LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their third annual "Meet the Researchers Day" on Tuesday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Meece Middle School (MMS) in Somerset, Ky., and Lexington Traditional Magnet School (LTMS) won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by Kathleen O'Connor, researcher and associate director of cancer education for the UK Markey Cancer Center, the students had the opportunity to rotate between presentations by pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio and biochemist Craig Vander Kooi. Additionally, researchers Tianyan Gao and Garretson Epperly assisted O'Connor in giving the students a tour of O'Connor's research lab space in the BBSRB.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, 233 schools across the region raised a total of $264,062.03. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. MMS and LTMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising $1,216.55 and $2,505.21, respectively.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit www.schoolandyouth.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2014) — Your vote could help improve integrative cancer care here at UK HealthCare — the University of Kentucky Music Therapy Program is currently a finalist in competition for a major music therapy grant through the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project.
The grant is awarded through the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the country and a key component of the Morristown Medical Center's Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in New Jersey. The program's overarching goal is to facilitate relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress, enhance wellness, improve pain management, and provide comfort and support for cancer patients and their caregivers. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has partnered with Morristown Medical Center to replicate this program across the U.S., offering 13 grants of $15,600, along with a year of paid consulting services to awarded sites.
The grant pays for a board-certified music therapist and consulting services to provide clinical services on an inpatient and outpatient basis for cancer patients. Adult and pediatric patients at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children's Hospital would benefit from these services. Music therapy is proven to reduce stress and pain levels associated with illness and hospitalization. For many patients, the simple act of listening to music provides a therapeutic release, promoting healing and overall well-being.
“Music therapy can have a significant impact on the quality of life of cancer patients, and this grant will allow us to provide much needed services for Markey Cancer patients and their families," said Lori Gooding, director of the UK Music Therapy Program. "Because music is such an important part of Kentucky culture, I cannot think of a better way to provide support for our patients as they move through their cancer treatment.”
Voting begins at 11 a.m. EST Monday, March 24, and ends at 6 p.m. EST Friday, April 11, and voters may cast up to three votes — via email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. To cast your vote, visit http://vote.livestrong.org/applicant/35-university/.
For a transcript of this video, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2014) — Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., is the latest medical center to join the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN).
The affiliation means more cancer patients across Kentucky will be able to receive the advanced specialty and subspecialty care of the UK Markey Cancer Center, recently named the 68th National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the country, and the only one in Kentucky. Other benefits include access to clinical trials and advanced technology while allowing patients to stay closer to home for most treatment.
"The Markey affiliate agreement provides a great opportunity for professional education and training for our staff and physicians," said Ray Poston, director of the Cancer Care Center at Hardin Memorial. "Collaboration with Markey and their affiliates across the state allows our team to stay up-to-date on the newest cancer treatments and research."
Hardin Memorial becomes the ninth hospital to join MCCAN. Other affiliates include ARH Cancer Center in Hazard, Frankfort Regional Hospital, Georgetown Community Hospital, Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland, Rockcastle Regional Hospital in Mount Vernon, and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead.
Visit the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network website for more information.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2014) — After 39 years of working in the University of Kentucky's Department of Chemistry, you might suspect one would get bored with the work. But professor Allan Butterfield describes his current project as "one of the most intellectually stimulating projects I've ever worked on."
Butterfield, whose many titles include director of the UK Markey Cancer Center's Free Radical Biology in Cancer Shared Resource Facility, studies oxidative stress in the brain. This includes the effect of oxidative stress on the development of Alzheimer's disease, and, in collaboration with Daret St. Clair, Markey's associate director for basic research, the study of chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (CICI), known colloquially as "chemo brain" by the cancer patients who experience it.
