” explained Bogenschutz. “Our proof-of-concept study has shown positive outcomes, but controlled trials will be necessary to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments and bring them to the public, which is why initiatives like Fundamental are so critical.” In a pooled analysis of 103 participants across six Phase 2 studies on improvement in PTSD symptoms after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, statistically significant differences were found. Twelve months after treatment with MDMA, 68% of participants experienced long-term improvement and did not meet criteria for PTSD. An international team of researchers led by MAPS Founder and Executive Director, Rick Doblin, Ph.D., have completed Phase 2 trials and are working with the FDA to prepare for Phase 3 trials. “In our Phase 2 pilot studies, we treated over 100 participants who had chronic PTSD and treatment-resistant symptoms. Neither prior medications nor long periods of psychotherapy had worked for them,” said Doblin. “If the results of Phase 3 trials, which we’re starting this year, are remotely comparable to our Phase 2 results, and if we receive the necessary funding, then we can expect FDA approval by 2021.” Lastly, Fundamental aims to fund a new study focused on optimising LSD microdosing led by Amanda Feilding, Founder & Director of The Beckley Foundation, and Co-Director of the Beckley Imperial Research Programme. “For decades, we have seen anecdotal evidence that microdosing improves mood and well-being, enhances cognition, increases productivity, and boosts creativity,” remarked Feilding. “Now we have the opportunity to undertake the first controlled scientific investigation, including the latest brain imaging technology, into the effects of microdosing LSD, thereby finally establishing whether the claims about its benefits are true.” Fundamental’s campaign will be live on the Fundamental website on May 9, 2017. Supporters can choose which of the four studies they wish to donate to. For more information or to schedule an interview with Fundamental spokespersons, contact their PR Agent Borjana Slipicevic at +1.778.858.2595.

News Article | May 12, 2017

NEW YORK, May 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- NYU Langone Medical Center raised over $5.2 million at its annual Violet Ball, held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in New York City on the evening of May 11. Thomas S. Murphy, former chairman and CEO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. was...

News Article | May 11, 2017

Osteoarthritis (OA) - also referred to as degenerative joint disease - is the most common form of arthritis, a general term used to describe a range of conditions that cause pain or disease in the joints. The new study, led by the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that injecting the vital cell molecule adenosine into the joints can prevent OA in rat models of the disease. OA most commonly affects the hips, hands, and knees, and it results from the gradual wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint and stops them rubbing against each other. The degeneration of cartilage in OA progresses slowly and, as time goes by, the joint swells and becomes painful and stiff. In some cases, OA can reduce function and disable a person so much that they cannot lead a normal life. In fact, the condition can become so disabling - particularly when the knee or hip is affected - that there may be a need for surgery to replace the joint. The new study concerns various activities of a molecule called adenosine that is essential for cell function and, as the research reveals, is also important for maintaining cartilage. Cartilage comes from substances secreted by cells called chondrocytes. Having a regular supply of healthy chondrocytes is essential for producing and maintaining cartilage. The researchers investigated the role that adenosine plays in maintaining a healthy supply of chondrocytes. They note in their study paper that adenosine levels inside and outside cells are "tightly controlled" by cellular , oxygen consumption, and the workings of mitochondria - the pockets inside cells that produce the energy for the cell. Mitochondria supply the cell with energy in the form of chemical units called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and adenosine is a byproduct of ATP metabolism. It was already known that aging and inflammation reduces ATP production in chondrocytes, which in turn reduces levels of adenosine. However, until this study, it was not clear how that might relate to OA. One of the main discoveries of the study is that reduction in chondrocytes, and therefore greater risk for OA, is driven not only by lower levels of adenosine surrounding the cells, but also by loss of signal-receiving proteins called adenosine A2A receptors on the surface of the cells. If a chondrocyte has no A2A receptors, then it cannot pass the signals from the adenosine molecules surrounding them to their internal machinery. Loss of such signals impairs the cell's ability to maintain cartilage. The researchers found that mice lacking A2A receptors could not walk as easily as mice with the receptors. On closer examination, they also found OA in the knees of the mice without A2A receptors. Curiously, the team also found that chondrocytes of rats with OA had raised levels of A2A receptors. They suggest that this is because of a "failed attempt" to make up for the loss of adenosine caused by inflammation-induced changes in ATP metabolism. When they examined tissue samples of patients who had received replacement joints at NYU Langone because of OA, the researchers found that their chondrocytes also had higher levels of adenosine A2A receptors. Probing further into the link with ATP metabolism, the team treated mouse chondrocytes with IL-1beta - a molecule that promotes OA. They found that the inflamed chondrocytes produced 39 percent less ATP and showed an 80 percent reduction in a molecule that transports ATP. The team then showed that reducing adenosine levels by removing the enzyme that allows it to be produced from ATP led to OA in mice. It is known that humans who do not have this enzyme also develop OA. The researchers also showed that injecting adenosine into the joints of rats with anterior cruciate ligament - a cause of OA in humans - prevented the animals from developing OA. Senior investigator Bruce Cronstein, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone, says that the study "suggests that diminished ATP and adenosine production are likely contributing factors to the development of osteoarthritis in aging individuals." He adds that should their findings lead to successful therapies, then they could delay, and perhaps even prevent, the need for the million or so joint replacements that are carried out in the U.S. every year. He also notes that: Learn how knee joint degeneration can be slowed with weight loss.

