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Radiation Therapy and Cancer Vaccines: Timing Is Everything

Treating tumors with radiotherapy first directly kills cancer cells and makes immunotherapy more effective.

Two Tools Are Tested to Better Understand the Effects of Concussion on Patients’ Brains

(PHILADELPHIA) – Researchers are seeking to understand what happens inside the living brain after a concussion.  In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University used single photon emission computed tomography (S.P.E.C.T.) to evaluate two different ways to measure physiological brain activity in Traumatic Brain Injury (T.B.I.) patients with chronic, mild symptoms. The findings of their blinded, case-control study are published in an article entitled, "Clinical Comparison of 99mTc Exametazime and 123I Ioflupane SPECT in Patients with Chronic Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” The study included 25 cases and 10 controls.

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia Partners with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital To Stream Classical Music to Inpatients

(PHILADELPHIA) – The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia has established a new collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to share classical music performances with the hospital’s inpatient population. Patients will be able to enjoy chamber music performances via the GetWellNetwork, an interactive patient education system available at the bedside on the patient’s television. The Orchestra has shared streaming rights to many of its performances with the hospital. Each concert, available on demand to patients, will include a video introduction by an official at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital or the Chamber Orchestra.

Melissa A. Lazar, M.D. Appointed Breast Surgeon at Jefferson Breast Care Center

(PHILADELPHIA) – Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has appointed Melissa A. Lazar, M.D. as a surgeon at the Jefferson Breast Care Center. She has also been appointed an Assistant Professor of Surgery by Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Lazar recently completed her general surgery residency at Jefferson and fellowship in Breast Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lazar specializes in breast cancer surgery.

Breast Cancer Treatment Selection Is Improved by Genomic Tests at Jefferson Breast Care Center

(PHILADELPHIA) – Genomic tests that determine the molecular subtype of a woman’s breast cancer provide a more precise prognosis and valuable guidance about the best treatment, according to new research led by Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., Director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center (KCC) and Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals.

Novel Agent Set for Unique Clinical Test in Inflammatory Breast Cancer

(PHILADELPHIA)  A drug now used to treat a type of lymphoma has shown surprising benefit in preclinical studies of inflammatory breast cancer, according to a researcher at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center.

Theodore Tsangaris, M.D. Appointed Surgical Director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center

(PHILADELPHIA) – Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has appointed Theodore N. Tsangaris, M.D. Surgical Director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center. Dr. Tsangaris specializes in nipple-sparing mastectomy. He has co-authored over 50 major peer-review research articles on breast cancer biopsy, diagnosis, and treatment and is an author of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis. He also serves as a Naval Flight Surgeon in the United States Naval Reserve and belongs to the Society of United States Navy Flight Surgeons.

Unique Partnership Lights Up a Parkinson’s Disease Research Tool

NEW YORK, November 12, 2013 — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), Thomas Jefferson University (Jefferson) and Taconic have collaborated to create, validate and distribute a valuable pre-clinical research tool: a genetically engineered rat with fluorescent dopamine-producing neurons—neurons that are affected in Parkinson’s disease.

Cyclin D1 Governs microRNA Processing in Breast Cancer

(PHILADELPHIA) – Cyclin D1, a protein that helps push a replicating cell through the cell cycle  also mediates the processing and generation of mature microRNA (miRNA), according to new research publishing November 29 in Nature Communications. The research suggests that a protein strongly implicated in human cancer also governs the non-protein-coding genome. The non-coding genome, previously referred to as junk DNA, makes up most of the human genome, and unlike the coding genome, varies greatly between species.

Making Sense of Sensation in Autism

(PHILADELPHIA) – In one of the first randomized control trials studying an intervention for sensory problems in children with autism, researchers found that occupational therapy using the principles of Sensory Integration (OT-SI)  provided better outcomes on parent-identified  goals  than standard care, according to results published November 10th in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

No Canine Rabies, No Canine Babies: Smaller Exposure Risks to Both Children and Adults

(Philadelphia) – Thomas Jefferson University announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Milosz Faber, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Development of a single dose contraceptive rabies vaccine.”

Hollywood Films Increase Medical Students’ Empathy Toward Patients; Greater Empathy Linked to Better Patient Health

(PHILADELPHIA) -- Medical students can be taught to be more empathetic toward patients by viewing and discussing scenes from movies that illuminate the patient’s perspective, according to a new study, “Enhancing and sustaining empathy in medical students,” published in the December, 2013 issue of Medical Teacher.  This study adds to the body of work demonstrating that empathy can be instilled in people and is not fixed.  The study was led by Mohammadreza Hojat, Ph.D., a research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Thomas Jefferson University.

Physician from Sierra Leone Receives Philadelphia’s Grace Humanitarian Award

(PHILADELPHIA) –An African physician, one of only five serving 450,000 people in Sierra Leone, has been chosen by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine for its 2013 Grace Humanitarian Award. 

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Achieves Magnet® Recognition, the Highest Nursing Credential . . . Again

(PHILADELPHIA) —Thomas Jefferson University Hospital continues to be among the top 393 hospitals in the world for nursing excellence.

