News Article | May 9, 2017
Each night before “Greg” goes to bed he brushes and flosses his teeth. Then he double-checks the instructions on the dark brown bottle his nurse gave him before he unscrews the cap and tips five drops of a light-amber, oily liquid onto a spoon. The brew, glistening from the light of the bathroom fixture, is tasteless and has no odor he can detect. But it’s chock-full of bacteria. He sloshes the substance around in his mouth and swallows. Greg hopes that while he sleeps the foreign microbes will wage war with other organisms in his gut, changing that environment to ultimately help him manage some of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms that cloud his mind and riddle his days and nights with nightmares, flashbacks, thoughts of suicide and irrational responses to stressful events. The bacteria he is swallowing, his doctors tell him, “may help reduce symptoms of stress.” Each drop of Greg's brew is filled with millions of Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacterium isolated and derived from human breast milk. The Denver VA Hospital orders the substance and prescribes it as part of a PTSD clinical trial involving 40 veterans who either receive the bacteria or a placebo mix of sunflower oil and other inactive substances. (The bacterium is also currently used to treat a dental condition called chronic periodontitis because it has been shown to help fight inflammation.) Altering the immune system to help build resilience to stressful events is a roundabout way to fight PTSD. But despite the massive burden of this disorder, there are few treatments for many of its crushing symptoms. Of the more than two million troops deployed in U.S. military conflicts worldwide, an estimated 11 to 23 percent have sustained some level of either traumatic brain injury (TBI) or PTSD. Greg, whose name has been changed in this article to protect his identity, is among them. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was injured when the vehicle he was in detonated a roadside improvised explosive device—killing several of his comrades and leaving him with a badly wounded leg, a traumatic brain injury and the constellation of symptoms that comprise PTSD. With few options available after he tried a variety of mental health therapies, last year he and 39 other veteran volunteers—all suffering from PTSD and being treated at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention center in Denver—volunteered to be part of an early clinical trial to determine if L. reuteri can reduce their physiological and psychological responses to stressful situations. The roughly $200,000 trial is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and aimed at evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, tolerability and safety measures for the possible use of the bacterium to treat PTSD. The bacterium was chosen after earlier animal trials suggested it produced anxiety-fighting responses. Last year a team of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that injecting beneficial bacteria into mice helped them become more resilient to the stress of residing with much larger, aggressive mice. In that study the scientists injected healthy mice with a heat-killed preparation of Mycobacterium vaccae—which, like L. reuteri, acts like a drug, modulating the mouse’s immune system. (The two microbes are cousins and share a common ancestor.) The injected mice exhibited less anxiety or fearlike behaviors, and behaved more proactively around their aggressors than did those in a control group, which had to make do without the shots. The vaccinated mice’s amplified calm made sense biochemically: The researchers discovered that the gut-altered mice also had more Tph2, an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, in the brain. The bacterial brew provided another benefit in the gut as well: Biopsies showed the injected mice were 50 percent less likely to suffer stress-induced colitis, as measured by cellular damage to the colon; and they had less system-wide inflammation. That study was hailed as a major breakthrough and named among the top 10 advancements and breakthroughs of 2016 by the nation’s leading nongovernmental funder of mental health research, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. “There is a growing recognition that the microbiome can impact health in general and, more specifically, mental health,” clinician Jeffrey Borenstein, the organization’s president, said in a statement about the research. The mouse work “can potentially be a game changer in our understanding of this, and ultimately lead to new treatments,” he added. “Our study in PNAS showed we can prevent a PTSD-like syndrome in mice,” says Christopher Lowry, a professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at C.U.–Boulder, who headed up the study on mice that demonstrated M. vaccae’s effects on stress resilience. Lowry’s results were also consistent with earlier evidence about the powers of M. vaccae bacteria: Previous work established that M. vaccae increases serotonin in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that modulates anxiety. (The researchers are not using M. vaccae in humans because it is not yet approved for human use whereas L. reuteri works along the same immune-regulating pathway and could be tapped without needing further regulatory approvals.) The human trials with L. reuteri began in August 2016 at the Denver VA Hospital, headed up by Lowry and Lisa Brenner, a psychiatry professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. In addition to asking veterans to down a daily allotment of bacteria or placebo—the volunteers are unaware of which substance they are taking—each participant has been asked to keep a diary of gastrointestinal symptoms for about two weeks, and submit to stool tests. Participants then return for further blood tests covering various biomarkers of inflammation and gut permeability. Then, after eight weeks, the veterans are subjected to stress testing like the mice. Instead of exposing them to large mice, however, they are asked to do something even more intimidating to many humans: give a speech in front of a group while researchers collect their psychological and physiological stress measures (including heart rate variability and galvanic skin response). Participants also receive final blood and stool tests for biomarkers of inflammation, gut permeability and any changes in the microbiome. Final results from the study are expected in May 2018. The foundational work behind this study is “very provocative” because it validates the concept of immunizing against a variety of stress-related disorders, says John Cryan, head of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork in Ireland, who was not involved with the work. The findings, he says, suggest this may be a promising way to help fight anxiety in PTSD patients.