News Article | May 10, 2017

New York, NY - The Center for Excellence in Engineering Biology today announced funding for a pilot study entitled "Engineering Prototrophy in Mammalian Cells," which will aim to generate versions of human cells that can grow with significantly reduced external nutrients (e.g. 'prototrophic'). The support comes through a grant of approximately $500,000 awarded to Columbia University by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The objective of the pilot project is to generate human cells that can produce metabolites - small molecules needed for growth. Longer-term, the study could help generate new information about the biochemical environment needed for mammalian development, cell differentiation, and nutrition-associated aging processes. Information from the project may also lead to more efficient methods of synthesizing drugs and biologics produced in mammalian cell lines. The principal investigators of the funded project are Harris Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University, and Jef D. Boeke, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Systems Genetics, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU Langone Medical Center. This project is the first of several anticipated pilot projects currently seeking support as part of the Genome Project-write (GP-write) Grand Challenge, a multi-center, international technology initiative focused on DNA synthesis and the engineering of metabolic pathways, led by a multi-disciplinary group of scientific leaders and coordinated by the Center for Excellence in Engineering Biology. "It's really amazing to think we can see what happens if we restore to mammalian cells grown in dishes signaling pathways that were lost millions of years ago in evolution," said Boeke. He added, "I believe this is an example of genome engineering in human cells that will not only generate new knowledge, but may help us solve a practical problem in biotechnology." "By engineering mammalian metabolism, we will not only learn about how cells use nutrients to grow, but also how those processes, when they go awry, can contribute to diseases such as cancer," said Wang. "It's exciting to embark on this pilot project as a part of the GP-write Grand Challenge. I'm look forward to working with many others in this global effort," he added. GP-write, which has no direct affiliation with DARPA, will focus on using synthesis and genome editing technologies to understand, engineer and test model organisms as well as less tractable human and plant cell lines. The goal of GP-write is not only to deepen an understanding of life but to develop pragmatic technology of general use in biology, improving the cost and quality of DNA synthesis, and DNA assembly in cells. Planning for GP-write has been underway for the past three years, through a series of meetings of scientists, culminating in a Science publication in June 2016 and a white paper in November 2016. The funding announcement was made at a meeting of GP-write held this week at the New York Genome Center in New York City. The meeting agenda included discussions about roadmaps for the project, including scientific direction, technology development, ethical, social and legal engagement, standards and infrastructure development, amongst others. Scientific topics included the introduction and discussion of new Pilot Projects and the creation of an Industry Consortium. GP-write will be implemented through the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology, a new, independent nonprofit organization that will manage planning and coordination efforts. These efforts include supporting the formation and work of multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research teams working in a highly integrated fashion, responsive to and engaged with a broad public outreach. Nancy J Kelley, J.D., M.P.P., is the lead executive of GP-write and the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology.

Rosenkrantz A.B.,NYU Langone Medical Center
American Journal of Roentgenology | Year: 2016

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to characterize trends related to retracted publications within radiology journals. MATERIALS AND METHODS. PubMed was queried to identify all articles with the publication type "retracted publication" or "notification of retraction." Articles published within radiology journals were identified using Journal Citation Reports' journal categories. Available versions of original articles and publication notices were accessed from journal websites. Citations to retracted publications were identified using Web of Science. Overall trends were assessed. RESULTS. Forty-eight retracted original research articles were identified within radiology journals since 1983, which included 1.1% of all PubMed "retracted publication" entries. Distinct PubMed entries were available for the retracted publication and retraction notification in 39 of 48 articles. The original PDF was available for 37 articles, although the articles were not watermarked as retracted in 23 cases. In six cases with a watermarked PDF, further searches identified nonwatermarked versions. Original HTML versions were available for 13 articles but 11 were not watermarked. The mean (± SD) delay between publication and retraction was 2.7 ± 2.8 years (range, 0-16 years). The mean number of citations to retracted articles was 10.9 ± 17.1 (range, 0-94 citations). Reasons for retraction included problematic or incorrect methods or results (although it typically was unclear whether these represented honest errors or misconduct) in 33.3% of cases, complete or partial duplicate publication in 33.3% of cases, plagiarism in 14.6% of cases, a permission issue in 8.3% of cases, the publisher's error in 6.3% of cases, and no identified reason in 6.3% of cases. One or no retractions occurred annually from 1986 to 2001, although two or more retractions occurred annually in nine of the 12 years from 2002 through 2013. CONCLUSION. Retraction represents an uncommon, yet potentially increasing, issue within radiology journals that publishers have inconsistently and insufficiently addressed. Greater awareness and training in proper biomedical research conduct, as well as establishment and enforcement of standardized publishers' policies, are warranted. © American Roentgen Ray Society.

