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IFI Members in the News

    Enduring Impact

    Medicine’s Carl June has been named a 2017 Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy, recognizing his pioneering work in immunotherapy.

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    Drug Tailoring

    John WherryTara Gangadhar,Robert Vonderheide and Alexander Huang of Med found that larger tumors need a greater T cell response to shrink in response to drugs.

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    Making Progress

    Twenty years ago, Medicine’s Frederick Kaplan was inspired by a patient to study a rare skeletal disease. In May he’ll receive the 2017 Rare Impact Award for his work.

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    Carl June, MD, Named 2017 Fellow of AACR Academy

    Carl June, MD, the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy in the Abramson Cancer Center and the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, was named a 2017 fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy.

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    Dr. David L. Porter Discusses Side Effects of CAR-T Cell Therapy

    The American Journal of Managed Care speaks with David L. Porter, MD, the director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, about the side effects of Car T Cell therapy.

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    Changing Perceptions of Palmyra High School

    A recently created non-profit aims to support an area high school. Garnered by James Riley, a director of fiscal operations, the group's first grant is a $1000 contribution for STEM education from Penn Medicine Cares.

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    CAR T-Cell Tx Durability May Depend on B-ALL Disease Burden

    David L. Porter, MD, the director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, is quoted as an expert in a story on the durability of CAR T cells.

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    Penn Cancer Study Funded by Sean Parker Releases Results

    When skin cancer has spread to other organs, even the most promising class of drugs fails in half of all patients. A new study published in Nature and led by John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, pinpoints why the drugs fail with a simple blood test six weeks after starting the therapy – allowing for rapid deployment of a second kind of treatment.

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    Philadelphia Researchers Win Stand Up to Cancer Grants

    Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology Oncology, and Michael Farwell, MD, an assistant professor of Radiology, are among the recipients of this year's Stand Up to Cancer grants.

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    How 1,800 Pakistanis are Helping Penn Scientists Fight Heart Disease

    More than 1,800 individuals carrying loss-of-function mutations in both copies of their genes, so-called “human knockouts,” are described in the first major study published in Nature this week by an international collaboration. Co-authors Danish Saleheen, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Daniel Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, are mentioned.

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    Using Tumor Size to Predict a Response to Cancer Drugs

    When skin cancer has spread to other organs, even the most promising class of drugs fails in half of all patients. A new study published in Nature and led by John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, pinpoints why the drugs fail with a simple blood test six weeks after starting the therapy—allowing for rapid deployment of a second kind of treatment.

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    Matching Pre-treatment Tumor Size to Strength of Immune Response Allows Tailoring of Melanoma Drug Regimen

    A new study published in Nature provides clues that could enhance physicians’ ability to pinpoint, in real-time, which melanoma patients are not responding to the immunotherapy known as checkpoint inhibtors – and intervene with additional drugs to boost the chances of shrinking tumors. The paper, led by E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, is the first major publication to come out of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy research collaborative.

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    Microbe Mining

    Vet’s Daniel Beiting, collaborating with a team led by Arts & Sciences’ David Roos, has launched a platform for analyzing data and metadata from microbiome studies.

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    Extraordinary Physicians: 12 Doctors Who Break the Mold

    Frederick Kaplan, MD, chief of the division of Molecular Orthopedic Medicine, is featured in a Medscape slideshow celebrating National Doctor's Day, on March 30th, for his life's work on rare bone disorders.

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    This Woman is Growing a Second Skeleton

    Frederick Kaplan, MD, chief of the division of Molecular Orthopedic Medicine, comments in the Washington Post about Jasmin Floyd, who has a rare genetic disease that turns her muscle tissue and connective tissue into bone.

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    ‘Molecular Guide’

    As part of an effort to develop an HIV vaccine for humans, Med’s George Shaw will model the development of neutralizing antibodies in an animal strain of the virus.

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    Penn Researcher Granted $16.3 Million Toward HIV Vaccine Development

    George M. Shaw, MD, PhD, a professor of Hematology/Oncology and Microbiology, has been awarded $16.3 million in funding over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue work toward developing an HIV vaccine for humans.

