Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 06.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prakriti Gaba, MD Cardiovascular Medicine Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Deepak L. Bhatt MD MPH Director of Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital Dr. Valentin Fuster Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Accurate classification of acute myocardial infarction is instrumental for the appropriate diagnosis and effective management of patients suffering from this widely prevalent cardiovascular condition. In the past, there have been a variety of clinical scores published to advise clinicians on the best classifications schemes for patients with acute MI. These have included the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) risk score, the HEART score, and the Killip classification. The strength of these traditional scores includes their practicality, as they can be implemented at the bedside to rapidly assist with prognostication. Nonetheless, as technologic advancements have made imaging and tissue identification more accessible, national and international committees are looking to revise traditional classification schemes of acute MI with novel ones leveraging multimodal approaches. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eli Lilly, Gastrointestinal Disease, NEJM / 02.11.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marla C. Dubinsky, MD Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Co- director, Susan and Leonard Feinstein IBD Clinical Center Mount Sinai Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the condition of UC? Response: Lucent 1 and Lucent 2 were the induction and maintenance registration trials studying the efficacy and safety of mirikizumab in patients 18 years and older with moderate to severely active ulcerative colitis. Mirikizumab is a monoclonal antibody targeting the p19 subunit of IL23. Lucent-3 is the open label extension arm for those meeting inclusion criteria after completing Lucent 2. This study evaluated the long term efficacy and safety of mirikizumab in patients with ulcerative colitis who completed a total of 104 weeks of active mirikizumab treatment. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic incurable inflammatory condition of colon. Common symptoms include diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal cramping and bowel urgency. Bowel urgency is one of the most burdensome symptoms that a patient with you could experience. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Thyroid / 27.10.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maaike van Gerwen, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Institute for Translational Epidemiolog Director of Research Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Where are these PFAS chemicals found? Response: Over the past decades, we have seen an increasing trend in thyroid cancer which cannot be fully explained by increased use of medical imaging (including ultrasound). Certain environmental exposure are known to impact on the thyroid gland, including thyroid dysfunction or development of cancer. PFAS are chemicals that are known to disrupt the function of endocrine organs, such as the thyroid gland. We therefore hypothesized that PFAS exposure may be one of the potential risk factors for thyroid cancer and thus one of the potential reason for the increasing thyroid cancer incidence. PFAS chemicals are widespread in the environment and have been found in the soil, water, and air. PFAS are also widely used in a variety of consumer products including non-stick cookware, stain resisting fabric, firefighting foams, but are also found in drinking water and food. This leads to an almost universal exposure of the general population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Immunotherapy / 18.07.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emma Guttman-Yassky, M.D., PhD, Lead investigator of this study Waldman Professor and System Chair Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The idea to test how spacing out treatment or even stopping it affects treatment responses once patients are well controlled. Lebrikizumab it is a potent biologic agent with a relatively long-lasting effect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 21.03.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ernest Turro, PhD Associate Professor Genetics and Genomics Sciences The Turro group runs a research program on statistical genomics, with a dual focus on rare diseases and blood-related traits at the Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai Health System   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe the Rareservoir database? Response:   The main motivation for our work is that only half of the approximately 10,000 catalogued rare diseases have a resolved genetic cause (or aetiology). Patients with these diseases are unable to obtain a genetic diagnosis which could otherwise inform prognosis, treatment for themselves and affected relatives. One route towards resolving the remaining aetiologies is to enroll large numbers of rare disease patients into research studies so that statistical analyses can be performed comparing the genetic with the clinical characteristics of the study participants. One major endeavour, the 100,000 Genomes Project (100KGP), sequenced the genomes and collected clinical phenotype data for 34,523 UK patients and 43,016 unaffected relatives across 29,741 families. The scale of this study is unprecedented, partly thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of DNA sequencing (25 years ago, it cost $1bn to sequence a whole genome, while now it costs only a few hundred dollars). Working with such large datasets is notoriously cumbersome. To overcome this, we developed a computational approach (the Rareservoir) that distills the most important information into a relatively small database, allowing us to apply our statistical methods nimbly. We noted that the "genetic variants" that cause rare diseases are typically kept rare in the human population by natural selection because affected individuals tend to have few children, if any. This meant that we could discard the genetic information corresponding to variants that are common in the human population without throwing away the key disease-causing variants. By focussing on these "rare variants", we were able to perform our analyses using a small database (a `Rareservoir’), only 5.5GB in size, hastening our progress significantly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 21.02.