UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MEDICAL CENTER
A new method of using adult stem cells as a model for the hereditary condition Gaucher disease could help accelerate the discovery of new, more effective therapies for this and other conditions such as Parkinson’s, according to new research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine reprogrammed stem cells to develop into cells that are genetically similar to and react to drugs in a similar way as cells from patients with Gaucher disease. The stem cells will allow the scientists to test potential new therapies in a dish, accelerating the process toward drug discovery. “We have created a model for all three types of Gaucher disease, and used stem cell-based tests to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies,” says senior author Ricardo Feldman, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a research scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “We are confident that this will allow us to test more drugs faster, more accurately and more safely, bringing us closer to new treatments for patients suffering from Gaucher disease. Our findings have potential to help patients with other neurodegenerative diseases as well. For example, about 10 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients carry mutations in the recessive gene for Gaucher disease, making our research possibly significant for Parkinson’s disease as well.” Learn more at http://bit.ly/RNl227.
MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found that medications currently used to immobilize patients during surgery can increase the risk of postoperative respiratory complications. Their study also found that the agent most commonly used to reverse the action of the immobilizing drug does not prevent and may possibly increase the risk that patients will need to receive postoperative respiratory support. “Neuromuscular blocking agents are used during surgery for a variety of reasons, including allowing placement of a breathing tube and preventing patients from moving during a procedure, says Matthias Eikermann, MD, PhD, director of Research in the Critical Care Division of the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, senior author of the BMJ report. “Unfortunately, these agents do not stop working immediately at the end of surgery, leading to residual muscle weakness which can decrease postoperative respiratory function. Our findings suggest that we need to develop better blocking agents and improved methods of monitoring their effects.” Drugs that prevent transmission of signals from nerves to muscles are commonly used in surgical patients and in intensive care patients on mechanical ventilators. Long-acting neuromuscular blocking agents can increase the risk of respiratory complications, so in recent years they have been replaced with newer, intermediate-acting drugs. Eikermann’s team focuses on developing new strategies in general anesthesia that can stablize and improve respiratory function. Their previous work suggested that intermediate-acting agents may be responsible for a high incidence of muscle weakness in patients recovering from surgery, leading to respiratory difficulties that lengthen a patient’s time in the recovery room. The current study analyzed data on surgeries involving general anesthesia conducted at the MGH from March 2006 to September 2010. Learn more at http://bit.ly/RHKbbl.
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL
Blood hormone tests can predict a woman’s risk for developing postmenopausal breast cancer for up to 20 years, according to a study led by Xuehong Zhang, MD, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Department of Medicine. Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study, Zhang , Susan Hankinson, ScD, Channing Division of Network Medicine, BWH Department of Medicine and colleagues analyzed 796 patients with postmenopausal breast cancer who had not received hormone therapy. They conducted blood hormone tests at two time points: between 1989 and 1990 and between 2000 and 2002. Researchers matched each patient with two controls who were not diagnosed with breast cancer. “We found that a single hormone level was associated with breast cancer risk for at least 16 to 20 years among postmenopausal women not using postmenopausal hormones,” said Zhang. “We, and others, are now evaluating if the addition of hormone levels to current risk prediction models can substantially improve our ability to identify high-risk women who would benefit from enhanced screening or chemoprevention-if so, the current data suggest that hormone levels would not need to be measured in the clinic more than once every 10, or possibly 20, years.” Women with hormone levels in the highest 25 percent for estradiol, testosterone and DHEAS had a 50 percent to 107 percent greater chance for developing breast cancer compared with women in the lowest 25 percent. Relative risks for developing breast cancer were similar at one to 10 years vs. 11 to 20 years (also 16 to 20 years) after blood collection. Learn more at http://bit.ly/OOtKfI.
Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices, announces U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance and European Economic Area (EEA) CE Mark approval for the Covidien Nellcor™ Bedside Respiratory Patient Monitoring system. This new system provides continuous monitoring of blood oxygenation (SpO2) and pulse rate, along with trend data to help clinicians detect and respond to dangerous respiratory events sooner. The new Nellcor Bedside Respiratory Patient Monitoring system is upgradable onsite to accommodate new parameters and features, including Nellcor Respiration Rate software, thereby reducing service disruptions and costs for hospitals. “We are pleased to announce clearance to market the Nellcor Bedside Respiratory Patient Monitoring system in the U.S. and the EEA,” said Robert J. White, President, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. “With this addition, we now offer an updated portfolio of industry-leading bedside monitoring solutions that meet unique care needs in both high- and low-acuity settings, thus enhancing patient safety in hospitals throughout the world.” The new system features a color touch-screen graphical user interface and provides a variety of wired and wireless connectivity options to meet the various needs found in different hospital settings. It can connect to the Nellcor OxiNet III Remote Respiratory Monitoring system, enabling clinicians to monitor multiple patients from a central monitoring station on the general care floor. Learn more at http://bit.ly/RNgzw9.
DePuy Mitek, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of orthopaedic sports medicine products and soft tissue repair devices, announces the launch of the HEALIX ADVANCE™ Family of Suture Anchors, a comprehensive new system of rotator cuff anchor and instrumentation solutions. The HEALIX ADVANCE Anchor is the company’s next generation suture anchor that includes the dual thread fixation technology of previous versions, but adds a new multi-thread design that enables faster insertion into hard bone and an awl only bone preparation, in most cases. Dual thread technology independently engages both cancellous and cortical bone to maximize fixation and pull-out strength. With a newly designed and fully supported distal tip across the radial plane, HEALIX ADVANCE Anchors also provide high torsional strength across the entire length of the anchor. The anchors are available in either BIOCRYL® RAPIDE™, a biocomposite material that allows absorption and bone formation at the implant site, or radiolucent polyetheretherketone (PEEK), a biocompatible thermoplastic material. The 4.5mm, 5.5mm and 6.5 mm anchors are double or triple loaded with the company’s ORTHOCHORD® High Strength Suture. “These new anchors have the strength and performance of previous HEALIX Anchors, but come in more sizes and have more options to improve surgical versatility,” said Mark H. Getelman, MD, Co-Director Sports Medicine Fellowship, Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys.* “Anchor insertion is faster and easier and the anchors provide the excellent strength and easy-sliding triple loaded suture characteristics I demand for single row rotator cuff repairs.” Learn more at http://bit.ly/UeQNTt.
Medtronic, Inc. announces it has initiated the commercial introduction in the United States of the ACD Instrument Set, a brand new set of instruments that can be used to insert the clinically proven BRYAN® Cervical Disc. The BRYAN® Disc was FDA approved in 2009 for the treatment of single-level cervical disc disease (radiculopathy and/or myelopathy), one of the most common diagnoses for neck and arm pain. “The new ACD Instrument Set allows surgeons to implant the clinically proven BRYAN® Disc using the same basic surgical steps taught in anterior cervical surgery for over 50 years with excellent success rates,” said Rick Sasso, M.D., of the Indiana Spine Group. “The original instrument set for the BRYAN® Disc requires specialized instruments that must be assembled and mounted to the operating room table during surgery, a much different technique than I learned in my fellowship training,” added Sasso. The BRYAN® Disc is one of two clinically proven artificial cervical discs in the Medtronic portfolio. More than 20,000 BRYAN® Disc implants have been sold worldwide since January 2000 when the first surgery was performed in Europe using the original instrument set that was developed by Seattle neurosurgeon, Dr. Vincent Bryan. Learn more at http://bit.ly/VcJTKj.
