• Purified human CD8 T-cells

    Erin Zwack/Brodsky Lab & Penn Vet Imaging Core - Murine macrophages infected with Yersinia pseudo tuberculosis. Blue indicates the cell, red is a mitochondrial stain, green is a stain for Yersinia secreted effector proteins.

  • 3D image of the inflamed meningeal membrane of a CX3CR1-GFP reporter mouse

    Claudio Giraudo - Polarization of lytic granules to the immunological synapse during the cytolytic process of human CD8 lymphocytes against cancer cells.

  • Time series of cells expressing GFP-tagged ebola viral protein VP40

    Gretchen Harms, Hunter lab - Stylized images of CD8+ T cells looking at differential localization of the transcription factor T-bet in mouse cells after infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, using the Amnis ImageStream. In the cell in the first and third box, T-bet (red) does not co-localize with DAPI (blue), indicating that it is cytoplas

Archived News

FY 2016

  • March 7, 2016
    Critical Details

Medicine's Gregory Beatty, Kristen Long and Whitney Gladney showed how specific immune cells can be “re-educated” to make pancreatic cancer vulnerable to chemotherapy.
Read more

  • February 29, 2016 
    Saving Theresa: The Race to Stop an Elusive Killer

    Degos, a condition that afflicts perhaps a dozen or so people in the United States each year, causes brittle spots of dead tissue that can perforate at any time, spreading bacteria and infection throughout the body. The Philadelphia Inquirer interviews Peter A. Merkel, MD, MPH, chief of the division of Rheumatology, and an expert on rare diseases, about coordinating a patient’s Degos treatment.
    Read more
     
  • February 26, 2016
    Congratulations David Roth!

It is with great pleasure to announce the appointment of David B. Roth, MD, PhD, as Director of the new Penn Center for Precision Medicine (PCPM), a greatly expanded effort in this burgeoning field. In his new role, Dr. Roth will work with the many stakeholders invested in this field to accelerate the implementation of precision medicine into clinical care. 
Read More

  • February 26, 2016
    Penn Medicine, Novartis Open Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics

    On Tuesday night, physicians, scientists and leaders from the Perelman School of Medicine and Novartis unveiled the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics (CACT), reports 6ABC and WHYY. The CACT, made up of nearly 24,000 square feet of lab and cell therapy manufacturing space, will serve as an epicenter for research and early development of personalized T cell therapies.
    Read more

  • February 23, 2016
    Living a Full Life

    A piece in the Princeton Packet featured a Penn patient and former mayor of the town, Phyllis Marchand, and her involvement with the Perelman School of Medicine’s Longitudinal Experience to Appreciate Patient Perspectives, or LEAPP, program. Marchand’s clinician, Alain Rook, MD, a professor of Dermatology, is also mentioned in the story.
    Read more

  • February 16, 2016
    A Way In

    Using powerful microscopy, Vet prof Christopher Hunter and postdoc Christoph Konradt showed how the Toxoplasma parasite breaches the blood-brain barrier. 
    Read more

  • February 9, 2016
    Advances in Personalized Medicine Must be Balanced with 'Clinical Reality'

    HemOncToday quoted David Roth, MD, PhD, chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Precision Medicine, in its coverage of a Cancer Action Network-hosted round table on the practicalities and availability of personalized medicine.
    Read more

  • February 4, 2016
    Changing Diapers

    Baby poop may be an important data source to learn how the risk of obesity develops in early life, according to a study by Babette Zemel and Gary Wu of Medicine and CHOP.
    Read more

  • January 21, 2016
    Vice President Biden's "Moonshot" Push to Find a Cure for Cancer

    Carl June, MD, director of Translational Research at the Abramson Cancer Center, was a guest on NPR’s “On Point” to discuss the “moonshot” effort put forth by Vice President Biden, who toured and met with researchers at the ACC last Friday. “[The vice president] is looking for how can we take the tool box that we have, which has never been so full….and accelerate the cure of cancer,” June said.(Starts at 30:34)
    Read more

