Tag Archives: Mayo Clinic

az hospitals

Arizona hospitals use innovation to create better patient care

In the ever-changing face of healthcare, many Arizona hospitals have stepped up to the plate to provide some of the most innovative advances in treatment in an effort to provide patients with better care and better results.

Beyond better treatment, the impact of healthcare on Arizona’s economy is undeniable. Twelve of the 50 biggest employers in Arizona are healthcare-related businesses. In an industry that is constantly being asked to re-invent and redefine itself, the ability to innovate is what will make hospitals and healthcare a growing sector in Arizona’s economic landscape.

Want to know who some of those leaders in healthcare innovation are?

Az Business magazine takes an in-depth look at what four healthcare providers are doing.

Maricopa Integrated Health Systems (MIHS)
The Arizona Burn Center, under the umbrella of MIHS, is world renowned for its burn care and continued research to improve burn treatment. It is not only one of the largest burn centers but also the only one in Arizona to have received verification by the American Burn Association. The center is leading the charge when it comes to better solutions to heal burn victims and is on the cutting edge of two of the most promising new skin substitutes, a “skin spray” and lab-grown artificial skin.

“Our original intention for the skin spray, which has not yet been approved by the FDA and is undergoing trials, was to be used to treat relatively small burns, but we discovered it is much more useful for large burns,” says Kevin Foster, surgeon and medical director of the Arizona Burn Center. “With special approval from the FDA, and of course the patients, we have used it outside the study in three cases.”

The results of those cases were so promising that Foster says they changed the direction of the study to reflect the way the skin spray will ultimately be used, for large burns rather than small burns.

Foster calls a true artificial skin the “Holy Grail” of skin substitutes and notes that a product utilizing lab-grown cells is currently being developed by the University of Wisconsin. The Arizona Burn Center is the research site for that product.

Beyond the development of these new skin solutions, Arizona Burn Center is changing the way burn victims receive diagnosis and treatment. With telemedicine, Burn Center surgeons are available 24/7 via desktop or laptop to consult with emergency physicians at outlying hospitals. Burn specialists can “see” patients, assess the injuries and determine whether a patient can be treated locally or needs to be transported to the burn center.

Though admittedly very expensive to develop and use, these advances in technology are designed to return the patient to their normal lives sooner and with less rehabilitation, which is where the savings will result, says Foster.

“Ultimately, we want patients to get better sooner with less time spent in hospital,” Foster adds. “The skin spray and artificial skin will do that.”

Tucson Medical Center
While innovations in medicine and treatment are paramount, it is also crucial to keep up with the advancing technologies of daily operations within a healthcare organization to keep it running as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Tucson Medical Center (TMC) Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Maish says that 2015 has been focused on taking TMC’s operations to the next level, as it’s the foundation for all of the other improvements that need to occur within a healthcare organization.

“We placed great importance on our electronic medical records (EMR) at an early stage in the game,” Maish says. “While many organizations are just now really diving in, we began our journey in the early 2000s, even before the Affordable Care Act. This has allowed us to reach Stage 7 EMR, which very few hospitals in the U.S. have achieved.”

In addition, TMC has built several interactive, data-rich tools to improve operations, such as the Bed Board, which is an electronic board that allows for ultra-real time management of patients who are waiting for a bed, placed in a bed or discharged.

“This technology has reduced the amount of time that it takes us to get patients in a bed by 30 percent,” Maish adds.

TMC’s goal is to keep people “at home and healthy” versus being in the hospital, according to Maish. In an effort to improve care management and keep readmission rates low, the facility has become an Accountable Care Organization and established the Arizona Connect Care program, within which special measures are taken when discharging patients to ensure they have all the information they need to continue healing at home.

Maish feels that the innovations TMC is taking in the quest for operational excellence will yield better efficiencies and outcomes, which translate to dollars and an optimized bottom line. However, that is secondary.

“More importantly, adopting a steadfast approach toward improvements through innovative thinking, data use and clinical evidence can be the platform for untold financial strength and cultural transformation,” she says.

Mayo Clinic
Sometimes going forward to advance patient care requires reverting to basics. For the Mayo Clinic, that means going back 150 years to the team-based care initiated by the Mayo brothers. Dr. Richard S. Zimmerman, M.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, says the organization “has a long tradition of innovation in healthcare built upon our core belief that the needs of the patient come first … yet only recently has this been emphasized that much better care occurs with this integrated care model.”

Mayo Clinic has advanced medical research with the goal of providing the best possible care for patients. Some of its most recent areas of innovation include cancer care, with its upcoming Proton Beam facility — the first and only one of its kind in Arizona and scheduled to open in February 2016; medical education; telemedicine; genomic research; personalized medicine; regenerative medicine; and the science of healthcare delivery.

“The needs of patients drive research at Mayo Clinic,”  Zimmerman says. “As doctors treat patients and see opportunities for advancing patient care, they work together with Mayo scientists and research teams to develop new and improved diagnostic tools, medications, devices, treatment protocols and more.”

Another major innovation at the Mayo Clinic is the development of The Mayo Medical School — Arizona Campus, which will include a key collaboration with Arizona State University. A major differentiating feature resulting from this new branch of Mayo Medical School is that all students will complete a specialized certification in the Science of Health Care Delivery concurrently with their medical degree. Zimmerman believes Mayo Medical School is the first to offer such a program.

“The science of healthcare delivery focuses on how patients actually receive care,” Zimmerman says. “From using engineering principles to determine the most efficient way to schedule patient appointments to research focusing on the most successful, cost-effective means for delivering treatment, this discipline’s aim is to enhance the patient’s health care experience by improving quality, outcomes and cost.”

Flagstaff Medical Center
Donated to the Flagstaff community in 1955 by Dr. Charles Sechrist as Flagstaff Hospital, the not-for-profit healthcare organization, now known as Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC), has one very unique aspect — its staff treats every patient, whether or not they are able to pay for their care.

FMC, which is DNV Healthcare accredited, also has a special partnership with Northern Arizona tribes, such as the Navajo, to provide care to those with limited access. This exemplifies the true spirit of healthcare leaders, refocusing efforts back on patient care and satisfaction.

The big picture
Based on the innovative efforts of Arizona hospitals and healthcare organizations, patient care has never been more of a priority. This focus has caused an interesting new trend of collaboration, according to Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

“Patients are now receiving the highest level of care, not only by today’s standards but by tomorrow’s as well,” Koerber-Walker says. “This is a result of collaborations of hospitals with other hospitals, universities, entrepreneurs and global leaders. Arizona has a true collaborative spirit and, with that, we’re seeing great things.”

Koerber-Walker cites the Arizona Alzheimer’s Association as an example of multiple organizations working toward a common good.

“TGen, UofA, ASU, Banner, Mayo and Barrow are all working together on this project and we’re seeing how the best of each of these institutions can come together to end this disease,” Koerber-Walker says, noting that Arizona is receiving global attention for its collaborative effort on Alzheimer’s research.

Koerber-Walker believes strongly in the recent innovations such as telemedicine and collaborative research will continue to result in better patient care and ultimately prevent readmissions that hurt hospitals’ bottom lines.

“Innovation is not only making patients’ lives better, it’s improving quality of care,” she says.

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ASU, Mayo researchers develop real-time test for bone cancer

Are your bones getting stronger or weaker? Right now, it’s hard to know. But a new test for detecting bone loss, being developed by Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic researchers, offers the possibility of near real-time monitoring of bone diseases. The technique, which measures changes in calcium isotope ratios, has passed an important hurdle by being tested on urine samples from NASA space shuttle astronauts.