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    Woman With FOP is Growing a Second Skeleton

    Good Housekeeping profiles 23-year-old fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive (FOP) patient Jasmin Floyd. When we break a bone, our body produces enzymes to help heal it—the gene responsible for this only activates when bone needs to be repaired. But for Floyd, that gene is always on, explained Frederick Kaplan, MD, chief of the division of Orthopaedic Molecular Medicine.

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    Genetic Risk Could Guide Heart Disease Prevention

    Daniel Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, is quoted in a Medscape News article about the use of genetic sequencing for identifying those who would benefit most from aggressive statin therapy for the prevention of a heart attack. 

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    Blueprint

    Drew Weissman and Katalin Karik of Medicine demonstrated a new way to deliver safer therapeutic antibodies by injecting messenger RNAs, which make proteins.

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    Equilibrium Between Fighting Infection, Inflammatory Havoc

    Jorge Henao-Mejia, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, published in Nature. Special RNA molecules offer a potential drug target for several inflammatory disorders characterized by abnormal lifespan in white blood cells. 

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    Stability of Exhausted T Cells Limits Cancer Checkpoint Drugs

    E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology and a professor of Microbiology, published in Science. Reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused few T memory cells to develop.

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    Novel Strategy

    Vet research associate Fernanda Novais and prof Phillip Scott showed that blocking an immune pathway could help in treating the skin disease leishmaniasis.

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    Powerful RNA-based Technology Could Help Shape the Future of Therapeutic Antibodies

    According to new research from Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases, mRNA-based antibodies may be the future of treatment for diseases such as HIV. In a new paper published in Nature Communications, Weissman and his colleagues showed that mRNA can deliver therapeutic antibodies in a safer and more cost-effective way with a single dose.

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    Biden Takes on “Formidable Foe” of Cancer at Penn Forum

    Former Vice President Joe Biden joined Penn President Amy Gutmann, Carl June, MD, director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, a Penn Medicine pancreatic cancer patient and other national cancer leaders during the David and Lyn Silfen University Forum about advances and challenges in the fight against cancer.

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    Longevity

    T cells help plasma cells survive, according to research by Vet grad student Arielle Glatman Zaretsky, postdoc Christoph Konradt and prof Christopher Hunter. (Video)

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    Better Care

    Med’s David Fajgenbaum led a team that established diagnostic criteria for the rare immunological Castleman disease. Such advances could lead to more precise treatment.

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    Single Driver

    Gene research from Katherine Nathanson of Med revealed new mutations and drug targets for rare adrenal tumors, a potential boon for patients with aggressive cancers.

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    What Is Castleman Disease? Patient Goes In Search Of Treatment For Devastating Disease

    After his rare disease baffled specialist after specialist, David Fajgenbaum, MD, dedicated himself to solving his own case. Fajgenbaum is a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics and a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Plant-made Hemophilia Therapy Shows Promise, Penn Study Finds

    In work led by Dental’s Henry Daniell, a drug grown in lettuce prevented a serious complication of hemophilia treatment in dogs, laying the groundwork for clinical trials.

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    Why University City Science Center is Betting Big on These 3 Health Projects

    Three promising technologies that seek to improve the efficacy of medical care earned a big boost from the University City Science Center on Monday, with a total of $600,000 in research grants announced through the center’s QED Proof of Concept Program. One of those projects is gold nanoparticle technology being developed by David Cormode, PhD, an assistant professor of Radiology.

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    Penn Team Tracks Rare T Cells in Blood to Better Understand Annual Flu Vaccine

    A team led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found a way to identify the small population of cTfh present in the blood after an annual flu vaccine to monitor their contribution to antibody strength. They published their findings in Science Immunology this week. The studies, led by Ramin Herati, MD, an instructor of Infectious Disease, used high dimensional immune-cell profiling and specific genomic tests to identify and track these rare cells over time.