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shinobu Itagaki, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Cardiovascular Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Were the transplants from a single donor? Response: The heart transplantation is the gold standard therapy for end-stage heart failure patients. As the kidney is affected by the heart function, it is common that the heart transplant candidates have some degree of kidney dysfunction as well. In these cases, the candidates are considered for simultaneous heart and kidney transplantation from a same donor. Unlike isolated heart transplantation, where the indication and benefits have been well established, simultaneous heart and kidney transplantation has less clear indication and benefits. This uncertainty is also complicated by the competing interest with isolated kidney transplantation candidates who in general wait longer on the waiting list. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, NEJM / 09.02.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian S Kim, MD, MTR Sol and Clara Kest Professor Vice Chair of Research | Site Chair, Mount Sinai West and Morningside Director, Mark Lebwohl Center for Neuroinflammation and Sensation The Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology Precision Immunology Institute | Friedman Brain Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We generated preliminary data in mice that difelikefalin suppresses itch robustly with very little to no effect on inflammation in a model of atopic dermatitis. This led us to hypothesize that the primary mode of action of difelikefalin must be by direct modulation of sensory neurons to suppress itch and thus would be best suited for a neuropathic itch condition. These are conditions in which itch occurs relatively independently of skin inflammation as in atopic dermatitis due to hyperactive nerves. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, Nature / 18.10.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Royce Zhou, MD/PhD Candidate Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background of this story is to see whether things outside of the cancer cell, such as the tumor microenvironment, can lead to epigenetic changes within the cancer cell. These changes are largely believed to be due to factors inside the cell, not outside. Super-enhancers are the top 1-2% of enhancers in the genome. They control cell identity genes and oncogenes in cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 06.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samir Parekh, MBBS Hematology-Oncology, Cancer Director of Translational Research in Myeloma and Co-leader of the Cancer Clinical Investigation program The Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clinical outcomes for myeloma patients patients have improved significantly over the past decade with the introduction and success of newer immunomodulatory treatments such as CART cell therapy and bispecific antibodies. Strategies are needed to determine the best treatment options for patients relapsing or unresponsive to initial courses of these types of therapies. We analyzed the outcomes of patients relapsing after bispecific antibody therapy for myeloma. Our data shows that sequencing of bispecific antibodies or CART after initial bispecific failure can effectively salvage patients and lead to excellent outcomes in myeloma. This provides the foundation for future studies combining this new class of immunotherapy with CART or additional bispecific antibodies to improve outcomes in myeloma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiation Therapy / 01.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brianna M. Jones, MD Radiation Oncology Resident Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 4 million deaths worldwide and, presently, there have been over 2 million cases diagnosed in New York. There have been numerous studies that demonstrate cancer patients are at increased risk of diagnosis and mortality to SARS-CoV-2 virus. Several studies have also noted socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity are associated with poorer outcomes. Within NYC, Elmhurst Hospital Center (EHC) emerged as an early epicenter in spring of 2020. The surrounding catchment area of EHC consists of a population that is 54% Latino, 33% Asian, 6% White, 4% Black, 1% Native American, and 1% other according to U.S. Census Bureau, making it one of the most racially and ethnically diverse populations in the country. Its residents are predominantly working-class immigrants with limited resources that work jobs now considered essential (e.g., delivery workers, grocery shops, et cetera). EHC continued to offer a range of cancer services throughout the pandemic. Given the high infection rate and diverse population at EHC, our study provides an opportunity to evaluate outcomes in one of the hardest hit communities to date. Therefore, our aim was to investigate patient characteristics, clinical outcomes, and predictors of COVID-19 diagnosis, severity, and mortality in patients with an active cancer diagnosis at EHC.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 27.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shoshana Rosenzweig Medical Student Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the Phantosmia phenomenon?  Response: Phantosmia is an olfactive disorder resulting in the perception of a foul-smelling odor without odorant stimulus. This study was spearheaded by Dr. Suzanne Wolden, a pediatric radiation oncologist and the senior author of the research. She noticed that patients receiving proton beam therapy were complaining of this phenomenon more than her patients receiving photon therapy. Through this research, the team hoped to characterize radiation treatment induced phantosmia in pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients treated with proton beam therapy and we hoped to identify potential clinical and treatment-related characteristics that may correlate with the development of phantosmia.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Occupational Health / 24.