Our bones are largely built of calcium, and the turnover of calcium can indicate the development of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and the cancer multiple myeloma. Geochemists have developed extremely accurate ways of measuring calcium isotope ratios, for example for the study of sea shell deposits in sedimentary rocks. Now a group of geochemists and biologists have worked with NASA to put these techniques together to develop a new, rapid test of bone health.

“It’s a novel project in which we use geoscience techniques and concepts for biomedical research,” says lead researcher Ariel Anbar, President’s Professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The ASU team also includes Gwyneth Gordon and Steve Romaniello; collaborator Scott Smith works at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Using mass spectrometry, the relative ratios of the calcium isotopes 42Ca and 44Ca in bone can be discerned. The researchers found that lighter calcium isotopes, such as 42Ca, are absorbed from the blood into the bone during bone formation. Conversely, these light isotopes tend to be released into the bloodstream when bones break down. By measuring the ratios of the two isotopes in blood or urine scientists can calculate the rate of change of bone mass.

Anbar will be discussing this method at the Goldschmidt Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, August 16-21. He will also be recognized for being elected a Geochemistry Fellow by The Geochemical Society and The European Association of Geochemistry.

“The big advantage of these measurements is that they show what is happening in the bone, whereas traditional bone health measurements, such as DXA scans, show what hashappened. This means that we can have a real near-time view of what is happening in the bone, rather than comparing before and after, when damage may have already been done,” explains Anbar.

“Our goal is that these measurements will allow us to see bone breakdown in osteoporosis, but also can show us the progress of certain that affect bone, such as multiple myeloma.”

The research was piloted in bed-bound subjects (who lose bone mass), but the best way for the researchers to test whether the system worked was in an ambient and less controlled population who are known to experience rapid bone loss. In space, because of zero gravity conditions, astronauts experience very rapid bone loss. Working with NASA, the researchers measured calcium isotope ratios in urine from 30 shuttle astronauts, before, during, and after the flights. This allowed them to confirm that the test worked at high sensitivity (NASA partly funded the research).

Joseph Skulan, a member of the research team who first proposed the idea, said: “We were able to confirm that Ca isotopes in the sample from the shuttle astronauts shifted as expected, meaning that they we could see in more or less real time the ongoing bone loss. We did this with simple urine samples, taken at various points during their flights.”

In a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the researchers have also looked at a group of 71 patients who either had multiple myeloma (bone cancer), or were at risk of multiple myeloma.

“What we see with cancer patients is exciting,” said Anbar. “Samples from patients with the most active cancer tended to have lighter Ca isotopes. This means that the tests could theoretically feed into decisions on whether or not to treat a patient, for example if a cancer was dormant or growing very slowly, and to assess the effectiveness of treatments.”

He continued: “At the moment, this is still a test which is in development, but we’ve shown the principle is sound and the potential profound. The advantage for this methodology is that the patient doesn’t have to come to the machine; the measurements can be done with a blood or urine test. And from a scientific point of view, we are delighted that we have the chance to combine geochemistry, biology, and space science to benefit patients.”

Commenting, Scott Parazynski, MD, former NASA astronaut, currently University Explorer and Professor at Arizona State University said:

“It’s tremendous to see a sophisticated geochemical assay being translated into what could become a really significant medical diagnostic tool. Physicians treating osteoporosis and other calcium disorders of bone, including multiple myeloma, have very few tools at their disposal to quickly determine whether the treatments they’re providing are actually making a difference. By using calcium isotope ratios, healthcare providers may be able to optimize therapies for these debilitating illnesses in the future.”

Catherine Ivy in laboratory

Ivy Foundation funds extension of Mayo brain cancer study

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced an extension and funding of an additional $1.3 million for Mayo Clinic to study brain tumor vaccines that combine a patient’s immune stimulators with tumor cultures from other patients. The extension will include a second trial with patients whose brain cancer has returned.

The Ivy Foundation selected the study led by Allan B. Dietz, Ph.D., head of Mayo Clinic’s Human Cellular Therapy Laboratory, and Ian Parney, M.D. Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and immunobiologist, because of Dr. Dietz’s track record in brain cancer research, among other things.

“We chose to fund the extension of Mayo Clinic’s brain cancer study due to the meritorious work being done by Dr. Dietz and his team,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “With two trials in place, we believe additional and critical information on brain cancer could be generated to impact the patient in the near term.”

Both trials will combine a patient’s optimized dendritic cells, known to be potent immune stimulators, with pooled and well-characterized cellular debris – known as lysates – from other patients’ brain tumor cultures to generate a tumor vaccine. The first trial focuses on people newly diagnosed with brain cancer while the second trial will be with relapsed patients whose brain cancer has returned.

“With the addition of a second trial, we have an incredible opportunity to broaden our studies to patients with recurrent glioblastoma. These patients have few options and desperately need new therapies,” said Dr. Dietz. “The support of the Ivy Foundation makes this research possible and we are deeply grateful.”

The Ivy Foundation has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults, and is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America.

“We greatly appreciate the Ivy Foundation’s vote of confidence in our brain cancer study,” said Dr. Parney. “This foundation’s support has been critical to patient-focused brain cancer research. With their help, we hope to find answers for people suffering from this highly aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.”

healthcare

TGen, Mayo clinical trials combat deadly skin cancer

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Mayo Clinic are helping launch a national clinical trial that will apply the latest in precision medicine to treat advanced melanoma skin cancer.

The study leverages advances in genomics, informatics, and health information technology, yielding more precise medical treatments for patients with this devastating disease.

Mayo Clinic is the only clinical site in Arizona to offer this new treatment, sponsored by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) and the Melanoma Research Alliance. These clinical trials are the culmination of nearly four years of research under an SU2C Melanoma Dream Team grant.

Metastatic melanoma is a type of cancer that has spread from the skin to other parts of the body, most frequently the lungs, muscles, brain, and liver. Metastatic melanoma is responsible for more than 9,000 deaths a year in the United States, so there remains an urgent need for new treatment options.

Mayo Clinic and TGen researchers have a long history of innovative research into improving treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma. This new clinical trial represents the next generation of precision medicine for this disease.

Recent dramatic advances in melanoma rest on the twin pillars of immunotherapy and genetically targeted therapy. Immunotherapy may lead to long-term disease control in 30-50 percent of patients. For the remainder of patients, approximately half, an alteration to the BRAF gene can be targeted by a new generation of pills. For the remaining patients, however, there are no other treatments proven to prolong life.

“This study is unique in offering more than 20 different treatment options in a single trial. By leveraging the power of cancer genomics, we believe we can treat each patient with the best drug for their individual situation. This design offers patients a huge advantage over the old model of treating all patients the same way and only testing one drug at a time,” said Dr. Alan Bryce, Mayo Clinic’s lead clinical investigator on the trial.

“Despite significant advances in treatment of melanoma, a substantial proportion of patients still face limited treatment options. By analyzing a patient’s tumor at a molecular level, there is an opportunity to identify individually matched treatments that are not otherwise obvious in a given patient. Our study explores this concept of precision medicine for treatment of cancer at a level that has not been done before,” said Dr. Aleksandar Sekulic, a physician and scientist with a joint appointment at Mayo Clinic and TGen.