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    Single Dose

    Research led by Med's Drew Weissman identified a new Zika vaccine candidate that showed long-lasting protection in mice and monkeys without use of a live virus.

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    Doctors Try to Predict the Malady that Stopped Carrie Fisher's Heart

    The Philadelphia Inquirer featured a study led by Rajat Deo, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, which developed and validated a prediction model to determine sudden cardiac death risk in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease.

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    New Mutations and Drug Targets in Rare Adrenal Tumors

    New research led by Katherine Nathanson, MD, a professor of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, has identified a new “fusion” gene associated with rare adrenal tumors.

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    Missing Link

    Research led by Carolina López of Vet and Gaia Muallem of Medicine found that a cytokine may be the key to fighting and treating lung disease following viral pneumonia.

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    Step Forward

    Medicine’s Gregory Beatty discovered that, for pancreatic cancer patients, blocking inflammation triggered by a tumor’s response to treatment could improve survival.

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    A mRNA-based Vaccine, Possible Candidate against Zika

    As reported in Nature last week, Drew Weissman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases, and a Penn-led team of researchers discovered a new Zika vaccine candidate that has the potential to protect against the virus with a single dose.

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    His Doctors Were Stumped. Then He Took Over

    After his rare disease baffled specialist after specialist, David Fajgenbaum, MD, dedicated himself to solving his own case. The New York Times profiles Fajgenbaum, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics. He is a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Powerful Zika Vaccine Protects Mice and Monkeys from the Virus

    As reported this week in Nature, a new Zika vaccine candidate has the potential to protect against the virus with a single dose, according to a research team led Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases. 

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    Nanny Donates Part of Liver for the Child She Cares For

    Peter Abt, MD, a professor of Transplant Surgery, is quoted in a Yahoo! Beauty story about a nanny who recently donated a piece of her liver to a little girl she cares for. The transplant surgeries took place at HUP and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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    Trivalent

    A new vaccine candidate for the genital herpes virus, tested by Harvey Friedman and Sita Awasthi of the Perelman School of Medicine, has shown promising results in trials. 

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    Genital HSV Vaccine Provides Powerful Protection in Preclinical Trials

    A new genital herpes vaccine may offer powerful protection against the virus, according to new research from Harvey Friedman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases.

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    Immune Response

    Edward Behrens of Medicine and CHOP and his team have laid the groundwork and enabled novel interventions for those suffering from cytokine storm syndromes.

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    Genital Herpes Vaccine Could Work In Humans Just Like In Monkeys And Guinea Pigs

    Medical Daily reports on a new promising new vaccine that may soon stop genital herpes, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. The research was published last week in PLOS Pathogens by Harvey Friedman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases.

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    New Anti-virals

    After screening a library of 2,000 bioactive compounds, Sara Cherry and David Schultz of Medicine discovered a potent inhibitor of Zika viral entry into human cells. 

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    Genital Herpes Vaccine Clinical Trial to Begin after Promising Results

    New research from Harvey Friedman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases, and his team showed that a new type of vaccine could offer powerful protection against genital herpes, which currently infects more than 500 million people worldwide.

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    Sean and Alexandra Parker Save The World

    Vogue magazine profiles philanthropist couple Sean and Alexandra Parker, who founded the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy last year. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine who directs the Parker Institute at Penn, is quoted in the article.

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    Persistent Virus

    A team of researchers from Medicine, including Beatrice Hahn and Shilpa Iyer, identified traits of HIV-1 strains that overcome major barriers to establish new infections.

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    Penn Study Identifies Potent Inhibitor of Zika Entry into Human Cells

    A panel of small molecules that inhibit Zika virus infection, including one that stands out as a potent inhibitor of Zika viral entry into relevant human cell types, was discovered by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine. Publishing in Cell Reports, a team led by Sara Cherry, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, screened a library of 2,000 bioactive compounds for their ability to block Zika virus infection in three distinct cell types using two strains of the virus.

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    When Death Struck at the American Legion

    Harvey Friedman, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases, spoke with Inside Science about his research related to finding the source of the now infamous Legionnaire's disease outbreak in Philadelphia in 1976.