Thousands of cardiac stent procedures are successfully performed every year, but a key challenge is positioning the stent, guidewires, and catheter at the precise location of the blockage. In addition, even with the most sophisticated X-ray technology, the complex shape of the heart and the twists and turns of the coronary arteries make the exact size of the blockage difficult to visualize and measure. As a result of these challenges, 10-20 percent of patients require a second stent due to inaccurate placement or size of the first stent. The CorPath 200 System, a new robotic-assisted percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) system, was recently approved for use by the FDA, based on the findings of the CorPath PRECISE trial, led by investigators from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. “This novel system, which enhances positioning by manipulating the catheter, stent, and guidewire at the same time, also provides improved visualization and blockage measurement,” says Dr. Giora Weisz, director of clinical research at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Equally important, he notes, the robotic system gives him more control than the conventional approach by allowing him to move the guidewire and stent in increments as small as one millimeter. In addition, the CorPath 200 System allows the interventional cardiologist to perform the cardiac stent procedures remotely, while seated in a radiation-protected cockpit next to the patient’s bed. As Dr. Weisz sees it, “The improved positioning, imaging, overall control, and radiation protection add up to a win-win for patients and doctors alike.” Learn more at http://bit.ly/TjoRhh.
iTotal Platform Designed with Specific Features to Address Potential Causes of Patient Dissatisfaction
ConforMIS, Inc. announces the commercial availability of its iTotal® G2 Knee Replacement System, the only patient-specific total knee replacement (TKR) available on the market today. The iTotal G2 is the next generation version of the iTotal which was FDA cleared in January 2011 and launched into limited surgeon release in May 2011. The iTotal G2 incorporates improvements, based on a year’s worth of surgeon feedback, to the implants, instrumentation and patient specific planning guides. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 patients with a total knee replacement system are not satisfied with the results of their surgery. Issues such as implant overhang, errors in component placement and off-the-shelf implant shapes that do not match the patient’s native anatomy can result in residual pain, functional limitation and a knee that does not feel natural. iv By preserving the core benefits of the iTotal TKR system, including an anatomic implant design with personalized fit, a patient-matched anatomic shape and greater bone preservation than traditional total knee replacements, the iTotal G2 is designed to address the drivers of patient dissatisfaction. Learn more at http://bit.ly/Xyw246.
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL
There are approximately 400,000 people in the United States with multiple sclerosis. Worldwide, the number jumps to more than 2.1 million people. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to treating the millions with multiple sclerosis, what if doctors could categorize patients to create more personalized treatments? A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) may one day make this idea a reality in the fight against the debilitating autoimmune disease. A research team led by Philip De Jager, MD, PhD, BWH Department of Neurology, senior study author, has found a way to distinguish patients with multiple sclerosis into two meaningful subsets. The ability to categorize patients with multiple sclerosis may open new doors for treatment development. “Our results suggest that we can divide the multiple sclerosis patient population into groups that have different levels of disease activity,” said De Jager. “These results motivate us to improve these distinctions with further research so that we may reach our goal of identifying the best treatment for each individual who has multiple sclerosis.” De Jager and his team extracted RNA-key molecules involved in making proteins from the instructions found in the DNA sequence-from blood cells of patients with multiple sclerosis. After analyzing the samples, they found distinct sets of RNA molecules among the patient samples. These unique sets formed a transcriptional signature that distinguished two sets of multiple sclerosis patients-MSa patients and MSb patients-with those in the MSa group having a higher risk for future multiple sclerosis relapse. Learn more at http://bit.ly/PvTHh4.
Kimberly-Clark, a leader in healthcare-associated infection (HAI) education and prevention, announces results of a new survey on patient attitudes toward hand hygiene in a healthcare setting. According to the study results, 72 percent of respondents have never asked healthcare providers if they have washed or sanitized their hands before beginning an exam or procedure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections. Approximately 1.7 million hospital patients contract an HAI each year in the U.S. That means one in 20 individuals walking into a facility will become infected while seeking help for a medical concern. HAIs cost more Americans their lives than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined, accounting for nearly 99,000 deaths. Many of these infections are preventable. Learn more at http://bit.ly/S61cAu.