“We are addressing a continuing and significant unmet medical need for advanced melanoma patients who have progressed on our most promising current treatments,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director. “The Stand Up To Cancer-Melanoma Research Alliance grant gives us the ability to align cutting edge genomic research with world-recognized clinical centers like the Mayo Clinic, all joining forces to conquer this terrible disease.”

The SU2C Melanoma Dream Team is led by Dr. Trent and Dr. Pat LoRusso, D.O., at the Yale University Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn. The Mayo Clinic leadership includes Drs. Sekulic and Bryce at Mayo Clinic in Arizona; Dr. Svetomir Markovic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester; and Dr. Richard Joseph at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

The clinical trials, which will enroll patients lacking a particular genetic mutation for whom immune therapy did not work or was not an option, uses the latest molecular sequencing techniques to best match targeted drugs to the unique genetic alterations present in tumors missing the BRAF mutation. The study will evaluate if using this precision therapy approach improves outcomes over current treatments.

The clinical trials for the project, titled Stand Up To Cancer Consortium Genomics-Enabled Medicine for Melanoma (G.E.M.M.): Using Molecularly-Guided Therapy for Patients with BRAF wild-type (BRAFwt) Metastatic Melanoma, is being lead by Yale University and includes seven other institutions:

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit; Biometrics Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Md.; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMCCC), Ann Arbor, Mich.; Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center/Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas; Indiana University, Indianapolis, Ind.; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

Additional support for this trial was provided by the Gateway for Cancer Research Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Seven different pharmaceutical companies are supplying commercially available and investigational targeted agents.

Dr. David Dodick, director of the Mayo Clinic concussion program in Phoenix.

Youth football tackles concussion issues

Brian Brooks still remembers the first time he watched his son sustain a head injury playing tackle football. The hit left 10-year-old Carson down on the field, injured – and Brian with a parent’s worst nightmare.

“Of course, my first impulse was to run down to the field immediately,” Brian said. “It was very hard the first time that happened, watching my kid lay there.”

When Carson eventually came off the field, Brian had a decision to make. Years ago, Carson might have missed no time at all, with his coaches eager to rush him back onto the field. But the world of football has changed over the last decade. Head injuries and their long-term ramifications have overhauled long-held beliefs in the sport, making the decision of how long to sit kids out after an injury difficult for parents.

“There were still games remaining in the season,” Brian said. “We ended up erring on the side of caution and having him miss at least two full games.”

Head injuries in collegiate and professional football have come under intense scrutiny the last few years, and attention has trickled down to the youngest levels of the sport. Many argue youth tackle football has the biggest responsibility of all, as the heads and bodies of young players are still forming.

“The younger brain is more vulnerable to concussion,” said Dr. David Dodick, director of the Mayo Clinic concussion program in Phoenix. “Simply because our brain is made up of billions of wires, most of which are insulated. And it takes awhile to lay down that insulation on all of those wires. A lesser degree of trauma, of blunt force, would produce a concussion in a younger person and it takes longer for them to recover.”

Last May, Dodick attended the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit at the White House, where President Barack Obama spoke. On his way home, Dodick thought about the lack of research when it came to youth sports and concussions. Once back in Phoenix, he reached out to the most influential youth league, Pop Warner.

“I felt like while we were studying concussion in collegiate and professional sports,” Dodick said. “There wasn’t much going on in terms of youth sports. So I felt it was time to reach out to Pop Warner to determine what their concussion policy was, what their sideline protocol was, how their athletes were cared for after a concussion.”

Pop Warner immediately responded to Dodick, and, after several meetings, a partnership was formed between the youth league and the Mayo Clinic. It allows the Mayo Clinic to continue to research tools to diagnose head injuries that have been validated at a professional and collegiate level but not yet at a youth one. Pop Warner players are now also baseline tested before the season begins, testing players’ vision, balance and cognitive skills so medical professionals can spot a head injury quickly during the season.

“Baseline testing should happen every single year,” Dodick said. “It gives us a sense of how their brain is functioning at their baseline. So if they are concussed we’ll be able to at least judge them compared to their baseline and we’ll know when they get back to their baseline level of functioning.”

In 2012, Pop Warner became the first youth football organization to limit the amount of contact a team could have during practice. Players are no longer permitted to participate in full-speed tackling drills when lined up farther than three yards apart.

“Pop Warner was really ahead of the curve,” said Mike Funkhouser, vice president of Superstition Pop Warner. “A good method of curbing some of the concussions came from a national limit on contact in practice. They limited the amount of contact to a third of the weekly practice time.”

The new partnership allows Pop Warner to make even more improvements in dealing with head injuries. With the help of Dodick and the Mayo Clinic, a return-to-play protocol has been instituted. Injured players are now evaluated by a cognitive specialist, balance expert and neurologist before there is any decision made about when they can return to the field. The Mayo Clinic sees children as young as 8 as part of the program.

“If a player is injured on a weekend, they call a hotline and we get them in on Monday,” Dodick said. “The last thing we want is for them never to be evaluated, their symptoms go away, they feel back to normal, then they go back to play the next weekend and they get reinjured. Because that could be devastating. Not only could it be fatal in rare instances but it could lead to symptoms that persist for weeks, months or years. I’ve seen plenty of that.”

The national focus on concussions has made parents of young football players more aware of the dangers of the sport. Brian remembers the hesitation on his part when Carson, the youngest of three brothers, first asked if he could play tackle football. Even for a father of three, the idea of his 7-year-old throwing on pads gave him pause.

“Absolutely there was hesitation,” Brian said. “And I’m not a squeamish guy.”

But not everyone feels the same. One obstacle doctors have to deal with is parents who want to rush their children back to action. Dodick received multiple concussions playing youth hockey and has been asked by parents why he won’t give approval for their child to return to play since he suffered no long-term repercussions from head injuries. Other parents will cite athletes who played collision sports and ended up with no long-term effects from concussions.

“I still think there’s a general lack of understanding of the implications of concussions,” Dodick said. “You can understand why they’re saying that. But that’s kind of like saying, ‘I know lots of people who smoke who never get lung cancer. Can I condone smoking?’ No, of course no … I also can’t tell you if when children are concussed, how many are going to develop prolonged concussion syndrome that’s going to affect their ability to perform in sports as well as academically.”

The partnership appears to have had a positive effect on young athletes. Now 14, Carson Brooks is playing in Superstition Pop Warner, after playing several years in other organizations. He suffered a second head injury while playing in Pop Warner, and his father noticed a marked difference in the way his injury was treated the second time.

“With the second injury, it was more than just one EMT looking at him,” Brian said. “With the Mayo Clinic being involved, you’re going to have a more educated set of eyes watching him. I actually mentioned to the coach how much more regimented their concussion program was.”

The biggest difference Brian noticed with Carson’s injury and within the league itself is a culture shift in which coaches, parents and players acknowledge safety as the primary focus.

“It’s clearly about the safety of the athlete,” Brian said. “I think they’re creating a culture where it’s not cool to say, ‘Oh just suck it up and get back in there.’ Instead it’s about nurturing these players to make sure they’re healthy. I think that’s a great thing.”

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute, started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

ASU researchers find potential clues to ovarian cancer

Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers – a type of blood-born signal – is another step toward early detection.

ASU’s new study is the first use of high density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, according to the alliance.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer “with over 15,000 deaths per year,” said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

“Ovarian cancer is often detected late in its course, and by the time it is detected, it is too late to really have a big impact,” said Dr. Josh LaBaer, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection.

Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.

Physicians already use biomarkers to diagnose other diseases. For example, cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease, and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.