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    How HIV Evades Your Body's Defenses May Be Key To Stopping Future Infections

    New research has investigated how HIV evades the body's natural defenses and this information may be useful someday in developing treatment options. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the lab of Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Microbiology and Medicine, is featured.

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    Second Skeleton Forms for Those with FOP

    CNN profiled Jasmin Floyd, who was born with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP, which causes her muscles and ligaments to turn to bone. Frederick Kaplan, MD, chief of the Division of Molecular Orthopaedic Medicine, is quoted.

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    Penn Precision Medicine Accelerator Doles Out $525K in Grants

    The Penn Precision Medicine Accelerator Fund has tapped eight personalized medicine projects to split more than half a million dollars in grants. David Roth, MD, PhD, director of the Penn Center for Precision Medicine and chairman of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, was quoted in a HealthIT Analytics article.

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    Philly Discovery for Kids with Leukemia Prepares to Go Global

    The Philadelphia Inquirer covered a study led by Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, director of the cancer immunotherapy program in the Center for Childhood Cancer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of Pediatrics at Penn, on the first results of the global multisite trial for CAR T cell therapy for pediatric acute lymphoplastic leukemia, which were presented at the American Society of Hematology Meeting this month. The CAR T cell therapy approach was developed by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

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    1 Patient, 7 Tumors and 100 Billion Cells Equal 1 Striking Recovery

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, wrote an editorial accompanying a New England Journal of Medicine paper about a T-cell transfer treatment, which was the first to successfully target KRAS, a common cancer mutation. If replicable, June says, the approach has great potential for patients with pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

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    The CRISPR Pioneers

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, was named among a group of scientists doing pioneering work using CRISPR gene-editing technology as the fifth place in Time magazine’s annual Person of the Year issue. June and Edward Stadtmauer, MD, chief of Hematologic Malignancies and a professor of Hematology-Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center, are poised to launch the nation’s first human trial using CRISPR for the treatment of cancer, an effort the magazine notes may bear out hope for CRISPR’s therapeutic potential for diseases of all kinds.

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    Oral Antibiotic Prevents C. diff Infection in Bone Marrow Transplants

    HemOnc Today covered new research from Abramson Cancer Center experts Alex Ganetsky, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist in the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, and David Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, showing that the oral antibiotic vancomycin can prevent bone marrow transplant patients from contracting C. difficile.

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    Precise Targeting

    A team led by James Hoxie of Medicine has developed genetically engineered T cells with a “fusion inhibitor” to battle the spread of a wide range of HIV viruses.

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    Doctor Now Studying Rare Disease that Nearly Killed Him

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, was quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher.

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    New Trial for HIV/AIDS Vaccine

    Ronald G. Collman, MD, director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research, spoke with Marketplace about a new HIV vaccine clinical trial, which starts today in South Africa. Many researchers are cautiously optimistic it could lead to a viable vaccine.

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    Doctor with Rare Castleman Disease Works to Find Cure

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, was quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Preventative Antibiotics May Prevent C. diff Infection for Some Blood-cancer Patients

    Research led by Alex Ganetsky, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist in the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, and David Porter, MD, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, shows C. diff may be preventable in allogeneic stem cell transplant patients. 

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    CAR T Cells: Progress, but Questions Remain

    A HemOnc Today article examines progress in the field of CAR T cell research to treat blood cancers. Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, director of the cancer immunotherapy program and director of translational research for the Center for Childhood Cancer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of Pediatrics at Penn, and David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, are highlighted.

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    CRISPR Gene-editing Tested in Human for First Time

    A Chinese team has become the first in the world to test CRISPR gene editing technology in a human. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted.

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    Penn and Janssen Collaborate for 1st Global Patient Registry for Castleman Disease

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, is quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Full Width Article Example

    John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology and a professor of Microbiology, is quoted on the results of a study led by his team which found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop. After the blockade, re-invigorated T cells became re-exhausted if antigen from the virus remained high, and failed to become memory T cells when the virus was cleared.

