Tag Archives: research

Conquering Concussions

ASU, TGen Team Up for Concussion Research

Riddell, the leader in football helmet technology and innovation, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a leader in cutting-edge genomic research, today announced that the Pac-12’s Arizona State University and its Sun Devil football program will again participate in a genetic research study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment.

Now in its second year, the joint research project will combine molecular information and head impact data from Sun Devil football student-athletes to identify whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable. The researchers will monitor the players’ changing molecular information throughout a season of typical head impact exposure associated with football practice and games. Representatives from the Sun Devil medical team and TGen will collect the molecular samples from the participating athletes, all of whom volunteered to partake in the study.

“This partnership represents another dynamic and innovative step toward ensuring that the health and well-being of our student-athletes remains our most important goal,” Vice President for Arizona State University Athletics Ray Anderson said. “Sun Devil Athletics continues to serve as a pioneering force in this important issue and is proud to participate in this world-class research study for the second consecutive year with two outstanding industry trendsetters in Riddell and TGen.”

Arizona State’s preferred helmet and protective equipment provider, Riddell, has again deployed its Sideline Response System (SRS) to obtain real-time head impact data from Arizona State football student-athletes. Riddell SRS provides researchers with a wide range of valuable information on the frequency and severity of head impacts a player receives during games and practices. Data gathered from the system will be combined with genetic information from players that experience concussion, with the objective of helping physicians diagnose concussion and better identify when a player might be expected to recover and return to the field.

“Player protection has become an essential part of football, and this cutting-edge partnership sets ASU apart from not only the rest of the conference, but every collegiate football program in the nation,” ASU Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We are not only looking out for our student-athletes while they are enrolled at ASU, but for the rest of their lives. You become a part of the brotherhood once you put on the maroon and gold, and that doesn’t end at graduation.”

Riddell will also utilize the player head impact data collected from the ASU and TGen research partnership to inform the development of new football helmets and further refine updates to smart helmet technologies like Riddell SRS and its recently launched Riddell InSite Impact Response System.

“We’re impressed by the enthusiasm exhibited by our partners, Arizona State University and TGen, as we enter the second season of our important research collaboration,” President of Riddell Dan Arment said. “They have matched our level of passion for football, and we are all committed to better protecting those that play the sport we love. We are left encouraged following the first year of our project and look forward to continuing on the path towards advancing concussion detection and treatment of athletes.”

The researchers at TGen are exploring whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable through blood-based molecular information. Their findings could prove pivotal to the game of football and other sports. Similar to last season, during this phase of the study the TGen faculty and staff are on the sidelines collecting samples and data. A baseline sample was collected from all participating players prior to their pre-season workouts. Since then, the researchers have followed the team through their daily workouts and will continue throughout the season.

Through the collection of samples over various points in time and the data generated by Riddell SRS, the goal is to identify the genomic changes in athletes exposed to routine head impacts during practice and games, athletes with diagnosed concussions that recover on both a routine time scale, and athletes with persistent symptoms following concussion that require additional treatment.

“As the mother of a young son who has played football, I’m keenly aware of the need to improve the current standards in place today for dealing with this issue,” said TGen Associate Professor Dr. Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, whose technique for studying the collected samples drives this unique partnership. “As a researcher whose daily work looks for ways to determine the early warning signs of head injury, I get to see first hand how committed Arizona State University and Riddell are to student-athlete safety, and their determination to improve the game at all levels.”

Following the season long campaign, the researchers will gather post-season data and begin the analysis process with their colleagues at Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. During this process, TGen will work closely with Barrow, whose B.R.A.I.N.S. (Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System) program treats patients who have sustained a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The Barrow data will provide the researchers with additional concussion data and allow for comparison between data sets.

Breast cancer treatment

Banner MDA engaged in cutting-edge study

A cutting-edge research study at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is testing the safety and effectiveness of a new investigational drug that, when combined with chemotherapy, may make a major difference in treating breast cancer in patients who carry harmful mutations on either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The Brocade Study will enroll patients with hereditary breast cancer that is metastatic, meaning it has spread to other parts of the body, or locally recurrent, meaning it has come back in the same original area. These patients also have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, similar to the kind that actress Angelina Jolie inherited. The study is examining the results of the oral drug Veliparib when taken in combination with chemotherapy treatments.

“These breast cancers can be very difficult to treat with traditional chemotherapy regimens. If Veliparib is found to add to the effectiveness of chemotherapy, it would give patients with BRCA mutations and metastatic breast cancer a new option for therapy,” said Mary Cianfrocca, MD, director of the Breast Cancer Program and medical director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at Banner MD Anderson. Dr Cianfrocca is also the principal investigator for the Brocade Study at Banner MD Anderson.

Veliparib is designed to prevent the cancer cell from repairing itself by blocking a protein called PARP, possibly making the cell more susceptible to anti-cancer drugs. Banner MD Anderson is the only health care facility in Arizona which is offering the study. To learn more about the BROCADE study call 480-256-3420 or visit, www.brocadestudy.com.

Banner MD Anderson, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient. The center uses an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care, and provides access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies. Banner MD Anderson also offers state-of-the-art technology for diagnosing, staging and treating all types of cancer. For more information, visit www.BannerMDAnderson.com.

stem.cell

TGen and NAU celebrate 5-year research pact

Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a five-year agreement to promote innovation and quality research benefiting Arizona.