News Article | May 17, 2017
Gladstone scientists show that a cancer drug is effective in treating common causes of heart failure A team of researchers at the Gladstone Institutes uncovered a new strategy to treat heart failure, a leading contributor to mortality and healthcare costs in the United States. Despite widespread use of currently-approved drugs, approximately 40% of patients with heart failure die within 5 years of their initial diagnosis. “The current standard of care is clearly not sufficient, which highlights the urgent need for new therapeutic approaches,” said Saptarsi Haldar, MD, an associate investigator at Gladstone and senior author of a new study featured on the cover of the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine. “In our previous work, we found that a drug-like small molecule called JQ1 can prevent the development of heart failure in mouse models when administered at the very onset of the disease. However, as the majority of patients requiring treatment already have longstanding cardiac dysfunction, we needed to determine if our strategy could also treat established heart failure.” As part of an emerging treatment strategy, drugs derived from JQ1 are currently under study in early-phase human cancer trials. These drugs act by inhibiting a protein called BRD4, a member of a family of proteins called BET bromodomains, which directly influences heart failure. With this study, the scientists found that JQ1 can effectively treat severe, pre-established heart failure in both small animal and human cell models by blocking inflammation and fibrosis (scarring of the heart tissue). “It has long been known that inflammation and fibrosis are key conspirators in the development of heart failure, but targeting these processes with drugs has remained a significant challenge,” added Haldar, who is also a practicing cardiologist and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “By inhibiting the function of the protein BRD4, an approach that simultaneously blocks both of these processes, we are using a new and different strategy altogether to tackle the problem.” Currently available drugs used for heart failure work at the surface of heart cells. In contrast, Haldar’s approach goes to the root of the problem and blocks destructive processes in the cell’s command center, or nucleus. “We treated mouse models of heart failure with JQ1, similarly to how patients would be treated in a clinic,” said Qiming Duan, MD, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in Haldar’s lab and co-first author of the study. “We showed that this approach effectively treats pre-established heart failure that occurs both after a massive heart attack or in response to persistent high blood pressure (mechanical overload), suggesting it could be used to treat a wide array of patients.” Using Gladstone’s unique expertise, the scientists then used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), generated from adult human skin cells, to create a type of beating heart cell known as cardiomyocytes. “After testing the drug in mice, we wanted to check whether JQ1 would have the same effect in humans,” explained co-first author Sarah McMahon, a UCSF graduate student in Haldar’s lab. “We tested the drug on human cardiomyocytes, as they are cells that not only beat, but can also trigger the processes of inflammation and fibrosis, which in turn make heart failure progressively worse. Similar to our animal studies, we found that JQ1 was also effective in human heart cells, reaffirming the clinical relevance of our results.” The study also showed that, in contrast to several cancer drugs that have been documented to cause cardiac toxicity, BRD4 inhibitors may be a class of anti-cancer therapeutics that has protective effects in the human heart. “Our study demonstrates a new therapeutic approach to successfully target inflammation and fibrosis, representing a major advance in the field,” concluded Haldar. “We also believe our current work has important near-term translational impact in human heart failure. Given that drugs derived from JQ1 are already being tested in cancer clinical trials, their safety and efficacy in humans are already being defined. This key information could accelerate the development of a new heart failure drug and make it available to patients more quickly.” About the research project This project was conducted in collaboration with Deepak Srivastava, MD, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. Other Gladstone scientists on the study include Priti Anand, Sean Thomas, Hazel T. Salunga, and Yu Huang. Collaborators from Case Western Reserve University, Plantagenet, Vanderbilt University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and University of Colorado Denver also took part in the study. Research at Gladstone was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants DK093821 and HL127240). About the Gladstone Institutes To ensure our work does the greatest good, the Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease. It has an academic affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco.