  • January 18, 2016
    Vice President Biden Launches "Moonshot" Effort at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center

    On Friday, Vice President Joseph Biden visited Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center to kick off his national “moonshot” effort to find a cancer cure, reports CBS News, the Associated Press, CNN, and many other national and international outlets. Biden toured a first-of-its-kind research hub at Penn that will serve as the epicenter of its personalized T cell therapy program and met with top experts in immunotherapy, cancer prevention, surgery, genomics, and more at the ACC and Perelman School of Medicine.
    Read more

  • January 18, 2016
    Too Cautious About Food? That's Dangerous

    Bloomberg View weighed in on the recent changes in dietary recommendations, highlighting consumption in moderation versus eliminating certain foods entirely, and cautioning that when people are told to avoid one thing they often consumer too much of another. Comments from Daniel J. Rader, MD, chief of the Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, are referenced.
    Read more

  • January 15, 2016
    How a Penn Cancer Research Center Caught Joe Biden's Attention

    Previewing Vice President Biden’s visit to Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), STAT highlighted some of the groundbreaking immunotherapy work to come out of the ACC, described by the VP’s office as “cutting edge.” The article also featured Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD, director of the ACC, Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, associate director of translational research at the ACC, and Carl June, MD, director of translational research at the ACC.
    Read more

  • January 15, 2016
    Vice President Biden to Visit Abramson Cancer Center

    As part of his national "moonshot" effort on cancer, Vice President Joe Biden will visit Penn's Abramson Cancer Center Friday to speak with physicians and scientists leading the charge in the fight against the disease, reports NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, and other outlets. Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, associate director of translational research at the ACC, was also featured on NBC10.
    Read more

  • January 14, 2016
    Two Accolades

    The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has recognized Med's Gary Lichtenstein and Gary Wu with 2015 Inflammatory Bowel Disease Scientific Achievement Awards.
    Read more

  • January 11, 2016
    Camel Vaccine Offers Hope to Stop MERS

    David Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, comments in Science about the development of a MERS vaccine to suppress circulation of the virus in camels.
    Read more

  • January 8, 2016
    Kudos, Criticisim for New Dietary Guidelines

    Daniel J. Rader, MD, director of the Preventive Cardiovascular Program, was quoted in a 6ABC story of the newly released USDA dietary recommendations, supporting the call for consumption in moderation.
    Read more

  • January 5, 2016
    Diet, Exercise Ease One Aspect of Heart Failure but not All

    MedPage Today featured the results of a new study which found that lifestyle modifications may improve exercise capacity for obese older patients, but may not improve their quality of life. Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted.
    Read more

  • December 2, 2015
    HBO Vice Special Report on HIV: Countdown to Zero

    On World AIDS Day, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine professors Carl June, MD, and Bruce Levine, PhD, were featured in a special HIV report from HBO’s Vice. June sat down with host Shane Smith to describe how his team successfully used a zinc finger technology to induce the CCR5 mutation — the same one found in Timothy Brown, the “Berlin patient” — in patients’ T cells to lock out the virus. The show also features a tour of Penn’s Cell and Vaccine Production Facility, showcasing how the gene editing process works.
    Read more

  • November 24, 2015
    Immunotherapies Changing Outlook for Cancer Patients

    Abramson Cancer Center physicians Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology and David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology/Oncology, were guests on WHYY's Radio Times, discussing advances in cancer immunotherapies.
    Read more

  • November 16, 2015
    U.S. Heart Groups to Weigh New Data for Hypertension Treatment Guidelines

    Mariell L. Jessup, MD, a professor of Medicine and the directory of Penn's Heart and Vascular center, provided comment to Reuters on the guideline implications following the announcement of the SPRINT study results, which found that more aggressively lowering blood pressure in high-risk older patients can reduce cardiovascular and mortality risk.
    Read more

  • November 13, 2015
    Baby's Leukemia Recedes After Novel Gene Therapy

    Bruce Levine, PhD, and Carl June, MD, both professors of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, are quoted in articles detailing the recently announced case of a British baby whose blood cancer was treated with “off the shelf” genetically modified T cells from an unrelated donor.
    Read more