The NAU-TGen Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implements the allocation of state funding as directed by Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature, and reaffirms the commitment of both institutions toward quality research, training and educational opportunities, protection of public health and improved patient care. The Governor and Legislature recommitted state funding support as part of the 2014-15 state budget, recognizing the positive dividends from a viable, competitive bioindustry in Arizona.

“TGen has played a valuable role in developing and advancing Arizona’s bioscience industry,” said Governor Brewer. “From delivering medical breakthroughs and first-rate research — to creating quality jobs and growing our economy — TGen is a shining example of the innovative companies we seek to attract and expand in Arizona. By enhancing the successful partnership between TGen and NAU, we can ensure that both our bioscience industry and our economy will continue to thrive for years to come.”

NAU and TGen also announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a patent for a new set of genetically-based tests, jointly developed by NAU and TGen, that accurately identify fungal pathogens that threaten public health worldwide. Broad-based identification of fungi is essential for clinical diagnostics and also for environmental testing. This is the first of many patents anticipated through NAU-TGen collaborations.

The two institutions also are celebrating other joint research, including highly accurate, genetically-based tests for detecting and monitoring Valley Fever, influenza and different types of staph bacteria infections, especially the potentially deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

These achievements, and numerous other collaborations underway between NAU and TGen, will be celebrated at 2 p.m. today at NAU’s Applied Research and Development building.

The NAU-TGen developed genetic-based tests allow real-time tests in any location, including laboratories, but also clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms and even field settings. Immediate diagnosis of pathogens is a critical part of TGen’s push for precision medicine, in which patients receive the correct treatments as quickly as possible, speeding their recovery and saving lives.

The genetic-based tests for various pathogens were developed by a team from NAU and TGen that includes Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (also known as TGen North) in Flagstaff, and a Regents Professor and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

“These advanced diagnostics have far reaching implications for protecting public health, quickly treating patients and lowering the cost of healthcare,” Dr. Keim said. “Through our joint NAU-TGen research, we are continuing to develop tools and technologies that have a great impact on human health.”

This joint effort has generated other intellectual property, stimulated the founding of a startup company, and now generates licensing revenues for both NAU and TGen.

“Our relationship with TGen exemplifies the importance of the biosciences to NAU and to Arizona’s economy,” said NAU President John Haeger. “An important mission of our university is to produce research with direct benefits to the state and to the world, and together with TGen that is what we are accomplishing. We look forward to much more.”

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director, praised President Haeger, Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature for helping ensure TGen’s continuing role in stimulating local research that directly benefits Arizona patients.

“We are enormously grateful to Governor Brewer and the state Legislature, particularly the leadership, for their continuing confidence and support in us,” said Dr. Trent. “In addition, as demonstrated by the leadership and cooperation of President Haeger, Dr. Keim and NAU, there is no question that these types of collaborations between universities and research institutions can result in significant commercial applications.”

panchanathan_sethuraman_asuphotobytimtrumble

Obama appoints ASU leader to National Science Board

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Arizona State University’s senior vice president of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and a key member of ASU’s research and innovation efforts, has been appointed to the U.S. National Science Board by President Barack Obama.

Panchanathan is the first American of Indian origin to be appointed to this preeminent board, which focuses on national science and technology policy.

In making the announcement of Panchanathan’s and others appointments, President Obama said: “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to being an advisory body to the U.S. President and Congress on science and engineering issues, members of the 25-member board establish the policies of the National Science Foundation (NSF) within the framework set forth by the President and Congress. The NSF is a major science-funding agency with an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014) and the goal of promoting the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

“Panch has worked tirelessly in advancing Arizona State and its rapidly growing research enterprise, promoting our unique capabilities and what we offer businesses and government agencies, and leading the way to a greater public understanding of the benefits that scientific research and technology development have to offer,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Panch exemplifies the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and social responsibility that ASU aims to cultivate. It is fitting that he be on this important board so that his influence can extend to the benefit of the nation.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to help our nation be in the vanguard of global competitiveness through the rapid advancement of science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Panchanathan said. “It is truly an honor to serve our nation in this capacity.”

Drawn from industry and universities and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service, and records of distinguished service. NSB members are appointed for six-year terms.

In addition to his work with OKED, Panchanathan is a professor in ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. He is also director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC).

Panchanathan recently was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He led a team that received two Microsoft Imagine Cup awards, he has been chosen for the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia award and the ASU Leadership Award.

Panchanathan has published or presented more than 400 papers in refereed journals and conferences, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

breast.cancer

UA Study Targets Latinas with Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Latinas, but patients often have limited access to resources to help them cope psychologically.

A research study to evaluate the impact of low cost telephone-delivered counseling on quality of life for Latinas with breast cancer and their supporters is being led by Terry A. Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor and division director of community and systems health science at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and a member of the UA Cancer Center.

Dr. Badger received funding from the American Cancer Society to conduct the Telephone Health Education and Support Project, which is open nationwide to eligible participants and their supporters, who can include spouses, family members or friends.

“Latinas are a growing and particularly vulnerable population with regard to breast cancer, because they tend to be diagnosed at later stages, to be sicker, and, in particular, have fewer easily accessible resources to deal with their psychological distress,” said Dr. Badger. “Untreated distress is associated with poorer health outcomes, so we designed a study to offer support for this distress that could easily be accessed by these patients.”

