Residents, fellows, postdocs, and medical students filed into the University Club to compete in the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) 26th Annual Fellows Research Day poster session. Among this group of accomplished young researchers was Trevor Kickliter, a mechanical engineering sophomore in the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.
As reported by Casey Tingle, staff writer for Orthopedics Today, ankle cartilage surgeons from around the world collaborated in Pittsburgh at the International Consensus Meeting on Cartilage Repair of the Ankle, where they discussed and debated the best ways to treat ankle cartilage injuries and ultimately established a consensus to which all orthopedic surgeons can refer.
Surgeons and interventional cardiologists at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute recently performed their 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), making them the first heart program in the region to reach this clinical milestone.
The 2018 Pittsburgh Heart Ball took place on February 17th at the Pittsburgh Wyndham Grand Hotel. 550 supporters came to celebrate the award recipients and raise $1.2 million for research and prevention of stroke and heart attack education.
Diastasis recti is a non-life-threatening condition affecting the pair of long, flat muscles, known as the rectus abdominis, that run vertically down each side of the abdomen. These muscles are referred to as “six-pack muscles” and help stabilize the body’s trunk and hold in the abdomen’s internal organs. Mostly affecting women, diastasis recti happen when these muscles separate, often during pregnancy or after giving birth, leaving a gap, a belly pouch, or a sense of abdominal weakness.
Every day, roughly 100 billion new cells are created inside the human body. These cells join trillions of older cells to form the tissues and organs we rely on to stay alive. Sometimes when a cell is created, a mutation occurs within its DNA, transforming the cell into something defective and potentially dangerous to the body’s internal environment. Usually, a cell will recognize its own defects and quickly terminate itself.
As we age, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as heart failure and atrial fibrillation increases dramatically, and the rates of these age-associated diseases are expected to rise with a rapidly aging population. A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh believes that a naturally occurring hormone, relaxin, can reverse some of the effects of aging on the heart to reduce these risks through inhibiting a chronic, age-associated inflammatory response termed “inflammaging”.
Per the United Network for Organ Sharing, every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list in need of a kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, lung, or intestine, the most needed organs of 2017. As of the end of January 2018, there were 114,883 people needing a lifesaving organ transplant (total waiting list candidates) with 74,722 of those people being active waiting list candidates. Tragically, on average, 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. More than 7,000 candidates died in 2016 while on the wait list, or within 30 days of leaving the list for personal or medical reasons, without receiving an organ transplant.
When a patient with heart disease is in need of a vascular graft but doesn’t have any viable veins or arteries in his or her own body, surgeons can rely on synthetic, tissue-engineering grafts. However, the body often treats these substitutes as a threat and rejects them. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are developing synthetic grafts that mimic the body’s own blood vessels to mitigate many of the complications of bypass surgery.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $115,000 to five engineering and medicine groups through its 2017 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. Four of the five projects are led by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members. The latest McGowan Institute faculty funded proposals include proposed solutions to conditions such as peripheral artery disease, pulmonary fibrosis, improved wound healing and repair, and a better means to perform root canal surgery.
Each year more than eight million tons of plastics pollute the ocean, forming mammoth, so-called “garbage patches” via strong currents. Even with new collection methods, only 0.5 percent out of that volume is currently removed from the seas. One solution to this growing crisis is to prevent plastic from becoming waste to begin with – and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are one of five international teams awarded for their novel solutions to this problem.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Ron Poropatich, MD, has been named the Director of the Center for Military Medicine Research (CMMR), Health Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Poropatich (Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; Senior Advisor for Telemedicine, UPMC; and retired US Army Colonel) has made significant inroads with senior leaders of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) medical research community and University of Pittsburgh faculty since his arrival at Pitt in 2012, when the Center was established.
Implanted devices send targeted electrical stimulation to the nervous system to interfere with abnormal brain activity, and it is commonly assumed that neurons are the only important brain cells that need to be stimulated by these devices. However, research published in Nature Biomedical Engineering reveals that it may also be important to target the supportive glial cells surrounding the neurons.
The University of Pittsburgh recently announced the launch of LifeXTM, an initiative that will provide expertise, capital and working space to new companies addressing the most complex challenges facing modern medicine. The 10-year goal of the project is to deliver new solutions to tackle prevalent and intractable global diseases. Led by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Dietrich Stephan, PhD, the renowned human geneticist and entrepreneur and professor and chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, the initiative’s initial focus will be on cancer, Alzheimer’s, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity and diabetes, and rare genetic diseases.