  • November 13, 2015
    No Scar

    A study revealed how mouse ears regenerate without the tissue scarring, which may have implications for human wound healing, according to Thomas Leung of Medicine.
    Read more

  • November 10, 2015
    Vericiguat Misses Primary End Point of Lower NT-proBNP in Chronic Heart-Failure Patients

    Mariell L. Jessup, MD, a professor of Medicine and medical director of Penn's Heart and Vascular Center, commented on the trial results of the heart failure drug vericiguat for the improvement of worsening chronic heart failure, in a Medscape article. Results were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2015.
    Read more

  • November 10, 2015
    Virome

    A survey of the skin’s viruses has found that 90 percent are viral “dark matter” that have never been described before, according to Elizabeth Grice of Medicine.
    Read more

  • November 9, 2015
    Nitrates No Help in Heart Failure

    In a video interview with MedPage Today, Mariell L. Jessup, MD, a professor of Medicine, medical director of Penn's Heart and Vascular Center and moderator of the first AHA late-breaking clinical trial panel, commented on the results of the Nitrate's Effect on Activity Tolerance in Heart Failure (NEAT-HFpEF) trial and what physicians can learn from the data.
    Read more

  • November 5, 2015
    Medical Trials Underway Harnessing Modified HIV Virus for Cancer Treatment

    PIX11, the CW affiliate in New York City, chronicled progress in the Abramson Cancer Center's trials using genetically modified versions of patients' own T cells to combat leukemia and other blood cancers. Alison Loren, MD, an associate professor of Hematology/Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, were featured in the story along with the first patient to participate in this clinical trial, who remains in remission more than five years after receiving the investigational therapy.
    Read more

  • November 3, 2015
    Penn Scientist Reveal 90 Percent of Skin-Based Viruses Represent Viral "Dark Matter"

    Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine have used state-of-the-art techniques to survey the skin’s virus population, or “virome.” The study, published in the online journal mBio last month, reveals that most DNA viruses on healthy human skin are viral “dark matter” that have never been described before. Elizabeth A. Grice, PhD, an assistant professor of Dermatology, served as senior author.
    Read more

  • November 2, 2015
    Penn Scientist Reveal 90 Percent of Skin-Based Viruses Represent Viral "Dark Matter"

    Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine have used state-of-the-art techniques to survey the skin’s virus population, or “virome.” The study, published in the online journal mBio last month, reveals that most DNA viruses on healthy human skin are viral “dark matter” that have never been described before. Elizabeth A. Grice, PhD, an assistant professor of Dermatology, served as senior author.
    Read more

  • October 30, 2015
    Infection Buster

    A study led by Vet’s Bruce Freedman and Ronald Harty blocked the ability of Ebola and other viruses to exit a host cell and spread by targeting a calcium-signaling pathway.
    Read more

  • October 29, 2015
    Microbial Frontier

    In a Q&A with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Vet's Dan Beiting explained the role of bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites in maintaining health and causing disease.
    Read more

  • October 27, 2015
    Celebrating the Health Care Innovator Award winners

    The Philadelphia Business Journal named its 2015 Health Care Innovators of the Year, which includes Penn Medicine's L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, a professor of Bone and Joint Surgery and chair of the department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read more

  • October 22, 2015
    Nasal Cilia: The 'Long and Short' of Scent-sation

    Perfumer & Flavorist covered a study by Minghong Ma, PhD, an associate professor of Neuroscience, that identified patterns in cilia length and function within the mouse nasal cavity. "Since primary cilia are present on almost every cell type in our body and brain, defects in cilia formation and function often cause complex symptoms involving brain malformation, obesity, cognitive deficits, cystic kidney disorder and blindness in addition to anosmia," she said. 
    Read more

  • October 22, 2015
    Epigenetic Pathway

    A study by Medicine’s Xianxin Hua has found that the relationship of a suppressor molecule and an oncogene explains how breast cancer cells become desensitized to drugs.
    Read more