The study is comparing two groups, each composed of women and their designated supporters. One group of women and their supporters receives a counseling-focused intervention and the other receives an educationally-focused intervention. The interventions are delivered by specially trained professionals in a 30 to 40 minute telephone call once a week for eight weeks.

“In our research, we have found over and over that the supporter has as much if not more psychological distress than the survivor themselves,” said Dr. Badger. “This makes it critical that we provide services to both the Latina and her supporter.”

Christina Castro, a 58-year-old mother of three from Tucson, decided to participate in the study with her husband after she was diagnosed with breast cancer seven months ago.

“The call once a week was something to look forward to,” said Castro. “It was really easy to talk to someone who wasn’t a family member, but someone who would just listen to me. Being at home really helped make it comfortable, and it was set up at a time that was convenient for us. The calls were both comforting and empowering. I would definitely encourage others to do it.”

“We have participants from all over, including Yuma, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada,” said Dr. Badger. “Research team members call participants in the evenings or on weekends, whenever it’s convenient for the patient and their partner. We can deliver this intervention anywhere as long as participants have access to a telephone.”

To learn more, call 1-866-218-6641 or email Maria Figueroa at mcf2@email.arizona.edu or Dr. Badger at tbadger@email.arizona.edu.

medical.research

UA Seeking People for Breast Cancer-Vegetable Study

University of Arizona Cancer Center researchers are seeking participants in Maricopa County for a study designed to determine if a compound found in broccoli can enhance the health-promoting effects of the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen in women at risk of developing breast cancer or those previously treated for early-stage breast cancer.

Since receiving a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute in 2011, UACC researcher Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, and her team have recruited 106 women who are taking Tamoxifen for the DIME study. Enrollment will continue both in Tucson and Phoenix, through the early part of 2014 with a goal of 170 participants.

Tamoxifen is an accepted treatment for breast cancer. Dr. Thomson, a professor of Health Promotion Sciences in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, notes that data from diet studies of people who have a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and broccoli – suggest that intake may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colorectal, bladder and possibly prostate.

“We have previously shown that women taking Tamoxifen who eat more vegetables may decrease cancer recurrence risk. This study will test the potential health-promoting effects using one isolated bioactive compound found in cruciferous vegetables, diindolylmethane (DIM), and compare it to a placebo intervention in favorably changing hormone levels and breast characteristics like breast density,” Dr. Thomson says.

Alison Stopeck, MD, a co-investigator in the study and the director of the Clinical Breast Cancer Program at the UA Cancer Center, sees this research as a unique opportunity to determine the potential of non-invasive imaging to be a reliable biomarker for breast cancer risk. Women in the study will complete periodic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures for measuring breast characteristics.

Study participants will be asked to take the supplement or placebo for 18 months and complete periodic clinical evaluation visits. The supplement is a patented, absorption enhancing formulation of diindolylmethane known as BioResponse DIM® (also known under the tradenames Indolplex® or BR-Dim®) supplied by BioResponse, LLC, of  Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the DIME study in Maricopa County, call Dianne Parish, RN, at 602-264-4461 for Central Phoenix or Patti Blair, RN, at 480-461-3772 for Mesa. More information is also available at azcc.arizona.edu/node/3628.

The DIME Study is supported by grant number CA149417 from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

alzheimers

NIH grants Banner Alzheimer’s Institute $33M

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) announces a major prevention trial to evaluate a treatment in cognitively healthy older adults at the highest known genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. An NIH grant, expected to total $33.2 million, will support this research.

The study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), an international collaboration led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies. It will test an anti-amyloid treatment in about 650 adults, ages 60-75, who have two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s. None of the participants will have impairments in memory or thinking at the time they enter the study.

“Once again, we are extremely grateful to the NIH for the opportunity to help accelerate the evaluation of treatments to prevent the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s and find ones that work as soon as possible,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director. “This trial will allow us to extend our work to individuals at greatest risk at older ages.”

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which will take place at BAI and other U.S. sites, will test the treatment’s ability to stave off the memory and thinking declines associated with Alzheimer’s. It will also assess the treatment’s effects on different brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measurements of the disease. The specific compound to be evaluated has not been decided.

The trial will test what is often called the amyloid hypothesis, which suggests that accumulation of the protein amyloid in the brain plays a key role in the disease’s progression.  Major funding from philanthropy and industry will also support the trial, and its leaders expect to provide data and biological samples to the research community after the trial’s conclusion to help in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s.
Individuals in the study will learn their APOE4 status. To help them prepare for this information, BAI has convened an expert committee to develop a comprehensive genetic testing and disclosure plan and to assess the impact of this disclosure during the trial.
“Under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, our goal is to prevent and effectively treat the disorder by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.  “We are delighted to support Dr. Reiman, Dr. Tariot and their team in this innovative clinical trial aimed at preventing the onset and progression of this devastating disease.”

The research is intended to complement API’s initial trial, which is primarily focused in Colombia and involves about 300 people from an extended family with a rare genetic mutation that typically triggers Alzheimer’s symptoms around age 45. That work also is focusing on an anti-amyloid therapy and its potential in slowing or blocking the disease while preserving cognitive abilities. The investigation, including a smaller U.S. companion study, dovetails with prevention trials that have been planned or started by other research groups during the past 16 months.
“We are now looking at potential treatments to prevent both the early and late onset forms of the disease,” said Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, BAI Director. “This kind of comprehensive approach could prove the tipping point in our long, arduous effort to find a way to end this devastating disease.”