News Article | May 18, 2017
Reston, Va. - The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2017 Annual Meeting will be held in Denver, Colorado, June 10-14. It will bring together more than 5,000 physicians, technologists, scientists and exhibitors from around the globe to share and learn about cutting-edge research, advance their knowledge through continuing education sessions, and network. The focus is on science--improving patients' lives by developing new methods to diagnose earlier and more accurately, delivering the most effective therapy for a specific patient's disease, and monitoring and adjusting treatment to ensure optimum results. There are series of sessions for scientists, physicians, and technologists covering latest advances in the field, including the growing role of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging in precision medicine. The Opening Plenary Session on Sunday, June 11, will feature theranostics. The Henry N. Wagner, Jr., MD, Lecture, titled "Theranostics: Looking Back and Moving Forward," will be given by Richard Baum, MD, PhD. Johannes Czernin, MD, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine will then speak on "Imaging with a Purpose: The Future of Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging and Therapy." The Opening Plenary will also introduce the society's new Value Initiative, which addresses five critical domains that will guide the society's strategic plan over the next several years: Quality of Practice, Research and Development, Workforce Pipeline and Lifetime Education, Advocacy, and Outreach. SNMMI is an international organization that relies on collaboration across borders. This year, the annual meeting will highlight Germany's latest advances in research, technology, and clinical practice. The meeting will have more than 700 scientific oral sessions, as well as sessions on new tracers and applications, emerging technologies, a fluciclovine live reader training, updates on appropriate use criteria and coding and reimbursement, and Mo-99 production and availability. Three Meet-the-Author poster sessions will also be held, and the Exhibit Hall will be a one-stop showcase for cutting-edge molecular imaging devices, products, and services. The CT and MRI Case Reviews, presented in collaboration with the University of Colorado Denver, will provide 12 hours of review over two consecutive days and include 52 CT studies and 48 MRI case studies. In nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, the focus is always on the patient, and Patient Education Day, June 11, is an important part of the annual meeting. This year, it will include break-out sessions focusing on neuroendocrine tumors, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and Alzheimer's Disease. With many concurrent sessions, it's not possible to attend everything of interest in person. The Virtual Poster Hall and Virtual Meeting will be available after the meeting for further education. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, a vital element of today's medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated and helping provide patients with the best health care possible. SNMMI's more than 17,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit http://www. .
News Article | May 16, 2017
Last summer, the city of Denver, Colorado, converted a lane of traffic on a busy street in its downtown area to a two-way bicycle lane. Considering that the street apparently handles around 32,000 vehicles a day, that conversion was reportedly not too popular with many of the drivers in the city. Disregarding the pushback at the time, though, the transition has apparently gone quite well — going by recent reports. Additionally, the transition is apparently “a signal of the future of commuting in Denver,” as stated by some of those involved in the city’s public works systems. As commented by Jon Murray: “As the city grapples with a surging population, intensifying traffic at all hours of the day, and high demand for driving alternatives, public works officials increasingly are dividing up precious pavement, ending the decades of supremacy enjoyed by cars.” Planetizen provides more: “The pilot project on Broadway provides proof of concept, according to local transportation planners, that reducing traffic lanes doesn’t necessarily slow travel times for cars, while it increases the potential capacity of the road. With evidence of the lane’s success in serving all users (not just ‘auto-driving suburbanites,’ as Ken Schroeppel, an assistant professor in urban planning at the University of Colorado Denver, puts it in the article) in place, the city is preparing to expand the transit and bike lanes on the street.” It’ll be interesting to see what the pushback ends up being like as Denver officials begin implementing these plans over the coming years. Drivers tend to not like being squeezed into tighter spaces. Though, there is broad support for bicycling and mass transit in many places.