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacqueline H. Becker, Ph.D. Clinical Neuropsychologist Associate Scientist Division of General Internal Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study leverages data being collected through the ongoing Mount Sinai Health System Post-COVID-19 Registry, which is led by Dr. Juan Wisnivesky, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and senior author of the study. Our study concluded that there may be long-term cognitive repercussions from COVID-19 that impact individuals in various age groups and across the spectrum of disease severity, although the frequency of cognitive impairment was highest among patients who were previously hospitalized for COVID-19.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 15.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elena Ezhkova, PhD Professor, Department of Cell, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology Professsor, Dermatology Lab Head,The Black Family Stem Cell Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York Meng-Yen Li, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow The Black Family Stem Cell Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The epidermis is the primary barrier and the first line of defense to combat environmental stressors. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) is one of the main environmental stressors that our body is exposed to daily. UV produces DNA damage in epidermal cells and is a leading cause of skin cancers. To protect from the damaging effects of UV, epidermal cells become pigmented by melanocytes, pigment-producing cells. Taken up by epidermal cells, the melanin pigment absorbs UV light and reduces DNA damage. How the epidermis senses UV and how it leads to epidermal pigmentation is poorly understood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research / 03.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judy H. Cho, MD, Dean of Translational Genetics Director of The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe Crohn's disease? Whom does it primarily affect? Response: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease, which affects ~3 million Americans a year. Its most typical age of onset ranges from 15-30 years, and many of those diagnosed also exhibit frequent abnormal healing and complications that constrict the digestive tract. The highest risk genetic mutations that increase risk for Crohn’s disease are found in the gene NOD2; these were first reported 20 years ago. Biological mechanisms by which NOD2 mutations drive Crohn’s disease, and especially fibrotic complications, have been incompletely described up until this point. Further, the reasons why many patients fail to respond to the commonly administered anti-TNF treatments also remain incompletely understood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea D. Branch PhD Professor of Medicine Division of Liver Diseases Associate Professor of Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Liver cancer is a deadly condition with a high mortality rate. About 90% of people who develop liver cancer have cirrhosis (advanced liver scarring) due to a chronic underlying liver disease. Patients with cirrhosis are advised to undergo liver cancer surveillance. Early detection improves survival, but diagnosis requires more than a blood test, which makes surveillance complex and expensive. Black individuals are more likely to develop liver cancer than white individuals and are more likely to die from it. Black patients also have more advanced liver cancer at the time of diagnosis than Whites. We aimed to identify additional factors that distinguish liver cancer in African Americans, focusing on patients with hepatitis C virus infection, the most common chronic liver disease in people who die from liver cancer in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Leukemia, Stem Cells, Technology / 11.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD Associate Professor Department of Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you tell us a little about acute myeloid leukemia? Response: Acute myeloid leukemia is a form of cancer of the blood. It is typically very aggressive and lethal without treatment. The main treatment is high-dose chemotherapy and it has not changed very much in decades. Some more recent "targeted" therapies that are less toxic help somewhat but still do not result in cures. We believe a reason for this might be that both chemotherapy and newer "targeted" therapies target the cells at the later stages of the disease and spare the earlier ones, which can then give rise to disease resistance and relapse.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy / 17.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua Brody MD Director, Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hess Center for Science and Medicine New York, New York 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Cancer Immunotherapies target "antigens" on the surface of cells. -CAR-T cells targets antigens e.g. CD19 -Bispecific antibodies target antigens e.g. CD20 -Anti-PD1 antibodies awaken T cells that target antigens on e.g. MHC-I Cancer Immunotherapies frequently fail because a small percent of tumor cells simply lack the antigen and cause cancer relapse ('Antigen Escape') (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, OBGYNE / 13.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheela Maru, MD, MPH Department of Health System Design and Global Health and Arnhold Institute for Global Health and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Universal screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection on Labor and Delivery (L&D) units is a critical strategy to manage patient and health worker safety, especially in a vulnerable high-prevalence community. We describe the results of a SARS-CoV-2 universal screening program at the L&D Unit at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, a 545-bed public hospital serving a diverse, largely immigrant and low-income patient population and an epicenter of the global pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 01.