The new trial will draw participants mainly from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (www.endALZnow.org), an online community of people who are committed to helping in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Registry provides regular updates on the latest scientific advances, as well as information on overall brain health. To overcome one of the biggest obstacles to clinical research, the Registry supports enrollment in a variety of Alzheimer’s prevention studies within members’ communities.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects more than 5.2 million Americans, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

alzheimers

NIH grants Banner Alzheimer's Institute $33M

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) announces a major prevention trial to evaluate a treatment in cognitively healthy older adults at the highest known genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. An NIH grant, expected to total $33.2 million, will support this research.

The study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), an international collaboration led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies. It will test an anti-amyloid treatment in about 650 adults, ages 60-75, who have two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s. None of the participants will have impairments in memory or thinking at the time they enter the study.

“Once again, we are extremely grateful to the NIH for the opportunity to help accelerate the evaluation of treatments to prevent the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s and find ones that work as soon as possible,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director. “This trial will allow us to extend our work to individuals at greatest risk at older ages.”

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which will take place at BAI and other U.S. sites, will test the treatment’s ability to stave off the memory and thinking declines associated with Alzheimer’s. It will also assess the treatment’s effects on different brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measurements of the disease. The specific compound to be evaluated has not been decided.

The trial will test what is often called the amyloid hypothesis, which suggests that accumulation of the protein amyloid in the brain plays a key role in the disease’s progression.  Major funding from philanthropy and industry will also support the trial, and its leaders expect to provide data and biological samples to the research community after the trial’s conclusion to help in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s.
Individuals in the study will learn their APOE4 status. To help them prepare for this information, BAI has convened an expert committee to develop a comprehensive genetic testing and disclosure plan and to assess the impact of this disclosure during the trial.
“Under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, our goal is to prevent and effectively treat the disorder by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.  “We are delighted to support Dr. Reiman, Dr. Tariot and their team in this innovative clinical trial aimed at preventing the onset and progression of this devastating disease.”

The research is intended to complement API’s initial trial, which is primarily focused in Colombia and involves about 300 people from an extended family with a rare genetic mutation that typically triggers Alzheimer’s symptoms around age 45. That work also is focusing on an anti-amyloid therapy and its potential in slowing or blocking the disease while preserving cognitive abilities. The investigation, including a smaller U.S. companion study, dovetails with prevention trials that have been planned or started by other research groups during the past 16 months.
“We are now looking at potential treatments to prevent both the early and late onset forms of the disease,” said Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, BAI Director. “This kind of comprehensive approach could prove the tipping point in our long, arduous effort to find a way to end this devastating disease.”

The new trial will draw participants mainly from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (www.endALZnow.org), an online community of people who are committed to helping in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Registry provides regular updates on the latest scientific advances, as well as information on overall brain health. To overcome one of the biggest obstacles to clinical research, the Registry supports enrollment in a variety of Alzheimer’s prevention studies within members’ communities.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects more than 5.2 million Americans, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

Kristen Rosati, a shareholder at Polsinelli in Phoenix, is president of the American Health Lawyers Association.

Rosati leads American Health Lawyers Association

Attorney Kristen Rosati, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli, has assumed the office of President of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). The AHLA has more than 12,000 members and is the nation’s largest educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field.

Rosati is a member of the firm’s Health Care Practice which is the fourth largest in the country according to the AHLA and Modern Healthcare. She’s a national thought leader in the electronic health industry and will use her term to advance outreach to younger members; increase support for existing programs in the areas of leadership, training and mentoring; expand the use of technology and social media in providing benefits to members; and continue the tradition of collegiality for which the organization is known.

“I am excited to assume the role of President of AHLA at this important juncture in health care law.” said Rosati. “Creating a strong foundation for the next generation of lawyers as well as continuing to support the unique programs that distinguish AHLA as the leading health care organization for lawyers in the country, is an honor that I am proud to accept.”

Rosati has been an active member of AHLA for many years, serving on the organization’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and as Chair of the Programs Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the Professional Resources Committee, Chair of the Quality Council, Chair of the Health Information and Technology Practice Group, and Chair of the HIT Think Tank.

“Kristen has enormous respect among the healthcare bar because of her deep expertise in health information and technology, her prodigious work ethic, and her commitment to collegiality among her peers,” said Chief Executive Officer of the American Health Lawyers Association Peter Leibold. “Kristen is leading the Association in a direction that will provide significant benefit to members and continue the organization’s recent membership growth.

In her legal practice at Polsinelli, Rosati heads up the “Big Data” initiative. She plays a key role in assisting hospitals, physicians and other health care providers migrating to electronic health records as they tackle the legal complexities associated with HIPAA compliance, electronic health records roll-outs, health information exchange, data sharing for research and clinical integration initiatives and ACO’s, and clinical research compliance and clinical trials contracting.

“Kristen’s leadership in AHLA will not only benefit the organization, but it will also serve as a model for all of Polsinelli’s lawyers as we look for ways to be more in tune with our clients and the industry generally,” said Polsinelli’s Health Care Practice Chair Matt Murer.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital - Pediatric Liver Transplant Program

PCH gets $5K CVS Community Grant

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has received a $5,000 CVS Caremark Community Grant. The Community Grants Program was created by CVS Caremark as part of its commitment to helping people on the path to better health by creating greater access to health care and health education for at-risk and underserved populations.