  • October 21, 2015
    Off-Kilter

    Research by James Lewis, Frederic Bushman and Gary Wu of Medicine showed that different treatments for Crohn's disease affect children's gut microbes in distinct ways.
    Read more

  • October 20, 2015
    Blood Disorder

    By elucidating the protein complex structure at its root, Mark Greene, Zheng Cal and Douglas Cines of Medicine are developing a new treatment for a serious clotting condition.
    Read more

  • October 19, 2015
    Academia, Big Pharma Find Collaboration Fruitful

    Elizabeth Grice, MD, an assistant professor of Dermatology, spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer on the new ways that academia and drug companies collaborate on research to generate cash for schools and profitable medicines for manufacturers. Also quoted in the article is Laurie Actman, chief operating officer in the Penn Center for Innovation, who works to spur more corporate engagement.
    Read more

  • October 13, 2015
    Turncoat Protein Regulates Sensitivity of Breast Cancer Cells to Drug, Providing New Target for Preventing Relapses, Finds Penn Study

    A surprising, paradoxical relationship between a tumor suppressor molecule and an oncogene may be the key to explaining and working around how breast cancer tumor cells become desensitized to a common cancer drug, found researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine. “We found that an epigenetic pathway is crucial for growth of HER2+ cells and this epigenetic factor reduces sensitivity of the cancer cells to lapatinib, a HER2 inhibitor,” said senior author Xianxin Hua, MD, PhD, a professor of Cancer Biology.
    Read more

  • October 12, 2015
    Philadelphia's History of Vaccine Research and Development

    Philadelphia Inquirer story on the history of vaccines highlighted several leaders from the Perelman School of Medicine, including the late Robert Austrian, but it also looked ahead. Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, vice chief of Research in the division of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center, and colleagues are working to create a gene therapy vaccine that could prevent malignancies from forming in healthy individuals who are at heightened risk for developing cancer.
    Read more

  • October 8, 2015
    Penn Team Shines a Light on Blood Disorder

    FierceBiotech mentions a study about a potential treatment for a serious clotting condition by elucidating the structure of the protein complex at its root.  The study was led by Mark Greene, MD, PhD the John W. Exkman Professor of Medical Science, and Douglas Cines, MD, director of the Coagulation Laboratory and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
    Read more

  • October 8, 2015
    Novel Platform

    A vaccine developed by David Weiner of Medicine has successfully removed precancerous cervical lesions in half of patients, providing an alternative to surgical treatments.
    Read more

  • October 7, 2015
    Dual Role

    George Hajishengallis of Dental Medicine and colleagues have discovered a protein that inhibits bone resorption and can reduce bone loss associated with severe gum disease.
    Read more

  • October 7, 2015
    New Approach to Treating Heparin0induced Blood Disorder Revealed in Structure of Protein-Antibody Complex, Penn Study Finds

    A potential treatment for a serious clotting condition that can strike patients who receive heparin to treat or prevent blood clots may lie within reach by elucidating the structure of the protein complex at its root, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine. The team's work was published in Nature Communications. The team is from the lab of Mark Greene, MD, PhD, the John W. Eckman Professor of Medical Science, including Zheng Cai, PhD, senior research investigator, as well as the lab of Douglas Cines, MD, director of the Coagulation Laboratory and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
    Read more

  • October 7, 2015
    Our Microbiome and Our Health

    The trillions of bacteria and fungi in our bodies make up our microbiome. We’re just beginning to understand the critical role this plays in our health. Researchers now believe our “body bugs” influence autoimmune diseases, allergies, obesity, mental health and more. Radio Times embarked on an informative discussion with Tracy Bale, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience in the School of Veterinary Medicine and in the department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Gary Wu, MD, a professor of Gastroenterology, and Frederic Bushman, PhD, a professor of Microbiology.
    Read more