News Article | May 23, 2017
BestColleges.com, a leading provider of higher education information and resources, today announced a series of new rankings focused on degree opportunities in the Social Services. “The most rewarding work is having the opportunity to help others. We celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by releasing a new series of rankings that feature online education programs in the Social Services. Our goal is to inspire, grow, and expand the all-important workforce that specializes in mental health and social services,” said Stephanie Snider, General Manager, BestColleges.com The Rankings with the top ten schools from each list of twenty-five: Bachelor’s in Sociology 1. University of Central Florida 2. Arizona State University - Tempe 3. Central Washington University 4. Brandman University 5. University of Colorado Denver 6. University of Nebraska at Omaha 7. Fort Hays State University 8. Oregon State University 9. North Dakota State University 10. South Dakota State University Bachelor’s in Psychology 1. University of Central Florida 2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 3. Liberty University 4. University of North Dakota 5. University of Florida - Online 6. Trine University - Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses 7. LeTourneau University 8. University of Massachusetts - Lowell 9. Florida International University 10. Old Dominion University Bachelor’s in Counseling 1. John Wesley University 2. Johnson University 3. Indiana Wesleyan University - Marion 4. University of Cincinnati 5. University of South Dakota 6. Crown College 7. Northwestern State University of Louisiana 8. Oral Roberts University 9. Grace College and Theological Seminary 10. University of Central Arkansas Master’s in Psychology 1. Harvard University 2. University of Georgia 3. Touro University Worldwide 4. Nova Southeastern University 5. Adler Graduate School 6. Adler University 7. William James College 8. The University of Tennessee - Knoxville 9. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles 10. Carlos Albizu University - Miami Master’s in Social Work 1. Columbia University in the City of New York 2. University of Southern California 3. Case Western Reserve University 4. Boston University 5. University of Central Florida 6. Fordham University 7. University of Denver 8. University at Buffalo 9. Ohio State University 10. California State University - Long Beach Master’s in School Counseling 1. Lehigh University 2. New York University 3. Wake Forest University 4. Liberty University 5. University of Missouri - Columbia 6. University of North Dakota 7. University of West Alabama 8. Seton Hall University 9. Concordia University - Wisconsin 10. Missouri Baptist University Full rankings can be found on each subject page by following the hyperlink in the titles. The 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. Each school must meet the minimum criteria of being an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution, and submit an annual report the the National Center for Education Statistics. More information on methodology can be found here: http://www.bestcolleges.com/subject-ranking-methodology/ About BestColleges.com: BestColleges.com helps prospective students find the school that best meets their needs through proprietary research, user-friendly guides, and hundreds of unique college rankings. They also provide a wide array of college planning, financial aid, and career resources to help all students get the most from their education and prepare them for the world after college.
News Article | April 17, 2017
LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has released its list of the best colleges and universities in Colorado for 2017. 20 four-year schools made the list, with University of Denver, Regis University, Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado—Colorado Springs and Colorado Colleges coming in with the highest scores. Of the 15 two-year schools that were also included, Aims Community College, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, Front Range Community College and Red Rocks Community College were the top five schools. A full list of schools is included below. “These schools have shown a commitment to preparing their students for success in college and beyond, with numbers to prove it,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “We measure data from each school, but also dig deeper into the success of alumni after college to find which colleges in Colorado truly are the best for students.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Colorado” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also scored on additional data points including the number of career and academic resources, annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering college, financial aid availability, graduation rates and student/teacher ratios. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Colorado” list, visit: Colorado’s Best Four-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Adams State University Colorado Christian University Colorado College Colorado Mesa University Colorado School of Mines Colorado State University-Fort Collins Colorado State University-Global Campus Colorado State University-Pueblo Fort Lewis College Johnson & Wales University-Denver Metropolitan State University of Denver Naropa University Regis University United States Air Force Academy University of Colorado Boulder University of Colorado Colorado Springs University of Colorado Denver University of Denver University of Northern Colorado Western State Colorado University Colorado’s Best Two-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Aims Community College Arapahoe Community College Colorado Northwestern Community College Community College of Aurora Community College of Denver Front Range Community College Lamar Community College Morgan Community College Northeastern Junior College Otero Junior College Pickens Technical College Pikes Peak Community College Pueblo Community College Red Rocks Community College Trinidad State Junior College ### About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.