The institute, which focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care, also is researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the institute, and LaBaer started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer and after about 10 years of research, they narrowed it down to about a dozen biomarkers.

The institute used the microarray technology to identify three of these autoantibodies as promising biomarker candidates in the new study.

“Now it is time to come up with more serious validation studies to figure out how to put them together in a panel to get a better test,” LaBear said.

Some of the biomarkers discovered by ASU are in the clinical studies phase, and researchers must validate and vet the findings in national studies, Anderson said.

The current tests used for screening for other types of cancer ¬– like mammograms or colonoscopy – are great tools, but they are expensive.

“If we use that as a benchmark for what these tests usually cost,” blood tests can be more cost effective, Anderson said.

Diagnostic tests similar to what the researchers are trying to develop are relatively inexpensive, Anderson said. The molecular test for colon cancer only runs in the several hundred-dollar range.

Dr. Connie Mariano 2

Former White House doctor will speak at healthcare awards

Although she doesn’t, Dr. Connie Mariano could boast about her title as the first Filipino American in history to receive the rank of Navy Rear Admiral. However, when she reflects on her past, this “first” may not seem quite as significant as another first: “the first patient.”

This is how Dr. Mariano, former White House physician, referred to her most important patient: the president of the United States.

Mariano served for nine years as the White House physician under President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.

Mariano will be the keynote speaker at Az Business magazine’s Healthcare Leadership Awards dinner and awards ceremony on April 9  at the Arizona Grand Resort. Click here to see a list of the 2015 finalists.

Mariano published a captivating book about her experiences at the White House. The memoir, titled “The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents,” is written in such a way that you feel as if you’re sitting down with Mariano herself, listening to stories about her years caring for the most important patients of her medical career.

Since 2001, Mariano has lived and served people here in the Valley. After four years working as a consultant in the Executive Health Care Program at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Mariano established the Center for Executive Medicine, a medical concierge practice for CEOs and their families. Framed pictures of Mariano being sworn in as Rear Admiral and posing with Presidents and other world leaders adorn the walls of her medical office, furnished to resemble the West Wing of the White House.

While Mariano has spent her life in innovative service to others, she’s not finished yet. Recently, Mariano was nominated and chosen to sit on the board of directors for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Ever since Mariano’s younger sister came close to death at the age of 3 after accidentally ingesting poisonous liquid, Mariano, who played a vital role in saving her sister’s life, has recognized the importance of quality pediatric care.

Now, a mother of two and a stepmother of two, Mariano continues to see the need for excellent pediatric medicine and as a physician who cares for adults, oftent sees the dangerous effects of unhealthy choices that could have been prevented in childhood.

“As a parent, I can definitely see the importance of (pediatric care),” said Mariano. “But also as a physician who believes in preventative medicine, I think if you can give good care in the pediatrics world, get (children) started with good prevention of disease and good health habits, as well as educate the parents, you’ll have a healthier population.”

When discussing what excited her about the board position with PCH, Mariano said, “The most significant thing was to be part of a great team of people who are really going to make a difference in childcare here in the Valley.”

Mariano looks forward to acting as a liaison between Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the federal government and using the connections she has in Washington to contribute to the growing institution.

“There’s a reason I’m in this position in my life,” Mariano said. “The best thing to do about it is to touch lives.”

With every life she encounters, Mariano asks, “How can I help that life be better?” As a board member for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Mariano will be able to contribute to the betterment of thousands of young lives.

stroke

Hundreds of pediatric physicians converge in Phoenix

Phoenix Children’s Hospital will play host to more than 750 physicians and health care professionals from across the U.S. for the 38th annual Melvin L. Cohen Pediatric Update at the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix.
In the past four decades, the event has grown to become one of the largest pediatric health care conferences in the country. This year’s symposium will feature speakers from leading health care education centers and providers, including Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Harvard, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Mayo Clinic, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and of course, Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
This year’s Pediatric Update will build on the program’s long-standing tradition of educating pediatricians, specialists and pediatric nurse practitioners on the latest advances in evidence-based practices in pediatric medicine. Lecture and workshop topics will range from emergency medicine and infectious disease to gynecology, gastroenterology and psychology.
 
“As one of the leading pediatric hospitals in the country, we are well-suited to provide the best educational experience and timely pediatric information and practices for health professionals,” said Robert L. Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “The panel of medical professionals we present this year is unparalleled in its quality and commitment to excellence.”
 
Adding to Pediatric Update’s already robust series, the 2015 conference will also present two engaging symposiums exploring dynamic trends in pediatric neuroscience and obesity. 
 
Coinciding with Pediatric Update, the 19th annual Children’s Neuroscience Symposium, presented by Barrow at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, brings a dedicated examination of the latest information to assess neurological conditions and manage patient care. Sessions will focus on pediatric spinal disorders, the pediatrician’s role in neurological emergencies and neurosurgery, as well as advances in children’s headaches and sleep disorders.
 
“Pediatric neurological disorders impact thousands of families across the country, and at Phoenix Children’s we continue to provide the educational resources to improve patient care,” said Dr. P. David Adelson, director, Barrow at Phoenix Children’s.
 
In its third year, the Pediatric Update’s Childhood Obesity Symposium seeks to provide a better understanding of the complex causes of weight gain, maintenance and weight loss. Endocrinology, behavioral health, microbiomes, and diet and fitness will play a role in the learning.
 
“It’s estimated that more than a third of America’s youth are overweight or obese,” Dr. Don McClellan, division chief, pediatric endocrinologist, Phoenix Children’s Medical Group. “Phoenix Children’s takes this problem very seriously, because obesity creates a myriad of problems for youth, and often leads to diseases and serious health issues later in life.”
Sun Health

Tucson Medical Center may join Mayo network

Tucson Medical Center trying to become part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network includes about 34 hospitals across the United States that have joined the network to improve clinical care, said Judy Rich, CEO of TMC .

“The goal is to share evidence-based medicine and to give our physicians here at TMC access to the care network,” Rich told the Star.

The collaboration is not an ownership change or an affiliation. TMC remains independent and locally owned.

Other Arizona hospitals in the Mayo network include ASU Health Services, Kingman Regional Medical Center and Yuma Regional Medical Center.

Once an anticipated merger between the University of Arizona Health Network and Phoenix-based Banner Health is completed next month, TMC will be the sole remaining acute-care community hospital in the city that is locally owned, the Star reported.

 

 

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Scottsdale hosts second Cure Corridor Event

Scottsdale economic development will be hosting the second annual Cure Corridor Event at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This event features a significant lineup of Cure Corridor partners sharing their insight into the future of the Cure Corridor and Bio-Life Sciences Industry. Keynote speaker Elizabeth Holmes – founder and CEO of Theranos, which recently located at Scottsdale’s SkySong, will headline the event.  Ms. Holmes was recently featured on the cover of Forbes magazine and debuted on Forbes 400 as the youngest self-made woman billionaire.

The first annual Cure Corridor event was launched in September 2013 and entertained hundreds of attendees with strong presenter content. The City of Scottsdale’s goal is to raise awareness about the innovation activity taking place in the community while supporting business growth and collaboration among industry partners.