The support from CVS Caremark will help Phoenix Children’s Hospital provide nutrition education to at-risk children and families that will help fight obesity and encourage healthier eating and lifestyles. Through nutrition education, the Hospital works to prevent children from becoming patients and suffering from the results of unhealthy lifestyles and the health-related consequences of obesity.

The Cardiometabolic Risk Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Program at Phoenix Children’s is Arizona’s only multidisciplinary program committed to preventing and medically managing premature, obesity-related health problems in children. Through the CARE Clinic, children and adolescents receive comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation and medical management for premature cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, or other obesity-related medical conditions. To improve patient outcomes, CARE conducts research and projects to advance prevention, diagnosis and medical treatment of obesity-related disease among children.

“The incidence in obesity has tripled since 1980. Unfortunately, Arizona has experienced the largest state-wide increase within the last ten years at 45 percent,” said Dr. Donald McClellan, Division Chief of Endocrinology at Phoenix Children’s. “Obese children are more likely to grow up to be obese adults, which can lead to lifelong health problems. The CVS Caremark grant will greatly impact our ability to reach these families and make a tremendous difference in their health and lives.”

The program also provides medical management and follow up services that are used to evaluate the program’s success, including Body Mass Index measurements, blood pressure, and other risk factors for chronic disease.

Phoenix Children’s was selected to receive a grant through the CVS Caremark Community Grants 2013 application process.  Grants were awarded to organizations that support CVS Caremark’s commitment to enhance the health and well-being for at-risk and underserved populations by offering quality health and rehabilitation services and health education. The goal of the CVS Caremark Community Grants Program is to provide relief for both adults and children who lack medical insurance and help ensure they receive the proper medical care they need.

“As a pharmacy innovation company, we are committed to helping people on their path to better health and supporting organizations that reduce barriers and increase access to quality health care services to at-risk and underserved populations,” said Hanley Wheeler, senior vice president, WEST operations. “We are proud to support the work that Phoenix Children’s Hospital does in the community and we look forward to working with them in fulfilling their program’s mission.”

medical.research

TGen, Ventana announce research collaboration

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, today announced a collaborative research agreement to discover and develop diagnostic markers for treating cancer.

The two Arizona-based institutions will leverage each other’s expertise in discovery and diagnostic product development, bringing innovative cancer diagnostic tests to patients.

The first project under the umbrella research agreement will focus on diagnostic, prognostic and drug biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. This year, an estimated 45,000 people will be diagnosed and more than 38,000 patients will die from the disease. Worldwide, more than 213,000 are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and the numbers are growing. Fewer than 1 in 4 pancreatic cancer patients survive more than a year, and fewer than 6 percent survive more than five years – the worst survival rate of any cancer.

This dismal picture of pancreatic cancer is mainly due to the lack of tools for early detection and the ineffectiveness of current therapeutics. This is why new diagnostic markers and more efficacious therapies are desperately needed.

“TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research, where investigators discover the genetic components of disease,” says Jeffrey Trent, Ph.D., President and Research Director of TGen. “Our goal is to rapidly translate basic research findings into actionable targets. Partnering with Ventana we hope will accelerate our goal to deliver meaningful discoveries to cancer patients today.”

“When a patient is faced with cancer, getting an accurate diagnosis quickly is the most important part of their treatment,” says Ventana President and CEO Mara G. Aspinall. “As the global leader in tissue-based cancer diagnostics, our strength is moving research into the clinic in order to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer. We are thrilled to be able to pursue this with a partner right in our Arizona backyard.”

social.media

‘Best Social Media Marketing Theory’ honored

Research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence announced it received a 2013 Bees Award for its proprietary Social Media Effectiveness Index (SEI) in the category of “Best Social Media Marketing Theory.”

SEI is a ranking methodology developed by Blueocean Market Intelligence that measures a company’s social media effectiveness with a singular, representative score. It takes a business’ key metrics into account, such as a brand’s share of voice, customer engagement rate, customer touch rate, number of brand influencers and advocates, and net sentiment.

“Most companies use popular traditional analytics tools to measure social media efforts. However, those tools rely on unreliable data, inaccurate sentiment analytics and a lack of in-depth analysis,” said Blueocean Market Intelligence Chief Executive Officer Kumar Mehta. “Blueocean’s SEI model was built to help companies move beyond basic data and generate actionable insights derived from refined social intelligence.”

The Bees Awards is the first international social media competition honoring communication and marketing professionals. Practitioners in more than 50 countries have submitted entries since the awards program’s inception in 2010.

Blueocean Market Intelligence utilized its SEI to compile a 2013 ranking assessing the social media effectiveness of global Fortune 100 companies. The company plans to compile and publish the second biannual ranking later this summer.

“It’s critical that companies understand and monitor the social media landscape, and develop a tangible process to measure their return and achieve accelerated growth,” said Mehta. “With SEI, companies can completely align their activities with core business objectives, create impact across all functions to drive growth and profitability, and harness the true potential of social media.”

To learn more about Blueocean’s Social Media Effectiveness Index and download a case example based on a leading technology brand, visit www.blueoceanSEI100.com.

social.media

'Best Social Media Marketing Theory' honored

Research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence announced it received a 2013 Bees Award for its proprietary Social Media Effectiveness Index (SEI) in the category of “Best Social Media Marketing Theory.”