Artificial lungs have long been used to help sick children until a lung transplant is available.
While these devices are helpful in supplying oxygen to children suffering from cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary fibrosis, among other diseases, during the wait for lung transplants, they restrict mobility.
By The McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine | Current News, Vision | January 24, 2018
As reported by Madison Brunner for Inside UPMC, inherited retinal degeneration affects about one out of every 2,000 people worldwide and severely impacts quality of life. Due to mutated genes, this disorder causes blindness and currently has no treatment.
Despite improvement in the rates of people dying of sepsis in the hospital, the condition is still a leading cause of hospital readmissions and costs, as well as long-term disabilities and impairments, prompting University of Pittsburgh and University of Michigan (U-M) medical scientists to develop thorough recommendations for post-hospital recovery care and future clinical trials.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD, has been named a Health Hero by O, The Oprah Magazine. Dr. Cooper—the FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology, and professor of Bioengineering, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, and also the Founding Director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a VA Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence in partnership with Pitt—was one of 14 “changemakers” featured in the magazine’s January 2018 issue.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) recently received a combined $7.5 million in grant funding from the Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. The three funded projects will study aspects of both physical and mental recovery to improve care practices for future active and retired service members. One of the projects, entitled “Studying Cognitive Readiness and Resilience,” will be co-led by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Bradley Nindl, PhD, SHRS professor and director of Pitt’s Neuromuscular Research Laboratory/Warrior Human Performance Research Center.
La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company announced recently that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GiaprezaTM (angiotensin II) to increase blood pressure in adults with septic or other distributive shock.
“Vasopressors are critical to treat patients with shock. The critical care community now has another tool to use,” said McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member John A. Kellum, MD, Director of Center for Critical Care Nephrology, Vice Chair for Research, and Professor of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. “The approval of angiotensin II represents a major advance in the treatment of patients with septic or distributive shock.”
In one week in December 2017, Steven Little, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor in the Departments of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Immunology, and Ophthalmology, and Riccardo Gottardi, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, were co-authors on two publications that were featured on the respective journal covers. The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine congratulates these affiliated faculty members on this significant accomplishment. Details follow.
Recognizing his significant accomplishments over the past year, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Robert Parker, PhD, Full Professor, was the 2017 winner of the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching in Chemical Engineering at the annual Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering gathering.
Reversing autoimmune type 1 diabetes without immunosuppression has proven to be extremely difficult, but in a study published in Cell Stem Cell, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report achieving that outcome in mice using gene therapy.
A new study from The Wistar Institute, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and others, revealed the mechanism implicated in the defective function of tumor-associated dendritic cells (DCs), a specialized type of immune cells that expose the antigens on their surface to activate the T cells. The new findings explain why DCs are not effective in executing a specialized process that is required for inducing antitumor immune responses and effective cancer immunotherapy. The work was published online in Nature Communications. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Valerian Kagan, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chairman in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Pitt, is a co-author on the paper.
Playing an adventure video game featuring a fictitious, young emergency physician treating severe trauma patients was better than text-based learning at priming real doctors to quickly recognize the patients who needed higher levels of care, according to a new trial led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Derek Angus, MD, Chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine of both the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the UPMC Healthcare System and a Distinguished Professor and the Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair in Critical Care Medicine with secondary appointments in Medicine, Health Policy and Management, and Clinical and Translational Science, was a member of the study team.
On December 17, 2017, “Our Region’s Business,” a Sunday-morning business affairs program co-produced by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and WPXI-TV, featured the biotechnology industry in Pittsburgh. The program is hosted by Bill Flanagan, who is Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference and its affiliated organizations.
Philanthropists Cindy and Rob Citrone, dedicated to improving outcomes for pediatric transplantation across the United States and increasing the number of organ donors, have donated $2 million to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The Citrones will also match up to $1 million in additional donations raised for Children’s transplant program.
As reported by Liz Beaulieu for HME News, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member David Brienza, PhD, professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and associate dean for research in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have secured a nearly $5 million grant to continue their work developing standards to improve product quality and safety for wheelchairs.
Joseph Bartolacci is an MD candidate from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia who spends summers in the laboratory of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, Professor in the Department of Surgery and Director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the Institute.