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina Bhardwaj MD PhD Director of Immunotherapy Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Ward-Coleman Chair in Cancer Research Professor of Hematology and Oncology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neoantigens are novel antigens expressed by tumors as a result of somatic mutations or frame shift mutations. They can be very immunogenic and consequently they are being incorporated into cancer vaccine platforms. In most cases it is necessary to determine each patient’s individual mutations and customize their vaccine antigens accordingly. We sought to identify shared mutations in cancer antigens which are deficient in DNA repair mechanisms namely microsatellite unstable tumors. These tumors have mutations in genes that normally are responsible for ensuring that DNA is properly replicated. Because these genes encode proteins that ensure proper repair around micro-satellite areas (which contain short repeated sequences of DNA and are present in similar regions from one person’s genome to the next), when they are mutated, these regions may not be repaired. Consequently due to nucleotide deletions and insertions one gets frame shift mutations which result in new protein expression which can be shared across tumors, as has been observed for a few regions. We therefore did a comprehensive study of a subset of tumors to determine the breadth of shared frame shift mutations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, Vaccine Studies / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina Bhardwaj MD, PhD Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Urology Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of cancer may be amenable to this vaccine? Response: The goal was to determine if vaccine responses could be improved by increasing special white cell numbers, namely dendritic cells, which are key for jumpstarting an immune response. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: We found that the agent flt3-L mobilized these dendritic cells which help to improve the vaccine’s ability to prime the immune system.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philippe M Soriano, PhD Professor,  Cell, Developmental & Regenerative Biology and Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study was performed primarily to help understand how signals sent from growth factors to their receptors on the cell surface (see reply to the following question) initiate a cascade of events within the cells that lead to proliferation, survival, or other biological responses. This is important to know because deregulation of many of these pathways can lead to cancers. MedicalResearch.com: Would you explain what is meant by FGFs and their interaction with RTKs? Response: FGFs are cell signaling proteins that are also known as growth factors because they often lead to cell proliferation. They act by binding to receptors on the cell surface that are part of a family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). These RTKs are transmembrane proteins that have a domain outside of the cell that binds to the growth factor and a domain within the cell that has tyrosine kinase activity, hence the name “receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK).” This enzymatic activity adds a phosphate to a tyrosine residue of target proteins and starts a typical signal transduction pathway (referred to in the paper as “canonical”) leading to the usual biological responses (proliferation, survival, migration, etc.) (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 10.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brianna M. Jones, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Oral tongue cancer has traditionally been a diagnosis associated with older age and habitual tobacco or alcohol use. However, in the past few decades there has been a disproportionate increase in oral tongue cancer in young patients, particularly in those without a prior history of significant alcohol or tobacco use. In the literature, these young patients without traditional risk factors seem to represent a distinct clinical entity with worse oncologic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare young patients (age ≤45) to older patients (>45) with oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) without habitual smoking or drinking history.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 17.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Arvin C. Dar, PhD Associate Professor Departments of Oncological Sciences & Pharmacological Sciences Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Associate Director Mount Sinai Center for Therapeutic Discovery MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We were interested in better understanding the mechanism of action for the drug trametinib. We wanted to understand how the drug actually works – even though its clinically approved, the drug was a ‘serendipitous discovery’ and originally found through phenotypic screens. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Glicksberg, PhD Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Member of the Mount Sinai COVID Informatics Center Member of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Healt Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reports from health systems that detailed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of their COVID-19 patients were instrumental in helping other health systems rapidly adapt and know what to expect. There are few studies, however, that assess what happens to these patients after they were discharged from the hospital. In our work, we address this gap by determining both how many individuals re-present to the hospital within 14 days, and what clinical characteristics of these patients differ from those who do not. Such information is critical in order to continue to refine optimal treatment plans and discharge decisions for patients of all backgrounds and clinical profiles. To provide more context to the question, we also determined if and how these factors changed between initial presentation and readmission to the hospital. (more…)