This research is not only stimulating, but groundbreaking, as well — Butterfield was recently awarded the 2014 Alkmeon International Prize for his work, an accolade that puts him in the same company as many Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences. In April, he will be presented the award in Rome, Italy, by Professor Giussepe Nistico of the University of Rome on behalf of the European Brain Research Institute, which sponsors the Alkmeon International Prize. In addition, he will be giving a lecture about his work at the University of Rome II (Tor Vergata) and a seminar in biochemistry at the University of Rome I (La Sapienza).
"I am truly honored to receive this award," Butterfield said. "The Alkmeon International Prize represents worldwide peer recognition of the decades of brain research by our highly talented graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and visiting scientists in our laboratory that has led to numerous discoveries illuminating molecular mechanisms of brain disorders like AD and CICI."
UK's research into these two major neurological problems has the potential to affect millions of patients in the U.S. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and one of every three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Butterfield's research has blazed the trail for research on the concept of oxidative stress as a potentially fundamental underlying aspect of Alzheimer's disease, and many other labs across the country have begun pursuing their own studies into the field. Advancements in these studies could lead to better treatment and understand of this devastating disease.
Additionally, among the 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S., many suffer from symptoms of CICI, which include negative impacts on reasoning and multitasking, confusion, and fatigue — all major quality-of-life issues. These side effects can be long lasting — decades, in extreme cases — and can have a significant negative impact on a patient's ability to function and even work post-treatment.
Since Markey earned its status as a National Cancer Institute-designed Cancer Center, this problem has become even more of a focus for Butterfield, St. Clair, and many other researchers and physicians at UK. The term "bench to bedside" is often used when describing research at an academic medical center like UK, but St. Clair describes CICI research as "bedside to bench and back," noting that to try and find solutions to the problems patients were reporting, the team had to go back to the lab and recreate the problem in animal models so that they could begin their basic science testing.
Facilitating these types of back-and-forth investigations means a great deal of collaboration between basic science and physician researchers. Drs. Jeffrey Moscow and John Hayslip are heavily involved in the CICI research from the clinical side.
"We are very fortunate that at Markey we have physicians who not only focus on the cure of cancer with the best available methods, but are also interested in finding ways to improve the quality of life for patient during and after cancer therapy," St. Clair said. "Our physicians work as a team with basic scientists to research ways to improve cancer treatment with reduce side effects."
There is hope on the horizon for finding methods to prevent CICI. A recent UK clinical trial showed promise for a drug called Mesna, which had previously been used in conjunction with other drugs during cancer treatment to help prevent bladder problems. The team's work showed that Mesna blocked CICI in animal models, and the research was translated into a two-year clinical trial, completed in late 2013. While their teams are currently analyzing the data and preparing for a possible expanded trial that would include UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network hospitals, Butterfield and St. Clair say that the drug looks promising.
Butterfield has received numerous honors for his research over the years, but he is quick to point out that research is not a one-man show — it takes a strong infrastructure that allows collaboration from experts across many areas and disciplines across campus. UK's position as an academic medical center fits that bill. Individual medical centers like the Markey Cancer Center and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging — both of which utilize Butterfield's expertise in redox research — benefit from the resources of eight colleges across UK's campus.
Butterfield says that Markey's Free Radical Biology in Cancer Shared Resource Facility is especially unique, noting that only the University of Iowa has a comparably robust program.
"The FRBC is unique because Markey researchers can directly test the roles of free radicals and oxidative stress in cancer and cancer chemotherapy," Butterfield said. "Samples from cancer patients can be examined on-site for oxidative damage, redox metabolism, and identification of altered proteins, all providing new insights into the molecular bases of cancer and its treatment."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, 859-323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2014) — University of Kentucky faculty and students are invited to share their latest work in cancer research by submitting abstracts and attending Markey Cancer Center Research Day on May 22, 2014.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Singletary Center for the Arts will play host to a daylong event that showcases the work of cancer researchers from all disciplines at the University of Kentucky. Last year, Markey Research Day featured 142 posters and more than 350 attendees.
This year, Nobel Laureate Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, will present the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture. As always, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers will present the “State of the Cancer Center Address.”