SEI is a ranking methodology developed by Blueocean Market Intelligence that measures a company’s social media effectiveness with a singular, representative score. It takes a business’ key metrics into account, such as a brand’s share of voice, customer engagement rate, customer touch rate, number of brand influencers and advocates, and net sentiment.

“Most companies use popular traditional analytics tools to measure social media efforts. However, those tools rely on unreliable data, inaccurate sentiment analytics and a lack of in-depth analysis,” said Blueocean Market Intelligence Chief Executive Officer Kumar Mehta. “Blueocean’s SEI model was built to help companies move beyond basic data and generate actionable insights derived from refined social intelligence.”

The Bees Awards is the first international social media competition honoring communication and marketing professionals. Practitioners in more than 50 countries have submitted entries since the awards program’s inception in 2010.

Blueocean Market Intelligence utilized its SEI to compile a 2013 ranking assessing the social media effectiveness of global Fortune 100 companies. The company plans to compile and publish the second biannual ranking later this summer.

“It’s critical that companies understand and monitor the social media landscape, and develop a tangible process to measure their return and achieve accelerated growth,” said Mehta. “With SEI, companies can completely align their activities with core business objectives, create impact across all functions to drive growth and profitability, and harness the true potential of social media.”

To learn more about Blueocean’s Social Media Effectiveness Index and download a case example based on a leading technology brand, visit www.blueoceanSEI100.com.

Dr. Oddo

New Researcher Joins Banner Sun Health Institute

Dr. Salvatore Oddo, a leader in the development of genetically-engineered mouse models and their use in the study of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, will join the research team at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) as a Senior Scientist and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. Oddo comes to Arizona from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he served as an assistant professor in the physiology department. He starts at BSHRI on July 1.

Oddo and his colleagues continue to develop genetically-modified mouse models and study them in the effort to clarify some of the molecular and cellular disease mechanisms responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, to discover new treatments and to help test some of the treatments that are being considered for evaluation in clinical trials. Using the “triple transgenic mouse model” that he and his colleagues first developed at the University of California, Irvine, they have already made a number of pioneering contributions to the field.

His arrival marks the first of several joint recruitments that are planned between Banner and the medical college to advance the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It also provides an opportunity to expand the resources and collaborations involved in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, the nation’s leading model of statewide collaboration in Alzheimer’s research. While Oddo’s lab will be based at BSHRI, he will work closely with his new colleagues in the medical college and other organizations in the Consortium.

“I am extremely proud to become part of a fantastic Alzheimer’s disease research team and to establish my laboratory at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute,” Oddo said. “I look forward to developing new and stimulating collaborations with the faculty to identify new therapeutic targets for this terrible disorder.”

Oddo, who earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of Catania, Italy and his graduate degree in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory from the University of California, Irvine, has served as an assistant researcher at the University of California Irvine’s department of neurobiology and behavior. He is moving from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where currently he is an assistant professor in the department of physiology.

“This is the first and critical step in what will be an extremely robust partnership between the Banner Sun Health Research Institute and our college,” said Stuart D. Flynn, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. “Dr. Oddo is playing an important role in the research of Alzheimer’s disease, of critical importance as we address an aging population in Arizona and beyond.”

“We are pleased to welcome someone with Dr. Oddo’s scientific caliber and extraordinary productivity,” said Marwan Sabbagh, Director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute. “Dr. Oddo is a valuable addition to what is already a world-class team. We look forward to work ahead.”

prevention trial - brain scan images

Ivy Foundation Grants Over $9M for Brain Cancer Research

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced its 2012 grant recipients, which total more than $9 million in funding for brain cancer research. The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America. Catherine Ivy is the founder and president of the Ivy Foundation, which has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults.

The Ivy Foundation awarded the following grants and/or provided funding in 2012:

· $2,500,000 over three years:  Principal Investigator, Greg D. Foltz, M.D., Director, The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, Swedish Medical Center
· $5,000,000 over five years:  Principal Investigators, John Carpten, Ph.D. and David Craig, Ph.D., Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) – a collaborative effort with University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Massachusetts General Hospital; Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center; MD Anderson; and University of Utah
· $45,000 annually: Principal Investigator, Brandy Wells, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), for the Ivy Neurological Sciences Internship program
· Over $2 million paid out in 2012 for previously committed multi-year brain cancer research grants

“We are encouraged and remain strongly committed to moving the progress forward for patients diagnosed with brain cancer,” said Ivy. “The 2012 Ivy Foundation grant recipients are important strategic partners in our objective to double the life expectancy of people diagnosed with GBM within the next seven years.”

Marketing action plan

Enterprise Offers Free Course for Business Leaders

Enterprise University, an educational program offered by Enterprise Bank & Trust, will continue its Spring 2013 courses with an April 24 class on “Creating a Marketing Strategy to Build Brands and Drive Results.” The morning workshop includes a continental breakfast and will focus on strategic, smart and innovative techniques that not only build brands but produce impressive results and generate a ROI.

This session will cover the best marketing practices online and offline for the following:
* Research and brand positioning
* Creative services
* Media planning/buying
* Web design and interactive marketing
* Public relations and special events

The instructors are David Nobs, Director of Business Development and Ben Smith, Director of Account Development at The Lavidge Company, a Phoenix-based advertising, public relationsand interactive marketing agency.