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    CRISPR Gene-Editing Tested in a Person for the First Time

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in stories detailing a Chinese team's first use of CRISPR gene editing technology to treat a cancer patient.

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    AHA: Mixed Results For ApoA-1 Therapies

    MedPage Today highlighted results from a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016, which suggests that there is still hope for a category of experimental drugs that attempt to mimic the putative beneficial effect of HDL. Daniel Rader, MD, chair of Genetics and panel discussant during the presentation, is quoted.

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    Gene Pioneers Share Philly Science Award for CRISPR

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will receive a John Scott Medal, an annual award that has been given since 1822.

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    Genetic Variants May Explain High Sodium Consumption

    Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted in a Cardiology Advisor article highlighting a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session 2016, which suggests there is a genetic variant which explains a patient's high salt consumption. 

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    Exhausted

    Medicine’s John Wherry, PhD and postdoc Kristen Pauken found that T cells that tire when fighting infections or cancer are not fully revived by checkpoint inhibitor drugs.

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    'Rebounded'

    David Fajgenbaum of Medicine is dedicated to facilitating research projects for Castleman disease, a rare immune system disorder that he has battled since 2010.

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    Stability of Exhausted T Cells Limits Durability of Cancer Checkpoint Drugs

    Cancer Research UK featured a study led by John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology and a professor of Microbiology, which found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop. After the blockade, re-invigorated T cells became re-exhausted if antigen from the virus remained high, and failed to become memory T cells when the virus was cleared.

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    Penn and Janssen Collaborate for 1st Global Patient Registry for Castleman Disease

    Janssen Research and the University of Pennsylvania are teaming up to compile patient records in hopes of spotting trends in Castleman Disease, according to Rare Disease Report. David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, an assistant professor of Medicine and associate director of patient impact at the Penn Orphan Disease Center, was quoted.

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    Stability of Exhausted T Cells Limits Durability of Cancer Checkpoint Drugs

    E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology at Penn and the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s distinguished professor of Microbiology, and colleagues found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop.

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    HIV First Came to New York City, Then the Rest of the U.S., Research Shows

    New research into HIV's origin in the United States found that the virus arrived in New York City precisely 10 years before doctors first noticed the disease, solving a 35-year mystery and absolving Gaëtan Dugas, so-called “Patient Zero,” who had been wrongly blamed for bringing the virus to U.S. shores. “This is, in my mind, the last piece of the puzzle,” said Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology. “We now have a very detailed understanding where HIV came from.”

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    Tech Giant Sean Parker Launches Penn’s Cancer Immunotherapy Center

    Sean Parker, the Napster founder and former Facebook president turned philanthropist, visited Penn Tuesday evening to celebrate the launch of Penn’s Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Parker was joined by scientists including the center’s leader, cellular therapy pioneer Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Richard Besser, MD, a Perelman School of Medicine graduate, moderated a panel discussion during the event.

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    Penn Celebrates Launch of Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

    The Philly Voice previews this evening's event to launch the University of Pennsylvania's Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker will be joined by scientists, physicians, patients, and Penn leaders to discuss the groundbreaking initiative, which was made possible with a $250 million gift from the Parker Foundation that will be divided between Penn and five of the nation's other top cancer centers to investigate new therapies that harness the body's immune system to attack cancer.

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    Antibiotics Before Age 2 Linked to Allergies Later

    Jonathan Spergel, MD, chief of the Allergy Section and a professor of Pediatrics spoke with CBS News online about a new study that found that taking antibiotics in early childhood may increase the odds for hay fever and the skin condition eczema later in life.

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    Quieting Cells' Low-Oxygen Alarm Stops Flare-ups

    Robert Pignolo, MD, PhD, of Geriatrics, and Haitao Wang, PhD, and Frederick S. Kaplan, MD, both of Orthopaedic Medicine, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. They found a critical role of tissue oxygen starvation for the induction and amplification of a rare bone disease.