This year’s event brings together a multitude Scottsdale industry partners in bio-life science to share recent happenings in their core areas of research in a rapid fire presentation format. The current line-up of noted rapid fire speakers include:

• Martin Shultz – Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee
• Dr. Michael Gordon – Medical Director of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program at Scottsdale Healthcare
• J.D. Weir – Primus Pharmaceuticals
• David Bennett – Orion Health
• Dr. Robert Greenes – ASU and Mayo Clinic
• Walter Cooper – Matrix Medical Network

“Our healthcare and life science community in Scottsdale is a vital economic sector and is as a key driver for job growth in our community,” said Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “More importantly, leading life science innovators call Scottsdale “home.” This means that the people of our community have access to the best possible healthcare services, cutting edge research, and other opportunities that will benefit the people of Scottsdale today and for generations to come.”

The Cure Corridor is not only a location but a concept designed to promote the innovative activities occurring around the concentration of the Bio-Life Sciences sector throughout Scottsdale. This sector is a major driver of the innovation economy in the State of Arizona, Greater Phoenix region and City of Scottsdale. According to the Flinn Foundation, the biosciences in Arizona “develop treatments for health afflictions, design diagnostics to gauge and prevent illness, strengthen our food supply, develop alternative fuel sources, and much more.”

The Scottsdale Cure Corridor is more than a brand or location. This strategic concept includes activities designed to promote the innovative practices occurring around the concentration of biotech and life sciences industries from Shea Boulevard to the Scottsdale Airpark and throughout Scottsdale. The bio-life science sector has a strong presence in the city’s economic health, with Scottsdale housing 13 percent of all Phoenix Metro area bio-life sciences employment. The Scottsdale bio-life sciences activity includes a workforce of about 27,700 people and a direct economic output of $2.5 billion and indirect output of $3.5 billion annually anchored by companies such as TD2, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and Mayo Clinic.

The Cure Corridor isn’t just home to some of the world’s most prestigious clinical research facilities it is also home to pharmaceutical companies such as Primus, Prismic and West Pharmaceuticals.

The health-service industry burst in 2014 with major location and expansion announcements by some of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.  Companies such Orion Health, ZocDoc, Zenefits and Accolade have all chosen Scottsdale because of its skilled workforce, high quality of life and a booming industry cluster which is drawing national recognition.

W. P. Carey School Announces Hall of Fame Members

Two technology mavens and a prominent professor focused on improving our health care will be honored for their accomplishments this month. The three alums will be inducted into the W. P. Carey School of Business Homecoming Hall of Fame at Arizona State University on Oct. 30. Previous inductees come from such diverse organizations as the American Red Cross, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Motorola, Wells Fargo Bank and XM Satellite Radio.

“The new honorees have all blazed a trail in their respective fields, making a difference in their professions, their community and society as a whole,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They also set a great example for our current students that there are no limits on how far they can go in their own career paths.”

The 37th annual W. P. Carey School inductees are:

• Leonard Berry – Dr. Berry, a distinguished professor and well-known author, has devoted his career to studying the marketing and quality of services, with a recent focus on how to improve health care service. He has written 10 books and done extensive work with the Mayo Clinic. He is currently examining how to improve the service experience of cancer patients and their families. Berry has received countless major academic awards and is both a fellow of the Academy of Marketing Science and a past national president of the American Marketing Association. He is a member of several boards of directors, including for Lowe’s, Genesco and Nemours Children’s Health System. He is a Regents Professor, teaching at Texas A&M University, and he received his Ph.D. from ASU’s business school in 1968.

• Brian Gentile – Gentile’s impressive tech career spans almost 30 years and major global companies, including Apple, Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), and NCR Corporation. He is a leader in “big data” and cloud computing, who recently built and served as CEO of Jaspersoft Corporation. After TIBCO Software recently acquired the company, Gentile became senior vice president and general manager of its TIBCO Analytics products business unit. He has also been a public governor on the board of the Pacific Stock Exchange, a public member of a New York Stock Exchange committee on ethics and business conduct, and a founding board member for several Silicon Valley startups. He earned his MBA from ASU in 1992.

• Chuck Robel – Tech legend Robel served as chairman of the board of McAfee, one of the world’s best-known computer-security software companies, prior to its multibillion-dollar sale to Intel. He now serves on the boards of directors of GoDaddy, Jive Software, and several other public and private companies. He previously helped to manage about $1 billion in portfolio investments as chief operating officer at venture capital fund Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He has been involved in more than 80 initial public offerings (IPOs) as an adviser, investor and board member. He received his bachelor’s in accounting from ASU’s business school in 1971.

Alumni, business leaders and students will attend the Homecoming Hall of Fame event Thursday, Oct. 30 at McCord Hall Plaza on ASU’s Tempe campus. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Advance registration is requested at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/events/2965 or by calling (480) 965-3978.

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Az Business honors Most Admired Companies

BestCompaniesAZ and Az Business magazine honored 40 companies at the 2014 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies award reception on September 11, 2014 at the Westin Kierland Resort.

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Arizona’s Most Admired Companies are selected based on how a company has performed in the following areas: workplace culture, leadership excellence, corporate and social responsibility, customer opinion and innovation. Five companies were recognized with a “spotlight” award for each of the five categories.

CONGRATUALTIONS!

The five spotlight awards winners are:

Customer Opinion: Cresa
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Quality Leadership: Kitchell
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Social Responsibility: Vanguard
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Innovation: Laser Spine Institute
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Workplace Culture: GoDaddy
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“This is the most comprehensive and prestigious corporate awards program in Arizona because it recognizes the contributions and impact these ‘most admired companies’ bring to our state,’” says Denise Gredler, co-founder of the Most Admired Companies Program.

“These companies truly exemplify what it means to be a good corporate citizen,” says Cheryl Green, publisher of Arizona Business Magazine. “MAC winners consistently show strong leadership, a commitment to the communities in which they operate and concern for their employees and customers.”

This year’s presenting sponsors included Dignity Health of Arizona, National Bank of Arizona and Thunderbird International School of Global Management. Additional Event Sponsors include Charles Schwab, Progrexion, Ryan and Shutterfly.

The 40 companies named Most Admired Companies for 2014 were:

Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Alliance Residential Company
American Express
Arizona Diamondbacks
AXA Advisors
Banner Casa Grande Medical Center
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
CBRE, Inc.
Charles Schwab
Cresa Phoenix
Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment
DIRTT Environmental Solutions
Fennemore Craig
GoDaddy
Goodmans Interior Structurs
Grant Thornton
Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort
Homeowners Financial Group
Hyatt Regency Phoenix
Infusionsoft
International Cruise & Excursions, Inc.
Kitchell
LaneTerralever
Laser Spine Institute
Mayo Clinic
Miller Russell Associates
National Bank of Arizona
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Quarles & Brady
Rider Levett Bucknall
Ryan, LLC
Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network
Shutterfly, Inc.
Sonora Quest Laboratories
Sundt Construction
The CORE Institute
Telesphere
UnitedHealthcare of Arizona
University of Advancing Technology
Vanguard

MS2014_guitar_logo_bw_wtag_f

“Cooks & Chords” to raise funds for MS

Cooks & Chords, an evening tasting chef-prepared dishes from Valley restaurants paired with just the right spirits and acoustic music to raise funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis, is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 13 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale.

Cooks & Chords is sponsored by the Mayo Clinic. Among restaurants committed to the event are Aiello’s Salumeria, Charr Burger, Isa’s Pizza, Mayo Clinic, Pita Jungle and Sierra Bonita Grill.

Proceeds from the event that also includes a raffle and silent auction will support MS research, programs and services.

Auction items include, but are not limited to, a stay at the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, jewelry, stay and golf at La Paloma Resort in Tucson and VIP tickets to the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction.

