McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member and Duquesne University Professor Jelena Janjic, PhD, has created the first inflammatory pain nanomedicine that could significantly reduce the need for opioids in treating pain.
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.”
Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and becomes increasingly common as human bodies age. Currently, more than 40 percent of low back pain patients are prescribed opioids at some point. Researchers at Pitt want to bring that number down.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Marc Simon, MD, MS, FACC, Associate Professor of Medicine, Bioengineering, and Clinical Translational Science, and Director, Heart Failure Research / Clinical Hemodynamics Core Facility, at the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, is the lead investigator on a 50-patient, open-label Phase 2 study in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) from multiple different etiologies. Dr. Simon recently presented the study’s results in an invited lecture at the 4th Annual Drug Discovery and Development Symposium for Pulmonary Hypertension. The study’s product, Aironite, is in development by Savara, Inc., a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of serious or life-threatening rare respiratory diseases.
Pitt innovators have been issued a total of 92 U.S. patents through May, already surpassing the previous record of 80.
Patents are a crucial element in moving academic research to the marketplace, where it can make a difference in the world. Without the economic protection a patent provides, there is little incentive for companies to invest time and risk large amounts of money to further develop early stage discoveries into technologies, products, or life-saving treatments.
A groundbreaking new study led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC—including McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Marc Simon, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Heart Failure Research, Medical Director of the Montefiore Clinical & Translational Research Center of the Clinical Translational Science Institute, and an Attending Physician in the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Section in the Heart and Vascular Institute of the University of Pittsburgh—has identified a new group of compounds that could have robust effects in treating pulmonary hypertension (PH), an enigmatic but sometimes fatal disease of the blood vessels of the lungs that currently has no cure. The findings, which were published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, highlight the use of these drugs to alter vessel stiffness and its downstream control of metabolism, a link previously unknown for people suffering from the progressive disease.
SkinJect, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based company, today announced its completion of a license with the University of Pittsburgh to its novel, minimally invasive treatment for common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Two million new cases of basal cell cancer are reported each year in the United States, and more than half of all patients suffer a recurrence. The new product under development could dramatically change the way these skin cancers are treated.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $140,000 to six research groups through its 2016 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. Two of the six research groups include projects of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members—Justin Weinbaum, PhD, Marina Kameneva, PhD, and Jonathan Waters, MD. The six latest funding proposals include developing a novel vascular access system, a shunt for treatment of fetal hydrocephalus in-utero, a system for stroke rehabilitation, a cell therapy for treatment of aortic aneurysm, a method for treatment of sickle cell anemia, and a novel mechanical device for use in general surgery.
Guidelines on lipid-lowering treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are provided by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The recommendations for lipid-lowering treatment initiation from both guidelines are based on evidence from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) demonstrating the efficacy of statins for primary prevention of CVD. The trial evidence was translated by recommending initiation of treatment for adults with a predicted 10-year risk for CVD exceeding a given threshold. However, global-risk algorithms were never used as an enrollment criterion for RCTs. Therefore, it has been argued that risk-based allocation of statins does not fully reflect the existing evidence. The degree of overlap and discrepancy between U.S. and European guidelines in light of available trial evidence remains unclear. The Netherlands and U.S. authors from a recent paper published in JAMA Cardiology, aimed to compare recommendations from the latest ACC/AHA and ESC prevention guidelines with the evidence from 10 major primary prevention RCTs for statins.
New Processes Could Provide Personalized Pain Treatment
As reported by Karen Ferrick-Roman, Duquesne University Fall 2014 Magazine, pain costs Americans up to $635 billion each year for medical treatment and in lost productivity, says the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. That hefty price tag is equivalent to the first 10 years of spending for homeland security, illustrating a nationwide problem of giant proportions. Today, an estimated 116 million Americans live with chronic pain.
Compounded Medication to Prevent Preterm Birth Not a Safety Risk
A new study published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Raman Venkataramanan, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh as well as professor of pathology within the School of Medicine, and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, reports that 17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC), a medication that reduces the rate of preterm birth in high-risk women, did not raise any safety concerns when the medication was prepared and dispensed by independent compounding pharmacies throughout the United States.
Gum Disease Treated by Using Homing Beacon to Bring Needed Immune Cells to Inflamed Area
The red, swollen, and painful gums and bone destruction of periodontal disease could be effectively treated by beckoning the right kind of immune system cells to the inflamed tissues, according to a new pre-clinical study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, including McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty members Steven Little, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, and Charles Sfeir, D.D.S., Ph.D., director, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, and associate professor, Departments of Periodontics and Oral Biology, Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine. Their findings, published in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer a new therapeutic paradigm for a condition that afflicts 78 million people in the U.S. alone.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty are trying to open a new front in the battle against gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and sometimes termed the most serious oral health problem of the 21st century.
Clinical Trial: Neuroprotective Agent for Treating Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
At the Neurotrauma Society’s 2012 Annual Meeting, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, assistant professor with the Department of Neurological Surgery/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, director of Neurotrauma and of the Spinal Deformity Program, clinical director of the Brain Trauma Research Center, and most recently, the associate director of the Center for Injury Research and Control, presented results from BHR Pharma’s SyNAPSe® clinical trial. Dr. Okonkwo, study principal investigator, announced the trial enrollment midpoint of 590 patients, which was the milestone for the global Phase 3, multi-center trial. This was achieved when a study subject was randomized by Songklanagarind Hospital in Thailand.
A project, originally supported by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine through seed funds from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, has now received National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the NIH recently announced that Qrono Inc. will receive a Small Business Technology Transfer Grant in 2012. The grant is entitled “A New In Silico Design Platform for Building Custom Controlled-Release Systems.”
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Michael Lotze, PhD, professor of surgery and bioengineering, vice chair of research within the Department of Surgery, assistant vice chancellor in the six schools of the health sciences at Pitt, and director of strategic partnerships within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute as well as the Catalyst Program within the recently funded Clinical and Translational Research Institute, is the principal investigator of an ongoing clinical trial focused on renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The main goal of the research study is to determine whether treating renal cell cancer patients with the study drug, hydroxychloroquine, along with IL-2, a standard treatment of kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, can make the cancer easier to kill and eliminate. Another goal is to see how the study drug affects the body’s immune cells which fight cancer cells.
Biomimetics Is Focus of Senior Vice Chancellor’s Research Seminar Series Lecture
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Steven Little, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, associate professor, and Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow of the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, recently delivered a lecture in the 2012 Senior Vice Chancellor’s Research Seminar series. The title of Dr. Little’s presentation was “Medicine That Imitates Life through Biomimetic Drug Delivery.”