Enterprise University provides free educational seminars on a variety of relevant topics for business owners and their leadership taught by experts in a variety of fields including advertising, marketing, business continuity, financial planning and more.

WHAT: Course for business leaders on “Creating a Marketing Strategy to Build Brands and Drive Results”

WHERE: Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St. Phoenix, Ariz. 85014

WHEN: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

COST: Free to business owners and leaders. Registration is required.

RSVP: Visit www.enterprisebank.com/eu to register

David Nobs has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, advertising and public relations. He’s directed high-profile campaigns for clients ranging from Bank of America and Microsoft to NASCAR, the NFL, NHL, LPGA and PGA of America.

Ben Smith has been on the leading edge of Arizona business and technology since 1985. Ben developed his expertise in project, design and long-range planning during his work in the public and private sectors, including serving as Director of Operations for a multi-million-dollar consulting firm where he managed engineering, programming and R&D teams nationwide.

Enterprise University will continue through May, with courses during the month of April focusing on marketing strategy and sales management.

banner alzheimers foundation - brain research

Arizona university research has $1 billion impact

A new report shows that Arizona’s economy benefits by more than $1 billion from research at the state’s public universities.

To put that in perspective, that is the economic impact equivalent of hosting more than four Super Bowls a year.

The Arizona Board of Regents recently released its research report that covers 2012. It details the economic impact of research at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.

Board chairman Rick Meyers says the research leads to inventions, patents and start-up companies that fuel the private sector and create jobs.

Examples of ongoing research include a technique to detect bone loss, the science of placebos and the discovery of new treatments for disease.

banner alzheimers foundation - brain research

Combination of Diet and Radiation Therapy Shows Promise

A team of brain cancer researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has effectively treated brain tumor cells using a unique combination of diet and radiation therapy. The study, “The Ketogenic Diet Is an Effective Adjuvant to Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Malignant Glioma,” was published in PLOS ONE.

Led by Adrienne C. Scheck, PhD, Principal Investigator in Neuro-Oncology and Neurosurgery Research at Barrow, the groundbreaking research studied the effects of the ketogenic diet in conjunction with radiation therapy for the treatment of malignant gliomas, an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that alters metabolism and is used in the treatment of pediatric epilepsy that does not respond to conventional therapies. The diet’s affects on brain homeostasis have potential for the treatment of other neurological diseases, as well.

In the study, mice with high-level malignant gliomas were maintained on either a standard or a ketogenic diet. Both groups received radiation therapy. Dr. Scheck’s team discovered that animals fed a ketogenic diet had an increased median survival of approximately five days relative to animals maintained on a standard diet. Of the mice that were fed a ketogenic diet and received radiation, nine of 11 survived with no signs of tumor recurrence, even after being switched back to standard food, for over 200 days. None on the standard diet survived more than 33 days.

One theory behind the success of the treatment is that the ketogenic diet may reduce growth factor stimulation, inhibiting tumor growth. Barrow scientists also believe that it may reduce inflammation and edema surrounding the tumors. This is believed to be the first study of its kind to look at the effects of the ketogenic diet with radiation.

Dr. Scheck believes that the study has promising implications in the treatment of human malignant gliomas. “We found that the ketogenic diet significantly enhances the anti-tumor effect of radiation, which suggests that it may be useful as an adjuvant to the current standard of care for the treatment of human malignant gliomas,” she says.

Dr. Scheck adds that the ketogenic diet could quickly and easily be added into current brain tumor treatment plans as an adjuvant therapy without the need for FDA approval. She is currently exploring options for clinical trials.

molecular

Phoenix Children’s Hospital, TGen create Molecular Medicine Institute

Phoenix Children’s Hospital announced the creation of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine Tuesday, in a joint venture with The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and The University of Arizona’s College of Medicine.

The three organizations are joining forces with the hopes of unlocking genetic codes in child, adolescent and young adult cancer patients and develop drug therapies in real time to improve the outcome and treatment in these young demographics.

“Our goal is to bring genomics to the forefront of pediatrics,” said Robert L. Meyer, Phoenix Children’s president and CEO. “Research and development of novel treatments for pediatric diseases has fallen short over past decades.”

The reason why the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine is focusing on young patients is because there have been hardly any new therapies introduced to this population in the past two decades. The new institute hopes that clinical studies on children will lead to a better understanding of specific differences between children and adults, which will hopefully lead to the development of safer, more effective and more age-appropriate drug treatments that can be provided in a faster amount of time.

“A challenge with existing molecular medicine programs is the amount of time it takes to develop a new drug or treatment,” Meyer said. “Our collaboration with TGen and University of Arizona opens the doors to making a portfolio of drugs and compounds available immediately.”

The institute will also focus their clinical studies based on underlying genetic and molecular functions of different pediatric cancers, rather than specifically on tumor type. Furthermore, physicians will then create various treatment plans specifically for each patient treated based on the drug therapy that will attack and correct the malfunctioning genes.

With the start of the new institute, a special team of physician scientists will be brought on board to help start out the genomic profiling: Dr. Timothy Triche, a pediatric pathologist and former director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles; Dr. Robert Arceci, a pediatric oncologist from Johns Hopkins University; and Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, a medical oncologist at TGen.

“We are trying to figure out a way to have children get appropriate drugs,” said Dr. Robert Arceci. “We all want to know what causes diseases and how we can treat them and I think it takes a special team of people to do this and it takes a lot of unselfish commitment.”