Tickets are $75 per person and are available by visiting www.ArizonaMS.org or calling (480) 455-3958. Additional sponsorships are available.

Chefs and restaurants interested in participating should call Arizona MS Chapter Director of Development Brandee Wessel at (480) 455-3958.

For more information about MS, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

NIH awards BAI, Mayo $8.3 million

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) renewed funding for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) and Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, longitudinal study of the earliest changes associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. The award, an estimated $8.3 million over the next five years, continues NIH’s long-term support of the investigation.

The study, which began two decades ago, has been examining the subtle brain imaging, memory and thinking changes that occur in healthy late-middle-aged and older adults who have inherited from their parents either one, two or no copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s. Each additional copy of the gene significantly increases a person’s chance of developing the disease.

“We are extremely grateful to the NIH and our wonderful research volunteers for their support,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director and one of the study’s principal investigators. “From the beginning, this study has been driven by our interest in finding treatments to prevent or end Alzheimer’s as quickly as possible, and to provide the information and tools needed to do just that.”

By studying individuals at three levels of genetic risk, researchers have been able to get a sneak peek at the changes associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s. As study participants begin to reach older ages, researchers hope to further clarify the extent to which characteristic brain imaging and other biological changes are associated with subsequent clinical decline. Additionally, researchers hope to further clarify the number of at-risk persons needed to conduct prevention trials, as well as share this valuable resource with other researchers and further develop the methods needed to test the range of promising treatments as quickly as possible.

This longitudinal study began in 1994, soon after researchers discovered the APOE4 gene’s contribution to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They have been following approximately 200 healthy volunteers with varying copies of the APOE4 gene, starting between the ages of about 50-65. Every two years, participants are monitored using an extensive battery of brain imaging, memory and thinking tests. A growing number of participants have also been providing cerebrospinal fluid samples. As many of the volunteers reach older ages, a growing number are now at risk for developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. This disease progression will give researchers the opportunity to characterize the extent of change in various biomarker and cognitive measurements. Data will be used to evaluate potential treatments that could combat amyloid plaques, which are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s, as well as help inform the design of future prevention trials.

“Like Dr. Reiman, I am excited about the opportunity we have been given to help advance the study of preclinical Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Richard J. Caselli, Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the study’s other principal investigator. “We also look forward to the chance to share our data and samples with other researchers to help advance the scientific fight against this terrible disease.”

The study has had a profound impact on Alzheimer’s prevention efforts. It has helped shape the field’s understanding of the progressive brain changes that precede the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s by almost two decades. It has also served as the foundation for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, an international collaborative formed to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven therapies. Data from this longitudinal study has also contributed to the development of the National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association research criteria for pre-clinical Alzheimer’s. It has also provided key information for the first reconceptualization of Alzheimer’s as a sequence of biological changes that progress over a person’s lifetime.

“By providing insights into the earliest Alzheimer’s-related changes to brain function and structure, this study is contributing to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’ Disease goal of finding effective interventions by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads the NIH research program on Alzheimer’s.

This work also includes researchers from Arizona State University, University of Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, organizations that are partners in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. Dr. Eric M. Reiman of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Dr. Richard J. Caselli of Mayo Clinic are the two principal investigators.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects as many as 5 million Americans age 65 and older, according to a number of estimates. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

bioscience

Arizona Biomedical Corridor advances

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and the City Council today approved the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority to issue up to $180 million in revenue bonds to finance Mayo Clinic’s new proton beam radiation therapy center.

The Council also approved a two-year extension of its agreement with ASU and Mayo Clinic to continue collaborative planning efforts to develop the Arizona Biomedical Corridor in northeast Phoenix.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, the corridor’s anchor, will be the only center in the Southwest to provide proton beam radiation, a technology that precisely delivers radiation to a tumor while protecting surrounding healthy tissue and organs. The 165,000-square-foot underground facility will help Mayo medical teams treat about 2,000 patients, including children, each year beginning in spring 2016.

“Mayo Clinic’s newly consolidated cancer center is exciting for our community because it helps to deliver top-notch care to our residents and contributes to the innovation-based economy we need,” said Stanton.

“I am thrilled we are taking the next step in our partnership with ASU and Mayo Clinic on the Biomedical Corridor in District 2,” said Vice Mayor Jim Waring. “This project will be a great economic driver for the city and the state, and only enhance Phoenix’s image as an international destination for medical care.”

“Arizona cancer patients will no longer have to travel far to receive proton beam therapy,” said Wyatt Decker, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “Proton beam therapy, with fewer side effects and greater precision, is particularly beneficial for children and younger patients. We’re pleased to be offering this important treatment soon in the fight against cancer, right here in our community.”

Stanton also announced that the Arizona State Land Department has accepted the application by KUD International, a private developer, to play a key role in developing biomedical and advanced technology research on the site. As a result, the department plans to auction 225 acres of land within the proposed corridor by the end of this year.

customer.service

Getting Better Customer Service

How can your favorite businesses improve your customer experience and offer better types of service? Business leaders from around the world will gather in Phoenix next week to learn how to gain an advantage and win your loyalty. The 24th annual Compete through Service Symposium will feature speakers from Cisco, Disney Institute, FedEx Services, HP, IBM, Vanguard and other household names.

Some of the topics being covered this year: How services can help differentiate your business, lessons in innovation, how to use smart analytics, and how to create “wow” through the smallest things to make a difference for your customers.

This event is hosted by the prestigious Center for Services Leadership at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The center was created in response to the unique challenges faced by companies as services have become a driving force in economies around the world, with less growth happening in products and manufacturing. The center’s member firms include Boeing, FedEx, GE, IBM, Mayo Clinic, Michelin, PetSmart, State Farm Insurance Company and other household names. The center also offers online courses, a list of which can be found at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/research/services-leadership/online-courses.

WHEN: Wednesday to Friday, Nov. 6-8, Full schedule available at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/symposium

WHERE: Marriott Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 50 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

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TGen researchers uncover root of myeloma relapse

Researchers have discovered why multiple myeloma, a difficult to cure cancer of the bone marrow, frequently recurs after an initially effective treatment that can keep the disease at bay for up to several years.

Working in collaboration with colleagues at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix were part of the team that conducted the study published in the Sept. 9 issue of Cancer Cell.

The research team initially analyzed 7,500 genes in multiple myeloma cells to identify genes which when suppressed made cancer cells resistant to a common class of drugs called proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib or carfilzomib. Then, the team studied bone marrow biopsies from patients to further understand their results. The process identified two genes (IRE1 and XBP1) that control response to the proteasome inhibitor and the mechanism underlying the drug resistance that is the barrier to cure.

The findings showed recurrence was due to an intrinsic resistance found in immature tumor progenitor (mother) cells is the root cause of the disease and also spawns relapse. The research demonstrates that although the visible cancer cells that make up most of the tumor are sensitive to the proteasome inhibitor drug, the underlying progenitor cells are untouched by this therapy. These progenitor cells then proliferate and mature to reboot the disease process, even in patients who appeared to be in complete remission.

“Our findings reveal a way forward toward a cure for multiple myeloma, which involves targeting both the progenitor cells and the plasma cells at the same time,” says Rodger Tiedemann, M.D., a hematologist specializing in multiple myeloma and lymphoma at Princess Margaret. “Now that we know that progenitor cells persist and lead to relapse after treatment, we can move quickly into clinical trials, measure this residual disease in patients, and attempt to target it with new drugs or with drugs that may already exist.”

