Mayo Clinic researchers reported on a new approach for sequencing RNA to study cancer tumors. The findings from a study on oral carcinomas showed that alterations in gene expressions frequently are driven by losses or gains in large chromosomal regions during tumor development. The research demonstrated the value of RNA sequencing and is a significant step toward individualized medicine.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research awarded a $500,000 grant to Matthew Farrer, Ph.D., a researcher at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Farrer studies how a gene, known as LRRK2, functions normally within brain nerve cells and also how it can go awry when mutated. He was a member of the original team that discovered the link between LRRK2 and Parkinson's disease in 2004.
Mayo Clinic formed a new permanent professorship to augment cancer research that will focus on finding new treatments and preventive measures to reduce the incidence of cancer. The professorship was made possible by a $2 million gift from The Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Charitable Foundation. Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., is the recipient.
Using sophisticated techniques that scan the genomes of patients, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that a gene appears to either help protect against development of Alzheimer's disease or promote the disorder, depending on the level of gene in the brain. In two research studies, scientists found strong evidence for the role of the gene, insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), in influencing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Mayo Clinic researchers discovered a way to significantly reduce hospital-acquired C. difficile infection, one of the leading pathogens causing hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. The process involves consistent daily cleaning of all high-touch surfaces with a spore-killing bleach disinfectant for all patients on units with high rates of C. difficile infection.
Mayo Clinic and other researchers in a five-center collaborative study reported that about 30 percent of patients who never smoked and who developed lung cancer had the same uncommon variant in a gene known as GPC5. The finding suggests that the gene has an important tumor suppressor-like function and that insufficient function can promote lung cancer development.
Mayo Clinic researchers in Florida reported that one of the newest "virtual biopsy" colonoscopy probes is 91 percent accurate in detecting precancerous polyps. The pCLE, an imaging tool just one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter, can greatly magnify a polyp to detect potentially dangerous changes in cells. Currently all colon polyps are extracted during a colonoscopy and sent to a pathologist, adding time, expense and some surgical risk. Half of all polyps removed are benign.
An international study of nearly 100 clinical trials that were stopped early due to positive treatment effects has found that many of those effects were exaggerated. The authors of the study, including Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Victor Montori, M.D., recommend that researchers resist pressures to end clinical trials early and continue trials for longer periods before considering premature termination.
Citing Mayo Clinic's ability to translate research and innovation into medical practice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named Mayo as one of four institutions to receive a $15 million research grant as part of the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program. Mayo's role will be to research and advance methods for using electronic medical records for additional purposes, such as medical research, while also maintaining privacy and security.
A Mayo Clinic study found that the type of tissue damage changes throughout the course of multiple sclerosis (MS). The study's findings provide important information at the microscopic level regarding the dynamic changes occurring in MS. According to researchers, a better understanding of the pathology of MS may eventually lead to new therapeutic targets.
The Safeway Foundation awarded Mayo Clinic's Cancer Center in Arizona a $150,000 grant for a clinical trial aimed at testing an arsenal of new drugs. The trial combines new drugs with standard chemotherapy to combat certain types of high-risk, aggressive breast cancer.
Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators reported that chronic pain may be caused by the inadvertent reprogramming of more than 2,000 genes in the peripheral nervous system. The research might ultimately lead to "transcription therapy," which would employ drugs that kill pain by correcting the activity of specific genes.
A Mayo Clinic-led research team developed potent molecules that could lay the foundation for a new class of drugs for treating diabetes. The tiny molecules work by inhibiting a powerful molecular machine known as insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) from chewing up the insulin hormone. The discovery may lead to drugs that diabetics can use to help insulin work better and longer.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida discovered gene signatures they say explain much of the biology of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), a common and difficult-to-treat kidney cancer. Understanding the genes and the pathways they regulate could provide insight into how to treat the disease.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida discovered a key gene that, when turned off, promotes the development of kidney cancer. Their findings suggest that a combination of agents now being tested in other cancers may turn the gene back on, providing a much-needed therapy for the difficult-to-treat cancer.
Study results from research involving 24 medical centers in the U.S. and Europe, including Mayo Clinic in Arizona, showed that some patients with transformed lymphoma — an aggressive form of blood cancer — showed "remarkable" response to lenalidomide, an oral drug with few side effects. Forty-five percent of patients with transformed lymphoma who were treated with the medication responded positively.
In June, the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, under the mantle of the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, formed a strategic research relationship with the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm, Sweden, the top-rated medical research university in Europe. Initial plans include establishing fellowships for promising young investigators who may become future global leaders in biomedical research.
Mayo Clinic researchers reported positive results in early leukemia clinical trials using the chemical epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an active ingredient in green tea. The trial determined that patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia can tolerate the chemical fairly well when high doses are administered in capsule form and that lymphocyte count was reduced in one-third of participants.