The hospital has again attained Magnet® recognition as part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®. This voluntary credentialing program is the highest honor an organization can receive for professional nursing practice.

New Program Makes Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions Easier

(PHILADELPHIA) When the pros and cons of prostate cancer treatment are spelled out using an online interactive program developed by Thomas Jefferson University researchers, more patients choose active surveillance over therapy, according to research being presented Wednesday (October 23rd) at the Society for Medical Decision Making annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

Eagles and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Celebrate Nine Years of Tackling Breast Cancer

For the ninth year running, the Philadelphia Eagles and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals have teamed up for the fight against breast cancer with the annual Tackling Breast Cancer (TBC) campaign. On Sunday, October 20th, when the Eagles suit up against the Dallas Cowboys, volunteers from Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals will be selling pink Eagles hats, ties and scarves at Lincoln Financial Field to raise money for breast cancer care and research in the Philadelphia area. Each fan will also receive a pink rally towel, courtesy of Snapple.

3D Images Generated from PET/CT Scans Help Surgeons Envision Tumors

(PHILADELPHIA) Researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia have developed a hologram-like display of a patient’s organs that surgeons can use to plan surgery. This approach uses molecular PET/CT images of a patient to rapidly create a 3D image of that patient, so that surgeons can see the detailed anatomical structure, peel away layers of tissue, and move around in space to see all sides of a tumor, before entering the operating room to excise it.

Does Good Cholesterol Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

(PHILADELPHIA) High levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the "good cholesterol," are thought to protect against heart disease. However, what’s good for one disease may not be good for another. High levels of HDL have also been linked to increased breast cancer risks and to enhanced cancer aggressiveness in animal experiments. Now, a team of researchers led by Philippe Frank, Ph.D., a cancer biologist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University, has shown that an HDL receptor found on breast cancer cells may be responsible for this effect, proposing a new molecular target that could help treat the disease.

International Leaders in Diabetes Prevention, Treatment and Research Present at Jefferson Symposium: New Advances and Innovations

(PHILADELPHIA) – Renowned national and international leaders in diabetes prevention, treatment and research will descend on Philadelphia for the Second Annual Diabetes Symposium: New Advances and Innovations, a one-day symposium on advancing patient care at the intersection of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, cancer, sexual health and new this year, physicians and diabetes educators will address the latest advances in managing obesity in the diabetic patient. 

Health Insurance Exchanges: What We Can Learn from California

(PHILADELPHIA) - Thomas Jefferson University and URAC are releasing a study that examines the role of new types of health insurance created by the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A). Starting today, under the A.C.A., health insurance exchanges will offer subsidized health insurance coverage to individuals with low-to-moderate incomes who do not get coverage from their employer or from another source. The study will appear in the October, 2013 issue of Health Management, Policy and Innovation.

Jefferson Researchers Receive Department of Defense Grant to Ease Recovery for Military Personnel with Orthopaedic Injuries Sustained in Combat or Combat-related Duties

(PHILADELPHIA) – Researchers with Jefferson Orthopedics are using their experience and expertise in post-traumatic joint stiffness to develop treatments that could aid in optimal recovery and restoration of joint function for members of the military who sustain traumatic combat or combat-related injuries. 

Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer has Evolved but Questions of Long-term Benefit of Newer Technologies Remain

PHILADELPHIA—In a review of the state of prostate cancer radiotherapy, researchers conclude that the menu of options available for men is expanding. However, given the lack of evidence proving the long-term benefit of some of the newer technologies, they say some of these treatments should not be used outside of clinical trials.

Promising Prostate Cancer Treatment Should Be Considered Experimental

PHILADELPHIA— Despite the growing desire by radiation oncologist to use high-dose brachytherapy alone to treat prostate cancer, the treatment should be considered experimental at this point, say researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center.

A Link between Hormones and DNA Repair Provide New Clues to Treat Advanced Prostate Cancer

(PHILADELPHIA) For advanced prostate cancers, new strategies for therapeutic intervention are urgently needed, and require a better understanding of how tumor cells go from slow growth to aggressive behaviors that threaten patient lives. A new study, published by Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center researchers in the September 11th online edition of the journal Cancer Discovery, showed that hormones promote DNA repair, and that this process is critical for prostate tumor cell survival. The research also revealed a new therapeutic target that has potential for improving management for patients with advanced disease. 

A Small Molecule Inhibitor of Jak2-Stat5 Signaling Pathway Stops Growth of Primary as well as Aggressive, Advanced Prostate Cancertitle

(PHILADELPHIA) An experimental drug targeting Jak2-Stat5 signaling blocks growth of both primary prostate cancer and prostate cancer that has become castrate-resistant, a state in which the cancer is typically aggressive and resistant to treatment, in animal models of prostate cancer say researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center.

Researchers Hone New Approach to Rabies Vaccine

(PHILADELPHIA) Researchers at the Jefferson Vaccine Center, report significant progress in the “holy grail” of rabies research — development of a single-dose vaccine. Currently, a time-consuming and expensive course of preventative antibody followed by four-five doses of immune-boosting rabies vaccines is needed, after exposure to a potentially infected animal.