“Some myeloma cells are too immature to be caught by the drugs and thus hide underground only to reemerge later,” says Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., Dean for Research at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and contributor to the study. “This study has wide implications in the search for a cure of this common blood cancer as this ‘progenitor cell’ will have to be targeted.”

Jonathan Keats, Ph.D., head of TGen’s Multiple Myeloma Research Laboratory, said: “This study, which leverages data generated at TGen as part of the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative, shows how mutations acquired by multiple myeloma tumors can make a tumor resistant to specific therapies and highlights the importance of TGen’s precision medicine approaches.”

Dr. Tiedemann says: “If you think of multiple myeloma as a weed, then proteasome inhibitors are like a goat that eats the mature foliage above ground, producing a remission, but doesn’t eat the roots, so that one day the weed returns.”

The study — Xbp1s-Negative Tumor B Cells and Pre-Plasmablasts Mediate Therapeutic Proteasome Inhibitor Resistance in Multiple Myeloma — was funded by the National Cancer Institute, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Leukemla and Lymphoma Society and Canadian Cancer Society, the Arthur Macaulay Cushing Estate and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Tiedemann is the Molly and David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research, at the University of Toronto, Dr. Stewart is the Anna Maria and Vasek Pollack Professor of Cancer Research at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Keats is an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Integrated Cancer Genomics Division.

banner alzheimers foundation - brain research

Ivy Foundation Grants $1.2 Million for Brain Cancer Study

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced a gift of nearly $1.2 million to study brain tumor vaccines that combine a patient’s immune stimulators with tumor cultures from other patients.

The Ivy Foundation selected the study led by Allan B. Dietz, Ph.D., head of Mayo Clinic’s Human Cellular Therapy Laboratory, and Ian Parney, M.D. Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and immunobiologist, because of Dr. Dietz’s track record in brain cancer research, among other things.

“Mayo Clinic was selected as one of our brain cancer research partners because of the merit of the historical research done by Dr. Dietz and their ability to execute the project,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “We believe this creative project will contribute important information to brain cancer research.”

The study will combine a patient’s optimized dendritic cells, known to be potent immune stimulators, with pooled and well-characterized cellular debris – known as lysates – from other patients’ brain tumor cultures to generate a tumor vaccine.

“We are combining this new approach with new methods for monitoring and tracking changes in the immune system,” said Dr. Dietz. “Together, we believe that this approach will allow us to identify and treat those patients most likely to benefit from this therapy.”

The Ivy Foundation has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults, and is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America.

“We are extremely grateful for the Ivy Foundation’s support for our brain tumor vaccine clinical trial,” said Dr. Parney. “Their help has been crucial to bringing this promising new experimental treatment to patients diagnosed with glioblastoma. With their assistance, we hope to improve the outlook for patients with this highly aggressive brain cancer.”

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Pearl Named Program Director at Midwestern

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Midwestern University, announced the appointment of Jeffrey M. Pearl, M.D., as Program Director and Professor for the College of Health Sciences’ Physician Assistant Program.

Dr. Pearl comes to Midwestern with a distinguished academic career with a commitment to research and education. He served as a Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and specializes in congenital heart surgery and transplantation.  Dr. Pearl is also a Professor of Surgery at Mayo Clinic and a Clinical Professor for the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix.  He earned his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School.

WPCarey-School-Sign

Mayo Clinic and W. P. Carey School Team Up

Mayo Clinic is known as a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education. Now, a select number of students from the Mayo Medical School are going through a cutting-edge program that allows them to get both their M.D. degree from Mayo Medical School and an MBA from the highly ranked W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“This program is helping to educate some of the brightest medical minds of our future in such a way that they will be more aware of the business side of medicine, the patient experience and the costs for us, the taxpayers,” explains W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman.

Dr. Michele Halyard, vice dean of the Mayo Medical School – Arizona Campus, adds, “The collaboration between Mayo Medical School and the W. P. Carey School of Business brings valuable synergies to the education of both future physicians and business leaders. The dual-degree program provides Mayo Clinic physicians in training with complementary competencies in business management, payer systems and accounting practices. This, along with a superb clinical education at Mayo Medical School, will prepare them to be leaders in the complex world of medicine in the 21st century.”

ASU began a strong collaborative relationship with Mayo Clinic in 2002. This particular joint degree program was launched in 2009 and has turned into a highly desirable choice for just a handful of select students from the Mayo Medical School.

Yingying Kumar was one of the first to graduate from the joint M.D./MBA program. She was looking for a way to supplement her strong medical education with a business background to help her stand out in the job market.

“I realized that the business and leadership skills I would learn in the MBA program could help me advance to a higher position in a clinic or even run my own practice in the future,” says Kumar. “I got a better understanding of roles and how hospitals run. I also got the perspective of non-medical students from my business classmates. I think the MBA will help me keep the patients’ voice in consideration at all times.”

Students who take the dual-degree program spend two years at the Mayo Medical School. Then they spend one or two years in the W. P. Carey School’s MBA program, currently ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. They return to medical school afterward to finish up their studies. The whole experience is facilitated by both schools to be virtually seamless for the Mayo students who qualify.

“I first began considering this program after volunteering in Honduras on a medical service trip and learning that the villagers we helped had little or no access to health care,” says Mayo M.D./W. P. Carey MBA student Jack Jeng. “We visited an empty rural medical clinic abandoned by its staff because it did not have a sustainable business model. That helped me realize that a successful health care organization needs more than a great medical facility, dedicated professionals and good intentions. Proper planning and smart business principles are also required to ensure patients continue to benefit from high-quality care, something I personally experienced at the Mayo Clinic.”

Jeng, who has already completed the MBA portion of the joint program, adds, “I was blown away by the opportunities and support at the W. P. Carey School of Business. They offered me valuable knowledge and experience I hope to use throughout my career. As a future physician with business understanding, I aspire not only to help people directly, but also to make meaningful contributions to improve the lives of countless patients who aren’t actually sitting in front of me.”

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Plans advance for Arizona Biomedical Corridor

Plans to establish a biomedical and advanced technology research and development campus in northeast Phoenix advanced this week as KUD International, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest development, design and construction companies, announced its plans and submitted an application to acquire 225 acres for the project from the Arizona State Land Department.

The proposed campus is the cornerstone of the Arizona Biomedical Corridor, a collaboration between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic announced in 2012 to expand the state’s bioscience industry by clustering compatible organizations in the corridor, located in northeast Phoenix at 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, just south of the Loop 101 freeway. The development lies adjacent to the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic.

Acquiring the land could take up to a year, KUD officials anticipate. In the meantime, KUD is moving forward on plans for the first building at the more than $1 billion research park, which upon completion could generate thousands of jobs in the region.

Wyatt Decker, Vice President, Mayo Clinic and CEO Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said the project aligns well with Mayo Clinic’s plans in Phoenix and will play an integral part in its vision to continue to provide innovative, patient-centered medical care, supported by robust programs in research and education.

“The Arizona Biomedical Corridor will further strengthen the region’s growth as a national and international destination for healthcare-related research, education and private sector interests,” Decker said. “Our work with the City of Phoenix and ASU led to our relationship with KUD, a firm we believe will successfully complement and support our vision.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow agreed, saying, “The development of the area adjacent to the Mayo Clinic Hospital, with its focus on biomedical and advanced technology research and manufacturing, is well aligned with ASU’s partnership with Mayo Clinic to create new health education and research facilities. We are encouraged that KUD shares our collective vision.”