Those interested may register and/or submit abstracts online. Deadline for the call for abstracts is Monday, March 17.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) — UK Women's Health Obstetrics & Gynecology has added an oncofertility specialist to its team. Dr. Leslie A. Appiah joins UK HealthCare as a board-certified gynecologist with expertise in oncofertility and fellowship training in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. Dr. Appiah brings five years of experience from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she served as director of oncofertility and fellowship director of pediatric and adolescent gynecology.
Appiah will serve as director of oncofertility at UK. She will work closely with subspecialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Appiah and her team will collaborate to preserve the fertility and reproductive health of pediatric, adolescent and adult cancer and blood disorder patients of all genders.
Dr. Appiah attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She completed her residency in OB-GYN at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and a clinical fellowship in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She has received several teaching awards including the Johns Hopkins Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Appiah’s interests include fertility preservation, minimally invasive surgery, congenital anomalies of the reproductive tract, hormone replacement therapy and endometriosis.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) -- Ann L. Coker, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and College of Medicine, is the recipient of a Visionary Voice Award, a national award that recognizes the creativity and hard work of individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to end sexual violence. The award is sponsored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
The award was presented to Coker by the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) at their Sexual Assault Awareness Month Awards Dinner on Feb. 26, 2014. The event followed a ceremony at the Kentucky State Capitol proclaiming March as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Coker says that she shares KASAP's vision that preventing sexual violence is possible and that public health approaches can play an important role.
"We are evaluating the first statewide, randomized intervention trial in 26 high schools across Kentucky," she said. "The intervention, Green Dot, is a bystander–based program to increase awareness of sexual violence and dating violence and empower high school students to safely and effectively intervene with their peers to change attitudes and behaviors and thereby reduce risk of violence. I am honored to have the opportunity to be a partner in this important research. Working on this project clarifies the importance of rigorous public health training and matched with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”
KASAP Executive Director Eileen Recktenwald says that it’s becoming easier for people to talk about sexual violence, and that is making a difference. “It’s gotten a lot easier to talk about, because – from the White House down – we are seeing a straightforward response to the problem,” she said.
Coker joined UK in 2007, when she became the inaugural Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women. She is nationally recognized as an expert on the effects partner violence on women’s health. Coker has worked extensively in the field of women’s health, particularly in areas of intimate partner violence, interventions to reduce the risk of violence that impact both men and women’s health, women’s chronic diseases, and reproductive and sexual health. Among other projects, she is currently investigating whether violence against women results in disparities in cancer care for women.
The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs is the coalition of Kentucky’s 13 Regional Rape Crisis Centers. The representatives of each of the 13 Rape Crisis Centers make up KASAP’s board of directors. Since it was established in 1990, KASAP has served as a central point of contact on sexual violence issues in Kentucky. KASAP provides technical assistance to member programs and other professionals, advocates for improvements in public policy, fosters coalition building among members and those with common concerns, and promotes prevention and public awareness regarding sexual violence and related issues.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 21, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and Markey Cancer Center announce the creation of the Center for Nanobiotechnology, which will be led by Peixuan Guo, UK’s William S. Farish Fund Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology.
Nanotechnology is the development and engineering of devices so small that they are measured on a nanometer scale. Nanoscale devices can work as parts of body organs, tissues, and drug carriers to interact with biomolecules on both the surface and inside cells. Because they have access to so many areas of the body, they have the potential to detect diseases and deliver treatments in newer and more effective ways.
The newly-established center will bring together biomedical experts working in nanobiotechnology in UK’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine. All faculty with research interests in nanobiotechnology, such as nanoscale biomaterials, nanobiomechanics, nanomedicine, nanodrug delivery, nanoimunology, nanophotonics, biomolecular imaging, micro- and nano-scale biosensors, biochips, and RNA nanotechnology, are invited to engage with the center.
MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, (859) 323-2396, or Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2014) – How would you react if you’d just been told you have cancer?
“You freak out,” said 57-year-old Tony Stone, a current patient at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. “You don’t know what to do.”
Stone, who hails from Liberty, Ky., came to Markey last fall after getting diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer at a local hospital. The diagnosis came just six months after he retired from a long career – 36 years – as an iron worker.
The timing wasn’t just poor because it put an end to Stone’s well-deserved break – it also meant a serious blow to his finances. Stone had elected to forego health insurance upon retirement because he couldn’t continue to afford the $900/month payments without his job.
Faced with what seemed like insurmountable expenses and a terminal disease, Stone made the initial trip to Markey on a friend’s recommendation. Though he knew to expect top-of-the-line medicine and treatment from the cancer center, he hadn’t expected the other aspect of cancer care he would receive at Markey – the emotional and personal support from Markey’s Psych-Oncology Services team.
Located on the third floor of Markey’s Whitney-Hendrickson building, the Psych-Oncology team is devoted to providing much-needed assistance to Markey’s patients. Every day, financial counselor Michele Ratcliffe, clinical dietitian Rachel Miller, American Cancer Society patient navigator Melanie Wilson, oncology social workers Jenny Delap and Angie Pennington, and licensed clinical social worker Joan Scales meet with new and ongoing patients to assess their needs on a more personal and emotional level.
In general, research shows that hospital patients who receive counseling and support for psychosocial distress have reduced hospitalizations, length of stays, physician visits, emergency department visits, and prescriptions. Markey’s Psych-Oncology team was assembled specifically to deal with the non-medical “side effects” of cancer – while oncologists, radiation medicine specialists and surgeons can recommend and perform specific medical treatments, this team focuses on fixing the everyday stressors that may impede a patient’s ability to get the full benefits of their medical care.
“The question we focus on is ‘What are the tangible, basic needs that we can get for the patient?’” said Delap.
For many patients, those needs includes assistance with paying for medication, getting insurance, creating a living will or an advanced directive, help with transportation or lodging costs, or referrals to national programs that may offer further assistance.
In Stone’s case, it first meant help with his finances – Delap helped him apply for disability and insurance coverage to help pay for the 35 radiation sessions and three rounds of chemotherapy he endured.
Because of the location of his cancer and subsequent radiation – the head and neck area – Stone was unable to physically eat his food during and following treatment, and a feeding tube was placed in his stomach. And that’s where Miller came in. As Markey’s dietitian, her job is to ensure that patients are getting the nutrition they need to stay strong through their treatments.
During her visits with patients, Miller counsels patients on what specific foods they should eat, how often to eat, and how to make foods taste better during chemotherapy (which can affect the taste buds, making previously appetizing foods seem bland or have an undesirable taste). Or, for patients like Stone, how to use the feeding tube and what to put in it for optimal caloric intake.
“Staying nourished can become a chore during cancer treatment, especially for patients who have lost their appetites or don’t feel well enough to eat,” Miller said. “It’s a catch-22, because you need to be fully nourished at the same time that you feel the least like eating.”
Sometimes, a patient’s needs are even more basic. Wilson, who is Kentucky’s only American Cancer Society patient navigator, said the first thing she was able to do for Stone was get him a bandanna to cover his head as his hair began to fall out. She often fulfills similar cosmetic requests by procuring wigs and other head coverings, or by referring patients to the ACS's Look Good... Feel Better program, which is facilitated on site by a licensed cosmetologist and helps patients combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Additionally, she makes patient referrals to a variety of services that can assist with funding transportation or lodging during treatment.
Wilson has fulfilled some unique requests in her time at Markey – including making sure that an out-of-town patient’s dog was taken care of during a long stay at the cancer center – but she says that any little thing she can do to help ease the patient’s mind during their time at Markey is worth it.
“It may not seem like much, but it’s one less thing for them to worry about,” she said.