  • October 6, 2015
    Exploring New Horizons in Hematologic Oncology

    In continuing coverage, Oncology Central research from the lab of David Roth, MD, PhD, chair of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on a DNA-cutting mechanism that sometimes malfunctions, leading normal immune cells to turn into blood cancers.
    Read more

  • October 1, 2015
    Cancer Immunotherapy: The Cutting Edge Gets Sharper

    Scientific American spoke with Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Ambramson Cancer Center, for an article focusing on the latest advances — and remaining questions  — in the field of immunotherapy. "There are 300 kinds of cancer at least and they're each goingt to have different issues." June said. "I think we have enough tools that we can plot a course."
    Read more

  • September 30, 2015
    Penn-developed, DNA-based Vaccine Clears Nearly Half of Precancerous Cervical Lesions in Clinical Trial

    Using a novel synthetic platform for creating vaccines originally developed in the laboratory of David Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, a team led by his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has successfully eradicated precancerous cervical lesions in nearly half of the women who received the investigational vaccine in a clinical trial.
    Read more

  • September 23, 2015
    Immunotherapy

    A study led by Alexander Huang, an Abramson Cancer Center fellow, demonstrates how PD-1 drugs work in melanoma patients, putting a potential biomarker within reach.
    Read more

  • September 22, 2015
    CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellows: A Passion for Science

    Postdoctoral fellows are the engine of biomedical research. Hear what it's like to be a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) postdoctoral fellow from those who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of basic research in cancer immunology. Featuring Beth Stadmueller, PhD, Roy Maute, PhD, Matthew Gubin, PhD, Paola Betancur, PhD, Kristen Pauken, PhD, E. John Wherry, PhD, and Ellen Puré, PhD.

    Established in 1971, the CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is the oldest of CRI's grant initiatives. To date, CRI has supported more than 1,300 fellows and invested more than $115 million in their training at laboratories all over the world. CRI is the only nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to funding research in the areas of cancer immunology and immunotherapy, with the goal of developing more effective immune-based treatments for all cancers.
    Read more

  • September 21, 2015
    Doctors Take Shot at Keeping Cancer Away

    Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, vice chief of research in the division of Hematology/Oncology at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a Houston Chronicle article on the latest studies investigating cancer vaccines. His group recently launched an early-stage, DNA immunotherapy trial trying to prevent recurrence in cancers of the pancreas, lung and breast.
    Read more

  • September 18, 2015
    Sense of Smell

    Sensitivity to odors depends on the length of the sensory cilia and their location in the nasal cavity, according to research by Med’s Rosemary Lewis and Minghong Ma.  
    Read more

  • September 17, 2015
    American College of Rheumatology Educational Tracks

    The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting sessions are based on educational tracks based on specialty or area of interest, ACR Daily News reports. In the business administration track, a senior member of Congress will provide perspective on the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act, which Sharon L. Kolasinski, MD, a professor of clinical medicine and director of rheumatology at the Penn Musculoskeletal Center, says “will help support change in the tiering of medications.”
    Read more

  • September 17, 2015
    Lafayette student receives a kidney from a stranger

    The Allentown Morning Call spoke with Peter Abt, MD, an associate professor of Surgery in the division of Transplant Surgery, and the surgeon who operated on Penn patient Andrea Samson, about her case and some of reasons why people donate. Samson, a 20 year-old college student who had dealt with kidney failure her entire life, received a kidney from an anonymous donor in July. Abt, who performed both of Samson's transplant surgeries - the first was a kidney donation from her father at age 15, which her body ultimately rejected - noted that many individual donors have a history of volunteerism, and choose to donate their organs simply to help others -- even strangers.
    Read more

  • September 15, 2015
    Editing Errors

    A study by David Roth of Medicine shows that blood cancer can develop in animals when enzymes that cut and paste segments of DNA hit an “off-target” spot on a chromosome.
    Read more

  • September 11, 2015
    Enzyme Replacement Works in Rare Lipid Disorder

    In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report results of a trial showing the efficacy of a new enzyme-replacement therapy for Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency. In an accompanying editorial, Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of the department of Genetics, noted the great potential of this therapy. Quoted in MedPage Today, Rader says there is still a need for a larger, longer-term study to confirm these results.September 11, 2015
    Read more