KUD International LLC specializes in developing public-private projects around the world. It has extensive experience with large-scale developments that are founded on research and education and supported with a complementary mix of uses. The company is constructing a research park in Israel in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University that is similar to the one proposed in northeast Phoenix.

KUD International President and CEO Marvin Suomi said the collaboration with Mayo Clinic presented KUD with a sound basis to make a significant investment in establishing a major biomedical research and healthcare complex in north Phoenix. “We consider this a mission-driven project in alliance with Mayo Clinic, and procuring the land is the first step in realizing its vision set long ago,” Suomi said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer added, “I’m pleased the Arizona Land Department has accepted and advanced an application for this proposal, paving the way for the development of a premier medical and research facility in north Phoenix. Not only will this project create thousands of high-quality jobs, it will strengthen and secure our position as a global leader in providing world-class medical care. With the involvement of partners like the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, I know this project will be a point of pride for the entire state.”

Others involved with the project identify KUD’s relationship with Mayo Clinic, its expertise and its initiative in acquiring the state land as important factors that will help the Arizona Biomedical Corridor become a reality.

“I think this is another example of Arizona’s economic recovery and an indication of the growing strength of the Arizona real estate market,” said Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman. “This is a big win for State Trust Land beneficiaries and the result of careful negotiations between the Arizona State Land Department and the other collaborators.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “In January 2012, I announced a vision to grow more high-wage jobs in Phoenix by creating a second bioscience campus on a 1,000-acre corridor in Desert Ridge in Northeast Phoenix. Because we already have great partners like Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, KUD’s investment plans are the key private interest we need to unlock the potential at this location for education and research and create a greater magnet to attract high-wage jobs to Phoenix.”

District 2 Councilman Jim Waring adds, “In February 2013, the City Council adopted a formal strategy to focus on high-wage, bioscience and technology uses within this corridor. I am very pleased to see that the private sector agrees and validates the City’s concept. The City of Phoenix will be a great partner in the project, focused on helping KUD start their development projects as quickly as possible.  Our business community tells us time and again that five-day site plan reviews and one-day construction permitting provides great value and we look forward to delivering this same great service to KUD.”

Mayo Medical Schools Expands to Arizona

New vice dean named for Mayo Medical School

Michele Y. Halyard, M.D, a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, has been named vice dean, Mayo Medical School – Arizona Campus. Dr. Halyard will be responsible for undergraduate medical education activities on the Arizona campus and will coordinate Mayo Medical School academic, curricular, and administrative activities and programs in Arizona.

Dr. Halyard’s primary focus will be providing Arizona leadership with the support necessary to establish a branch of Mayo Medical School on the Scottsdale campus.

Dr. Halyard earned her M.D. degree from Howard University, where she also completed her residency in radiation oncology. Dr. Halyard completed her fellowship in radiation oncology at Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education. She became a consultant in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, in 1989 and went on to chair the department.  Dr. Halyard is an associate professor of radiation oncology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and is board certified in therapeutic radiology. Dr. Halyard has had significant Mayo Clinic leadership experience, including membership on the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors in Arizona and the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees.

Most recently, Dr. Halyard was appointed as an associate medical director for Development in Arizona and she will continue to serve in that role. Dr. Halyard is an accomplished course director in the Mayo School for Continuous Professional Development, a mentor to many residents, medical students and medical professionals and a notable researcher and author.

Mayo Medical School, based on Rochester, Minn., is working with Arizona State University to expand Mayo’s medical school to the Phoenix metropolitan area. Students at all Mayo locations will have the option of completing an ASU master’s degree in the science of health care delivery as they earn Mayo medical degrees. The master’s degrees components include social and behavioral determinants of health, health care policy, health economics, management science, biomedical informatics, systems engineering and value principles of health care.

Mayo Medical School enrolls 50 medical students each year. It received 4,327 applications for those spots last year. The Arizona expansion will allow additional students to enroll. The medical school is integrated with medical practice and research at Mayo Clinic.

Health Insurance

AZ Isotopes bringing jobs to Goodyear

AZ Isotopes has selected the city of Goodyear as the site for a state-of-the-art facility which will improve the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases. By producing several  medical isotopes that are either not currently available or difficult to obtain in Arizona, the Goodyear facility will support health care by giving physicians and their patients the most modern tools for diagnoses and treatments as well as research towards  improving medical outcomes.

Construction and operation of the facility also will result in high-quality jobs.  Initially, about 50 technical and managerial professionals will be employed.  As demand for the isotopes and the research program expands, additional high-quality positions will be added.  Substantial growth can be expected as industry analysts estimate the projected market for medical isotopes at about $6 billion by the year 2018.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord is highly supportive.  She stated: “We are excited to bring this new high-tech life sciences enterprise to Goodyear, along with highly skilled professionals and high-paying jobs.  Goodyear has everything companies like AZ Isotopes need to operate and grow their businesses.  We are growing and ready to help accommodate companies like AZ Isotopes to provide jobs and expand our work base.”

The Goodyear-based Western Regional Center for The Cancer Treatment Centers of America is also supporting the city’s efforts to help ensure that the new research and production facility is located nearby. It stated: “Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear applauds the city’s economic development efforts in healthcare initiatives which lower the nation’s reliance on foreign products.”  Edgar D. Staren, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Western added, “We look forward to a readily available local isotope supply that could support our patient needs.”  Additionally, several major universities (including the University of Arizona) have already expressed interest in taking advantage of the facility’s research capabilities.

The Goodyear location will contain the full spectrum of operations necessary for providing the highest quality support for medical care and research.  Included will be manufacturing, engineering, administrative, sales and executive positions.  AZ Isotopes has assembled an internationally-renowned team of top scientists and physicians to begin site preparation and facility design and construction.

The site for the Goodyear plant is a 10-acre tract along Litchfield Road, north of Maricopa 85 and close to the Phoenix-Goodyear airport.  Because delivery time is critical to the users of medical isotopes, the facility’s proximity to the airport is very fortuitous. AZ Isotopes President and COO David Barshis stated, “Goodyear offers an ideal location for our planned operations, and local government has been extremely helpful in the process expected to provide a key competitive advantage over other isotope manufacturers.”

The heart of the facility is a unique, variable-energy medical cyclotron accelerator capable of producing medical diagnostic imaging and therapeutic isotopes which are not currently available, or have limited availability, from other commercial sources in the U.S.  This facility will join other local cyclotrons supporting various related types of medical treatments in the area. Locally, the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic has already announced plans to construct a facility to house a cyclotron designed specifically to be used for fixed-beam proton therapy at its new $130 million cancer center.  And the Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is currently replacing its smaller cyclotron with a new unit for production of isotopes that enable detailed brain imaging.

Mayor Elaine Scruggs

Mayo reports strong 2012 performance

Mayo Clinic reports a strong financial performance in 2012 as the Minnesota-based health care provider added more employees and patients.

Mayo reported Wednesday it took in annual revenue of $8.8 billion last year, with expenses of $8.4 billion.

Mayo Clinic has a large presence in three U.S. metropolitan — Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale.

According to the clinic’s annual report, Mayo maintained an operating margin of 4.5 percent which “aligns with the clinic’s long-term objectives” of 4 percent to 6 percent.

The report also aid donations to Mayo dropped for the second year in a row. In 2010, Mayo received nearly $400 million in donations. That dropped to about $320 million in 2011 and about $250 million in 2012.