But perhaps the most important thing the Psych-Oncology team offers is the simplest of all – an ear to listen. Collectively, the team agrees that they provide an opportunity for patients to talk about their individual situations with no judgment, and to make requests or ask questions that they might feel uncomfortable asking of their physicians or nurses. Both Delap and Pennington note that they make an estimated 35-40 contacts per week – they regularly check in through in-person visits, texts, and phone calls to make sure the patients are continuing to get what they need on every level throughout the treatment process and beyond.
“We get to know certain patients really well,” Delap said. “We provide an outlet for them, an extra person to lean on during a hard time.”
It was that level of personal support that made all the difference for Stone, a self-described “tough guy” who found himself initially overwhelmed by his grim diagnosis.
“They’ve been there for me when I was scared out of my mind,” Stone said. “You just don’t find this kind of caring people out there in the world… it takes a special kind of person to do this.”
For more information on the services and programs provided by Markey’s Psych-Oncology team, please contact supervisor Joan Scales at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2014) -- More than 100 UK HealthCare physicians affiliated with University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital and UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital appear on the Best Doctors in America® List for 2014 -- more than any other hospital in Kentucky. Only five percent of doctors in America earn this prestigious honor, decided by impartial peer review.
The Best Doctors in America® List, assembled by Best Doctors, Inc. and audited and certified by Gallup®, results from exhaustive polling of over 45,000 physicians in the United States. Doctors in over 40 specialties and 400 subspecialties of medicine appear on this year’s List.
In a confidential review, current physician listees answer the question, “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, to whom would you refer?” Best Doctors, Inc. evaluates the review results, and verifies all additional information to meet detailed inclusion criteria.
In bringing together the best medical minds in the world, Best Doctors works with expert physicians from its Best Doctors in America® List to help its 30 million members worldwide get the right diagnosis and right treatment.
The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America® database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.
The 2014 Best Doctors in America® from UK HealthCare and their specialty are:
About Best Doctors, Inc.:
Best Doctors works with the best five percent of doctors, ranked by impartial peer review, to help people get the right diagnosis and right treatment. The company’s innovative, peer-to-peer consultation service offers a convenient new way for physicians to collaborate with other physicians to ensure patients receive the best care. The global health solutions company, which has grown to over 30 million members worldwide, uses state-of-the-art technology capabilities to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. Gallup® has audited and certified Best Doctors’ database of physicians, and its companion Best Doctors in America® List, as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes. Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors seamlessly integrates its trusted health services with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 employers, insurers and other groups in every major region of the world. The company also designs and implements international insurance programs that help people be sure they get the right health solutions.
For further information, visit Best Doctors at http://www.bestdoctors.com, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or call (800) 223-5003.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has become one of the first cancer centers in the country to offer the latest model of the Varian TrueBeam for its patients.
The Varian TrueBeam is an advanced radiotherapy system from Varian Medical Systems, designed to deliver powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. Using advanced imaging and motion management technologies, Markey radiation oncologists are able to deliver highly complex treatments more quickly compared to other available machines, while monitoring and compensating for tumor and organ movement.
The TrueBeam's accuracy allows it to be used on cancers in particularly sensitive areas with significant organ and tissue mobility, including those of the abdomen, liver, lung, breast, and head and neck.
Additionally, Markey's TrueBeam is the first in the world to be installed using the small vault configuration (SVC) model, the most modern iteration of the TrueBeam technology platform.
"As a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, Markey is always seeking the newest and most effective treatment for all types of cancer," said Dr. Marc Randall, the Markey Cancer Foundation Chair in Radiation Medicine. "The Varian TrueBeam is an excellent example of this: leading-edge technology that provides faster, more accurate, and more comfortable treatment for our patients. This technology joins other advanced treatment options available for our patients at UK HealthCare, including Tomotherapy and Gamma Knife platforms, creating one of the most technically sophisticated departments anywhere."