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    Cutting Morrbid RNA Shortens Immune Cell Lifespan

    Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News covered a study by Jorge Henao-Mejia, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. His team found that depending on how gene transcription metes out the supply of Morrbid, a long noncoding RNA, certain immune cells may have longer or shorter lifespans, determining whether immune responses go too far, or whether a proper balance is maintained between fighting infection and inflammation.

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    Cancer on Course to Become Top Killer of Americans

    Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted in a HealthDay story which reports that cancer is on pace to become the leading cause of death in the United States, outpacing heart disease.

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    Researchers Develop Model to Predict Sudden Cardiac Death Risk

    Rajat Deo, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and a team of researchers, developed and validated a prediction model to determine sudden cardiac death risk in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease. The study was published online in Circulation, and featured in Cardiovascular Business and UPI.

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    T Cell Therapy Holds Great Power, But Carries Risks

    A STAT story about progress in the field of CAR T cell therapy for cancer quoted Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty members Bruce Levine, PhD, and Michael Milone, MD, PhD.

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    Penn Medicine Researchers Predict Sudden Cardiac Death Risk

    For the first time, a team of researchers led by Rajat Deo, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine, has developed and validated a prediction model to determine sudden cardiac death risk in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease. This research is detailed in a paper published in Circulation.

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    Immunotherapy: A New Weapon Against Cancer

    U.S. News & World Report says researchers are developing CAR T cell therapies to beat more types of cancers, including solid tumors such as glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer. David Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, and a patient who received the therapy at Penn six years ago, are quoted in the story, which will appear in the magazine's annual Best Hospitals issue.

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    A Second Look: Efforts to Repurpose Old Drugs Against Zika Cast a Wide Net

    Sara Cherry, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, commented in Nature Medicine about possible drug candidates against the Zika virus. Cherry has cast a wide net, screening more than 2,000 small-molecule compounds with known target proteins.

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    Energetic Changes

    New findings from E. John Wherry of Medicine show that tweaking cancer therapies to control increased metabolic rates in infection-fighting T-cells may enhance treatment.

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    Team Effort

    James Riley and Luis Montaner of Medicine will be leading a large project that will join researchers from a diverse array of expertise to work towards an HIV cure.

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    Studies Show Link Between Gene and HDL Cholesterol

    Medical News Today, among other outlets, featured results from a collaborative study led by Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, which compared several animal models with human patient data and uncovered how genes identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) affect levels of HDL cholesterol. Rader is quoted.

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    A Clearer View of Achievemnet in Nuclear Radiology

    The contributions of Abass Alavi, MD, to the field of nuclear medicine come into clearer focus when you hear his life story up to this point – raised in a poor family in Iran to becoming one of the world’s preeminent researchers in nuclear imaging. Earlier this month, the Society for Nuclear Medicine hosted a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the FDG compound that Alavi and his colleagues developed.

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    Cancer Checkpoint Drug Target Governs Metabolic Changes in Exhausted T Cells

    Reprogramming of the molecular pathways underlying normal metabolism is essential for T cell infection-fighting function and for the immune system to form a “memory” of the microbes it has already encountered. But exactly how metabolism in exhausted T cells is maintained in chronic infections and cancer is a missing element in this line of research. Now, a new study suggests that tweaking metabolic steps in combination with checkpoint blockade drugs may improve some cancer therapies, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The team led by senior author E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology, a professor of Microbiology, and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn.published their findings this week in Immunity.

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    Setting the Body's Serial Killers' Loose on Cancer

    A front-page New York Times article details progress in the field of personalized cellular therapies, including at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The story features Penn Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty members Carl June, MD, and Bruce Levine, PhD, and three Abramson Cancer Center patients who participated in clinical trials for the Penn-developed CAR T cell therapy for leukemia. Upon learning his body had been cleared of cancer, “it was like this weight that had been sitting there was gone,” said Doug Olson, who was among the first three patients to receive the therapy and remains cancer-free six years later.