Author Interviews / 28.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Fisher, MD, PhD Professor of Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Member of The Tisch Cancer Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Gene transcription by RNA polymerase II underlies cellular identity, and cell fate decisions such as proliferation or death, and is regulated by enzymes that add phosphates (kinases) or remove them (phosphatases) from components of the transcription machinery. Here we define two kinase-phosphatase switches that regulate different steps of the transcription cycle in human cancer cells.  We raised antibodies specific for different phosphorylated states of a key elongation factor, Spt5, and used genomic analyses such as chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq) to monitor when these phosphorylations were added and removed, and by which kinases and phosphatases, respectively, as RNA polymerase II traversed genes in human cancer cells. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sacha Gnjatic, PhD Associate Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center Associate Professor of Medicine, Oncological Sciences and Pathology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Member of the Precision Immunology Institute and The Tisch Cancer Institute Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by cytokine/cytokines? Response: COVID-19 is a disease where inflammation is suspected to play a large role in pathogenicity, possibly more so than the tissue damage created by the virus alone. Cytokines are small soluble proteins that are produced by both immune cells and cells from tissues, and many play a role in signaling such inflammation, to alert of tissue damage or infection. Among these cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, IL-1beta, and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-a) have been well established as important markers of pathogenic inflammation. Drugs that counteract these cytokines are routinely use in various inflammatory disease, from rheumatoid arthritis to plaque psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. When the initial wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection hit our hospitals in New York, we therefore wondered whether these cytokines were associated with COVID-19 disease severity and outcome, and hoped that a rapid test to detect them in blood could be useful to make clinical decisions about treatment. We were able to analyze a very large number of patient samples (>1400) in a period of one month, and confirmed our findings in a second smaller cohort. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, NYU / 17.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Aneel K Aggarwal, PhD Pharmacological Sciences and Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: DNA polymerase ζ  (Pol ζ) is the crucial enzyme that allows cells to cope with DNA damage resulting from exposure to environmental and industrial carcinogens and to other daily genotoxic stresses. At the same time, Pol ζ has emerged as an important target for discovery of therapeutics in the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?   Response: We have succeeded in resolving the 3-D atomic structure of the complete Pol ζ enzyme using cryo-electron microscopy. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Dermatology / 22.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD Professor of Dermatology and Immunology Vice Chair of the Department of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is the importance of differentiating these two skin conditions?   Response: The background is that up to now skin biopsies were considered the gold standard for obtaining skin biomarkers of atopic dermatitis/AD and psoriasis that are linked to disease activity in skin and for obtaining the cutaneous gene and protein expression fingerprint of each individual disease. Biopsies are also used in clinical trials to obtain the skin phenotype. However biopsies are invasive, painful and scarring. Thus we need less invasive means to profile diseases and obtain biomarkers. Tape strips is a minimally invasive approach to sample and study the skin. However, prior studies using tape strips could not fully capture the phenotype of the diseases and also sampling the recovery rate was less than optimal, not allowing this approach to be widely used. Psoriasis and AD are the most common inflammatory skin diseases, but these diseases are treated very differently and in some cases are very difficult to differentiate between them clinically and even in biopsies.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Genetic Research / 01.06.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah E. Millar, Ph.D. Director, Black Family Stem Cell Institute Professor, Departments of Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology and Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: One of the major roles of the skin is to serve as a protective barrier, both preventing external insults, such as toxins and pathogens, from entering the body, and helping to retain moisture. The mechanisms required for appropriate skin barrier formation remain incompletely understood. Elucidating these processes is important for understanding and developing improved treatments for dermatological diseases in which the skin barrier is dysfunctional, such as eczema and psoriasis. Understanding epigenetic regulators, proteins that modify the structure of genetic material, is an area of scientific interest, as many new drugs target these proteins. Importantly, multiple epigenetic regulators have been shown to be important in skin development. My lab has focused on one group of epigenetic regulators, histone deacetylases (HDACs), because HDAC inhibitors show promise for treating several different cancers and other disorders in which cell proliferation is poorly controlled. We previously showed that HDACs 1 and 2 are required for normal skin development. In the current study, we investigated whether the related protein HDAC3 is also important in establishing the skin barrier.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 30.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cardinale Smith, MD, PhD Associate Professor Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cancer patients are often hospitalized with complications from cancer and cancer treatment. Physical decline is common among hospitalized cancer patients and contributes to poorer outcomes including increased length of stay, excess days, readmissions and patient experiences.  Therefore, increased activity and mobilization during hospitalization are essential to prevent functional decline. Whereas previous research has focused on risk factors that limit mobility and interventions for enhancing mobility in well-functioning, community dwelling older adults, there have been limited interventions on the mobility of hospitalized cancer patients. (more…)