In addition to its advanced technical capabilities, it has features for patient comfort, as well — the TrueBeam operates quietly and provides built-in music capabilities so that patients can relax by listening to music of their choice during treatments.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2014) — A new study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researcher Peter Zhou shows that targeting Twist, a nuclear protein that is an accelerant of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program in human cells, may provide an effective approach for treating triple-negative breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer has an activated EMT program, which is a process that provides cells with the increased plasticity (or flexibility) to adapt to stressed environments during embryonic development, wound healing, tissue fibrosis and metastasis. EMT provides tumor cells with stem cell-like characteristics, making them resistant to therapeutics and increasing their chances for early metastasis.
Triple-negative breast cancer in particular is associated with an aggressive clinical history, development of recurrence, distant metastasis and shorter patient survival, especially in younger women. It lacks effective targeted therapies and often displays early metastatic spread to brain and lung, sites known to be associated with an estimated 5-year survival of less than 20 percent.
Published in Cancer Cell, the study found that the nuclear protein Twist acts similarly to a virus protein. Using protein purification, Zhou's team identified that Twist interacted with a key nuclear transcription regulator BRD4. When many DNA viruses (such as papillomaviruses) enter into human “host” cells during infection, they hijack host cell machinery to replicate and synthesis their viral DNA and proteins. BRD4 is the virus's favored molecule and is often seized by DNA papillomaviruses for gene transcription during replication and growth.
Twist uses a similar strategy to recruit BRD4 to the genomic regions that are regulated by Twist. Many of these genomic regions contain oncogenes, such as those of survival proteins, growth factors and molecules that enhance cell migration and invasion. By recruiting BRD4 to these genomic regions, Twist accelerates cell growth and invasion by “waking up” the expression of these oncogenes.
Additionally, the study showed that two BRD4 inhibitors, JQ1 and MS417, can specifically disrupt the interaction of Twist with BRD4, resulting in the suppression of invasion, stem cell-like characters and tumorigenicity of triple-negative breast cancer cells.
"This finding has significant clinical ramification, because drugs that can target the Twist-BRD4 interaction provide a new hope for treating life-threatening triple-negative breast cancer," said Zhou, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at UK.
Jian Shi, a post-doctoral fellow at UK Markey Cancer Center, was the first author of this study, and other collaborators include UK Markey Cancer Center director Dr. Mark Evers and researchers Chi Wang and Haining Zhu. Previously, Zhou and his team have studied the role of the Snail complex — also known as the cellular "brake" in contrast to Twist's accelerant — in the EMT program.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2014) — A new study by University of Kentucky researchers shows that women who never or rarely screen for breast cancer are also unlikely to receive screening for cervical cancer. The study also identified four key barriers independently associated with the lack of these cancer screenings in Appalachian women.
Published in Women & Health, the study focused on six rural counties in Appalachian Kentucky. Researchers conducted in-person interviews with 222 women to assess their adherence (or lack thereof) to cancer screening guidelines. While 33 percent of the women had recently been screened for both breast and cervical cancers, 48 percent were rarely or had never been screened for both.
Through the interviews, the researchers determined four variables that were independently associated with significantly increased odds of never or rarely receiving screenings for breast and cervical cancer: a belief that a Pap test is embarrassing, a belief that the lack of health insurance makes it difficult to obtain a Pap test, a belief that breast cancer screening is unnecessary without symptoms, and reporting no physician recommendation of a mammogram in the prior 12 months.
These patterns of non-screening in Appalachian Kentucky are troubling. The overall cancer mortality rate in Appalachian Kentucky is 17 percent higher than the national rate. Of particular concern are the elevated incidence and mortality rates of invasive cervical cancer in this area, which are 67 percent and 33 percent higher than the national rate.
Additionally, the belief that a breast cancer screening is unnecessary without symptoms is problematic, because often by the time a woman experiences symptoms or has a lump, the cancer is in a more advanced stage. A mammogram performed every 1-2 years for women aged 40 years or older could reduce mortality rates by approximately 20-25 percent over a 10-year period.