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    Hybrid Immune Cells Have Antitumor Effects in Early Stage Lung Cancer

    Oncology Nurse Advisor covers a Penn study that found that a subset of tumor-associated immune cells has hybrid characteristics of both neutrophils and antigen-presenting cells in samples from early stage human lung cancers.Evgeniy B. Eruslanov, PhD, and Sunil Singhal, MD, both in the department of Surgery were quoted.

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    For Organs Kept Alive Before Transplant, Tantalizing Possibilities

    The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Edward Cantu, MD, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Surgery,Abraham Shaked, MD, PhD, director of the Penn Transplant Institute, and a patient of Cantu's who received double-lung transplant in 2013, for an in-depth piece on organ perfusion.

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    Signaling Danger

    Research by postdoc Daphne Avgousti and Matthew Weitzman of Med and CHOP uncovered a mechanism by which a common virus manipulates the immune system.

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    Approach Targets Autoimmunity

    NIH Research Matters reports on a Penn Science study on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht were mentioned.

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    New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Suppressing Immune System

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Dermatology, and Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, are mentioned.

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    Fecal Transplants Can Be Life-Saving, but How?

    Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, chair of Microbiology, commented in The New York Times for an article about a PLoS Biology study, which noted that just a gram of stool contains a staggering mix of biological material, perhaps 100 billion bacteria, 100 million viruses and a million spores of fungi. “There’s a lot going on in there — it’s a whole community,” Bushman said.

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    Philadelphia Researchers are Leaders in Major Effort to Cure HIV

    The National Institutes of Health named six large scientific teams, including one co-led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, to advance the global efforts to develop a cure for HIV. James Riley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, will serve as the principal investigator for the $23 million grant.

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    A Young Doctor Fights to Cure his Own Rare, Deadly Disease

    David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, is profiled in a Science magazine article. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman’s disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    22 Ways Drinking Soda Will Shorten Your Life

    The Epoch Times quoted Nehal N. Mehta, MD, MSCE, FACP, FACC, an adjunct assistant professor of Cardiovasacular Medicine, in a piece that details the negative effects drinking soda can have on consumer's health and ultimately their lifespan.

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    Ibuprofen Could Make Heart Failure Worse, American Heart Association Warns

    Following the recent publication of guildines from the American Heart Association which urge doctors to check all patients' medications to ensure they aren't inadvertently putting their lives at risk, the Daily Mail hightlights the impacts some common medications can have on worsening heart failure. Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted.

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    At the Surface

    Researchers Avery Posey, Laura Johnson and Carl June of Medicine are developing an immunotherapy that uses engineered T cells to target a wide range of solid tumors. (Video)

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    Immune System Autocorrect Feature Reverses Autoimmune Disease in Mice

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Dermatology, Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht, MD, were all mentioned in the article.

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    New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Harming Normal Immunity

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht, MD, were all mentioned in news stories.

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    Double Targeted CAR-T Scores in Preclinical Cancer Study

    To date, T cells modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have been too indiscriminate to use against solid tumors. Better-targeted CAR T cells, however, have been demonstrated in a preclinical study led by Avery Posey, PhD, an instructor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Laura Johnson, PhD, director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

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    Game-changer

    George Shaw and Hui Li of the Perelman School of Medicine have developed an improved research tool that will give scientists a better way to test possible HIV vaccines.

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    A Closer Look at CRISPR

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is quoted in a STAT article that takes a deeper dive into the potential hurdles associated with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, including the commonly raised concern over whether the tool may edit out the wrong DNA.

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    CAR-T Optimized to Target Solid Tumors in Animal Models

    Better-targeted CAR T cells have been demonstrated in a preclinical study led by Avery Posey, PhD, an instructor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Laura Johnson, PhD, director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies. The CAR T cells were engineered to aim at a truncated carbohydrate molecule expressed in a variety of cancers.

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    Top Honor: George Hajishengallis Receives NIH MERIT Award

    George Hajishengallis of Dental has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health for “distinctly superior” research and productivity in his work on periodontitis.

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    Archived News

    See news from previous years.

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