Protein in Blood Exerts Natural Anti-Cancer Protection

28 JUN 13 | Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center have discovered that decorin, a naturally occurring protein that circulates in the blood, acts as a potent inhibitor of tumor growth modulating the tumor microenvironment.

The study, published June 24 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests it may be possible to harness the power of this naturally occurring anticancer agent as a way to treat cancer, including metastases.

Researchers Discover Molecule That Drives Aggressive Breast Cancer

27 JUN 13 | Recent studies by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center have shown a gene known to coordinate initial development of the eye (EYA1) is a powerful breast tumor promoter in mice. The gene EYA1 was also shown to be overexpressed in a genetic breast cancer subtype called luminal B

The scientists found that excess activity of this gene —EYA1 — also enhances development of breast cancer stem cells that promote resistance to cancer therapy, recurrence, and poor survival.

Need to Analyze Your Next-Generation Sequencing Data? Thomas Jefferson University’s New Web-Based Resource Makes the Task Easy

12 JUN 13 | In the early 1990s, an international effort was launched by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health to sequence the human genome. The project took 13 years, involved many scientists in several countries, and cost $2.7 billion (in FY 1991) dollars.

Since then, technological advances and the advent of next generation sequencing have greatly increased the speed at which the genome or the transcriptome of a model organism such as human or mouse can be sequenced. Nowadays, a typical sequencing platform can generate several billion bases of DNA or RNA in the course of a few days and can do so at a far lower cost.

Weekend Workshops in Biotechnology Start June 29

04 JUN 13 | Faculty from the Department of Bioscience Technologies at Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson School of Health Professions are offering Weekend Workshops in Biotechnology starting June 29 and running through the fall. The workshops are designed for

  • Laboratory professionals who are preparing for the ASCP molecular biology certification exam. Learn the latest information from faculty with experience in the field. Complete the Molecular Diagnostics series (sessions 1, 2, 6, 8) as a starting point for ASCP(MB) certification exam preparation. Participants will be invited to a ASCP(MB) certification exam review/information session at TJU.
  • High school teachers who want to bring the latest biotechnology skills into the classroom. Complete the Biotech Educators series (sessions 1, 2, 3) and enjoy access to follow-up support programs.
  • Individuals considering a Jefferson Bioscience Technologies degree or certificate. Gain a foundation for any program in the department. Get a taste of the material, the facilities and the faculty before starting your program.
Tool to Ensure Accuracy of Radiation Treatment Plan Will Improve Quality and Save Time for Cancer Patients

03 JUN 13 | It is critical that a cancer treatment plan that uses radiation be checked, and checked again, before patients are exposed to the therapy. Radiation mistakes can reduce survival, increased toxicity, and result in poor tumor control. Evaluating the radiation treatment plan, however, can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially in large-scale multi-institutional clinical trials, say radiation physicists at Thomas Jefferson University and at China’s Fudan University.

Thomas Jefferson University Holds Commencement for Class of 2013

21 MAY 13 | PHILADELPHIAThomas Jefferson University will hold its 189th Annual Commencement to graduate students from Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Jefferson School of Population Health on Thursday, May 30th at 10:30 a.m., at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Berkowitz Family Foundation Funds Lecture Highlighting Humanism in Medicine

04 MAR 13 | Thomas Jefferson University has received a generous gift from Mr. Edwin Berkowitz and The Berkowitz Family Foundation of Merion, PA to fund an annual program on humanism in medicine that will attract nationally known speakers.  A similar gift was given to The Foundation of Cooper University Hospital, with the request that the two institutions collaborate annually on this educational event.

Takami Sato, MD, Named Endowed Professor of Medical Oncology in Honor of Distinguished Japanese Physicians

19 FEB 13 | Internationally-recognized cancer clinician and researcher Takami Sato, MD, PhD, who serves as the Director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, has been named the first K. Hasumi Professor of Medical Oncology.

Improving Prostate Cancer Outcomes in Ghana Could Take More Screenings, Tailored Treatments — and Breaking Down the Stigma

Low screening rates and lack of treatment resulting in late-stage diagnoses, poor outcomes in prostate cancer patients in West African nation

31 JAN 13 | Infectious diseases in Ghana tend to capture the most attention, but a quiet crisis may soon take over as the country’s most threatening epidemic: cancer.

A new study published in January in the journal BMC Cancer, led by Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital, takes aim at the issue by investigating prostate cancer diagnoses and treatment delivery in black men living in the West African region, in order to devise research strategies to help improve health outcomes

Phone and Mailed Interventions Significantly Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates

28 JAN 13 | A mailing or phone call to help patients get screened for colorectal cancer significantly increases their chances of actually getting tested, according to a study published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention by researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

The research team, led by Ronald E. Myers, PhD, Professor and Director of Division of Population Science, Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, performed a randomized, controlled trial of 945 people aged 50-79 to test the impact of a new, preference-based navigation intervention, as opposed to standard mailing or usual care, on screening rates.