“Our study findings reinforce the challenges to screening faced by many vulnerable and underserved women," said Nancy Schoenberg, lead author on the paper and professor of Behavioral Science at the UK College of Medicine. "Whether they experience inadequate knowledge, as shown in this research, or inadequate resources, as shown in other studies, many women find it difficult to obtain optimal preventive health care. Facilitating optimal prevention will reduce the huge toll cancer takes on women, their families and their communities.”
An anthropologist by training, Schoenberg is the principal investigator of a series of projects called "Faith Moves Mountains," including “An Appalachian Cervical Cancer Prevention Program,” “A CBPR Appalachian Wellness and Cancer Prevention Program,” and “An Intergenerational CBPR Intervention to Reduce Appalachian Health Disparities.” Started in 2004, these projects aim to target specific health behaviors through "faith-based" interventions, by building relationships with churches within Appalachian communities. This most recent study used a similar faith-based approach by working with local churches in Appalachia to recruit participants.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 15, 2014) — The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently awarded UK HealthCare's Dr. Brian Rinker a "Best Paper" designation for his contribution to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
The "Best Paper" awards are determined by by the number of views and downloads the articles receive. Rinker's article, "The Use of Dermal Autograft as an Adjunct to Breast Reconstruction with Tissue Expanders,” highlighted a new and safer way to reconstruct breast cancer patients following a mastectomy. As a surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction in UK's Division of Plastic Surgery, Rinker frequently collaborates with the UK Markey Cancer Center's surgical oncologists to provide a full spectrum of surgical care for mastectomy patients.
“The procedure introduced in the paper is a step forward in the care of breast cancer patients, as it produces an aesthetically pleasing reconstruction with a lower risk of infection and wound healing problems,” Rinker said. “UK is the only center in the region to offer the full range of breast reconstruction procedures, including microsurgical reconstruction, and this procedure is yet another option for our patients.”
The UK Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky. NCI-designated cancer centers are a major source of discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2014) – A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers suggests that activating the tumor suppressor p53 in normal cells causes them to secrete Par-4, another potent tumor suppressor protein that induces cell death in cancer cells. This finding may help researchers decipher how to inhibit the growth of tumors that have become resistant to other treatments.
Loss of the tumor suppressor p53 often contributes to therapy resistance in tumors. In the study, published in Cell Reports, the University of Kentucky’s Vivek Rangnekar and his colleagues activated wild type p53 in normal cells to trigger cell death in the p53-deficient cancer cells. Because p53 is intact and functional in normal cells, the researchers harnessed its potential to inhibit the growth of p53-deficient cancer cells.
This paracrine effect was brought about by the tumor suppressor Par-4, which specifically kills cancer cells. Although other tumor suppressors exist, what makes Par-4 so special is that it is not mutated as frequently as other known suppressors, and it's "selective" in its actions in that Par-4 will only kill cancer cells and not normal cells. Importantly, it’s secretion from normal cells can be induced by activating p53 so that Par-4 enters circulation, thereby potentially targeting tumor cells at distant sites.
“As normal cells far outnumber the cancer cells in patients, we sought to empower the normal cells to trigger cell death in p53-deficient cancer cells," said Rangnekar, associate director of transdisciplinary collaborations for the UK Markey Cancer Center. "Our findings have potential for targeting local, as well as metastatic tumors, and future studies will use FDA-approved drugs to induce Par-4 secretion.”
The UK Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky. NCI-designated cancer centers are a major source of discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Rangnekar, a professor in the department of radiation medicine, also holds the Alfred Cohen Endowed Chair in Oncology Research.
Dr. Mark Evers: what the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation says about Markey's quality of care »
Markey patient named LLS "Man of the Year" »
Homemade "survival bracelets" honor late UK coach, raise money for cancer research »
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