A founding member from whom the institute gets its name, Ronald A. Matricaria, a member of the board of directors for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, is excited and hopeful for what the new institute is capable of doing in the world of pediatric care.

“Based on my knowledge of the institute and many years of working in the medical field, I’m confident that we can chart a new course for addressing the unique needs of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” Matricaria said. “We could have a huge impact on children’s live and what could be better than that.

 

Cancer-Research

Philanthropists establish $100,000 cancer challenge

Through Sept. 30, donations for ovarian cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) will be matched — up to $100,000 — by philanthropists Lynn and Foster Friess.

The challenge is in memory of Taryn Ritchey, the 22-year-old daughter of Judy Jost of Cave Creek, Ariz., a personal assistant to Foster Friess. In 2007, Taryn lost her battle with ovarian cancer, the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women.

“Taryn is gone physically, but her spirit remains. She is always with me, always in my heart. And, she continues to inspire the doctors and researchers at TGen,” her mother said. “My daughter never gave up, and neither has TGen, which continues to advance cutting-edge genetic technology in pursuit of better cancer treatments; and perhaps, someday — we can pray — a cure.”

TGen’s advanced genomics-based treatments, using molecular DNA profiling, gave Taryn another five months of life — months that still mean the world to her family.

“It gave us, and Taryn, hope.  She never gave up hope.  We never did, and neither did TGen,” Judy Jost said.

Lynn and Foster Friess, who split their time between Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jackson, Wyo., have previously donated more than $400,000 to TGen for ovarian cancer research.

“We continue to support ovarian cancer research in memory of Judy’s daughter, Taryn, because we are confident that TGen can win the battle against ovarian cancer, and save lives,” Foster Friess said.

The Friess Family Foundation will match contributions, dollar-for-dollar — up to $100,000 — to TGen’s ovarian cancer research. The challenge will end Sept. 30, 2012.

““The philanthropic leadership of Lynn and Foster Friess is a tremendous inspiration for our scientific researchers, as well as our patients and contributors,” said TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff.

For more information or to donate, go to www.tgenfoundation.org or contact Erin Massey, Director of Development, at emassey@tgen.org or 602-343-8470.

StemCellSciCamp08_5619

Nearly $1 billion infused into Arizona’s economy from universities’ research

Last year, nearly $1 billion was infused into Arizona’s economy as a result of research at Arizona’s public universities, according to the recently released Arizona Board of Regents 2011 research report. The report details research expenditures as well as the economic, social and scholarly impact that results from research in the Arizona University System, indicating a significant positive impact on the state through new jobs, knowledge and dollars reinvested in the community.

“Research at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona provides a tremendous benefit to our community and the world around us,” said Regent Rick Myers, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. “Research leads not only to transformational discoveries that directly benefit the people of this state and beyond, but it generates jobs, facilitates partnerships, reinvests dollars into the community, attracts top faculty talent, and makes the undergraduate learning experience more rich through instruction and hands-on learning with elite faculty. Research at our universities is a very complex but extremely successful enterprise and its international reputation is a point of pride for our state.”

Last year, the Board of Regents adopted a series of performance metrics to manage and measure university and system productivity and progress in four key areas, including research excellence. Research metrics measure progress in total research expenditures, number of doctoral degrees awarded, number of invention disclosures transacted, number of patents issued, intellectual property income and national public research university ranking. In fiscal year 2011, the research enterprise met or exceeded the enterprise goals in invention disclosures, U.S. patents issued, intellectual property income, and start-up companies. Research expenditures fell just short of reaching the 2011 goal of $1,009.3 billion by $12.7 million. The universities are implementing measures to ensure the 2012 goal of $1,045.6 billion is met.

Through research activity at the universities, millions of dollars are reinvested annually into the community. In 2011, Arizona’s public universities generated nearly $1 billion in research expenditures, dollars that become purchases and lead to employment within Arizona.

AmericaNewsBanner

Where Are Americans Getting Their News?

For the past ten years television has been the most popular source of news for Americans, but according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center internet is quickly gaining ground towards becoming the most popular news source in America. In fact, among 18 to 29 year olds it already is, though for those 50 years and older the internet still ranks below both newspaper and television as their main source of news. The internet is also gaining ground among college graduates, while 75% of those who have a high school education or less turn to television. Where do you get your news?

Where do Americans get their news?

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Mark Kranz ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Mark Kranz, SmithGroup

Mark Kranz, SmithGroup

Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP, is the design principal and lead designer for the Phoenix office of SmithGroup’s Higher Education and Science and Technology Studios.  Mark’s work has been published locally, regionally and nationally.

He speaks publicly about sustainable design strategies for laboratory and academic facilities, and his work is consistently recognized by the design and construction industries.  Kranz works regionally within the Western United States with research institutions and institutions of higher education creating laboratory and instructional facilities that elegantly reflect their specific context and function.

He has spent the past 11 years with SmithGroup, creating the vision for some of the most significant architectural contributions for some of the most prominent institutions and public entities in the Southwestern United States including Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, the City of Phoenix, the State of Utah, The City and County of Denver, and the Maricopa County Community College District.

He is currently behind the design visions for numerous landmark projects for clients including the National Renewable Energy Laboratories in Golden Colorado, The University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.


Topic: Sustainable Strategies for Higher Educational Facilities: A case study of four sustainable educational facilities in four unique settings.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Room 155

BIG Green Conference 2011


 

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



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