Both oxytocin and oxytocin receptors are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly autism which involves a severe deficit in social cognition. Consistently, oxytocin enhances social cognition in humans and animals. The infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex (IL-mPFC) is believed to play an important role in the regulation of social cognition which might involve top-down control of subcortical structures including the amygdala. However, little is known about whether and how oxytocin modulates synaptic function in the IL-mPFC. The effect of oxytocin on excitatory neurotransmission in the IL-mPFC was studied by examining both the evoked and spontaneous excitatory neurotransmission in the IL-mPFC layer V pyramidal neurons before and after perfusion with oxytocin. To investigate the effect of oxytocin on synaptic plasticity, low-frequency stimulation-induced long-lasting depression was studied in oxytocin-treated brain slices. Oxytocin produced a significant suppression of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the IL-mPFC layer V pyramidal neurons which was mediated by a reduction in glutamate release. Activation of the cannabinoid CB1 receptors was involved in this pre-synaptic effect. Treatment of brain slices with oxytocin for 1 h converted long-lasting depression into long-lasting potentiation of glutamatergic neurotransmission. This oxytocin-mediated plasticity was NMDA receptor-dependent and was mediated by the synaptic insertion of calcium-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl- 4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors. The aforementioned suppression of basal glutamatergic neurotransmission and facilitation of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the IL-mPFC might be critical for the effect of oxytocin on social cognition. © 2011 International Society for Neurochemistry.

Bosniak M.A.,NYU Langone Medical Center
Radiology | Year: 2012

In the past 25 years, there have been continuous advances in the diagnosis of disease throughout the body owing to the introduction of new technology and the experience gained with its use. However, the imaging and evaluation of complicated cystic lesions of the kidneys frequently remains a difficult problem. The classification of renal cystic lesions suggested 25 years ago, now referred to as the Bosniak renal cyst classification, remains pertinent to the diagnosis and management of these difficult-to-diagnose complicated cystic masses. © RSNA, 2011.

Gourevitch M.N.,NYU Langone Medical Center
Academic Medicine | Year: 2014

Optimizing the health of populations, whether defined as persons receiving care from a health care delivery system or more broadly as persons in a region, is emerging as a core focus in the era of health care reform. To achieve this goal requires an approach in which preventive care is valued and "nonmedical" determinants of patients' health are engaged. For large, multimission systems such as academic medical centers, navigating the evolution to a population-oriented paradigm across the domains of patient care, education, and research poses real challenges but also offers tremendous opportunities, as important objectives across each mission begin to align with external trends and incentives. In clinical care, opportunities exist to improve capacity for assuming risk, optimize community benefit, and make innovative use of advances in health information technology. Education must equip the next generation of leaders to understand and address population-level goals in addition to patient-level needs. And the prospects for research to define strategies for measuring and optimizing the health of populations have never been stronger. A remarkable convergence of trends has created compelling opportunities for academic medical centers to advance their core goals by endorsing and committing to advancing the health of populations.

Erlebacher A.,NYU Langone Medical Center
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2013

The immune cells that reside at the interface between the placenta and uterus are thought to play many important roles in pregnancy. Recent work has revealed that the composition and function of these cells are locally controlled by the specialized uterine stroma (the decidua) that surrounds the implanted conceptus. Here, I discuss how key immune cell types (natural killer cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and T cells) are either enriched or excluded from the decidua, how their function is regulated within the decidua, and how they variously contribute to pregnancy success or failure. The discussion emphasizes the relationship between human and mouse studies. Deeper understanding of the immunology of the maternal-fetal interface promises to yield significant insight into the pathogenesis of many human pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and congenital infection. © Copyright 2013 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Megibow A.J.,NYU Langone Medical Center
AJR. American journal of roentgenology | Year: 2012

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this perspective is to document an experience with the adoption of dual-energy CT (DECT) for routine clinical imaging. CONCLUSION: Successful implementation of DECT requires that technologists understand standards of image quality, be empowered to select appropriate patients, and understand networks for image routing. Radiologists need minimal facility with workstations to access the information embedded in DECT. DECT can be performed at a reduced effective radiation dose compared with single-energy CT and with lower doses of IV contrast material.

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