  • September 11, 2015
    Blood Cancers Develop When Immune Cell DNA Editing Enzyme Hits Off-target Spots in the Genome, Penn Animal Study Finds

    Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine have shown that when the enzyme key to cutting and pasting segments of DNA hits so-called “off-target” spots on a chromosome, the development of immune cells can lead to cancer in animal models. David Roth, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, served as senior author of the study which was published online this week in Cell Reports.
    Read more

  • September 10, 2015
    Novel Approach

    A study by Med's David Porter and Carl June shows that personalized cellular therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia has resulted in long remissions for some patients. 
    Read more

  • September 9, 2015
    PCSK9 Inhibitors: Now That We Have Them, What Do We Do

    Following the FDA approval of PCSK9 inhibitors for lowering LDL levels, MedPage Today quoted Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of the department of Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine, on the preexisting need for this type of medication. Rader noted there is "a big pent up demand for these drugs," particularly for those with coronary artery disease, familial hypercholesterolemia, and those who have trouble tolerating statins.
    Read more

  • September 8, 2015
    Penn Reports Long-Term T-Cell Therapy Results

    In continuing coverage, David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer story detailing his team's latest results using an investigational personalized cellular therapy to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Bill Ludwig, the first patient to receive the therapy, recently marked five years cancer-free, and is also featured in the article.
    Read more

  • September 4, 2015
    Breathing Easy

    Research led by Vet’s Carolina López found a viral product that promotes a strong immune response against respiratory syncytial virus, a threat to infants and the elderly.
    Read more

  • September 3, 2015
    Blood Cells, Honed in the Lab to Kill Cancer, Lead to Five-Year Remissions

    The Abramson Cancer Center team whose work led to the first successful and sustained demonstration in the use of genetically engineered T cells to fight cancer reports this week that two leukemia patients who were among the first to receive this investigational therapy remain in remission five years later. The research, published in Science Translational Medicine this week, is led by David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center. "The patients in this trial have largely failed all other conventional therapies and really had really, very few treatment options," Porter told WHYY Radio. "Nothing was really working for them."
    Read more

  • September 2, 2015
    Results From the SERVE-HF Study

    At the European Society of Cardiology meeting last week, MedPage Today conducted a video interview with Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Medicine, associate chief of Clinical Affairs in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center. Jessup commented on the SERVE-HF trial and the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing with adaptive servo-ventilation in patients with chronic heart failure.
    Read more

  • August 31, 2015
    F.D.A. Approves Repatha, a Second Drug for Cholesterol in a Potent New Class

    As the F.D.A. approves the second drug designed to lower LDL levels for those whose high cholesterol and heart disease cannot be controlled with statins, the New York Times quoted Dan Rader, MD, associate director, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and chief, division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, on the benefits of lower LDL levels in lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.
    Read more

  • August 25, 2015
    Carter's Cancer Fight Reflects Change in Treatment of Elderly

    Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, and Robert Lustig, MD, a professor of Radiation Oncology, are quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer story on the recently announced cancer treatment plan for Jimmy Carter, who will receive radiation plus the immunotherapy pembrolizumab for his metastatic melanoma. “I definitely think it's a reasonable treatment to be pursuing and potentially could really help him,” Schuchter told the Inquirer.
    Read more

  • August 25, 2015
    High Priority

    Med’s David Weiner and Karuppiah Muthumani have found that a novel synthetic DNA vaccine can induce immunity against Middle East respiratory syndrome in animals. August 25, 2015
    Read more

  • August 24, 2015
    Internal Clock

    According to a study by Medicine’s Garret Fitzgerald, Frederic Bushman and Xue Liang, circadian rhythms and gender influence the microbiome make-up of mammals.    
    Read more

  • August 19, 2015
    Synthetic DNA Vaccine Against MERS Induces Immunity in Animal Study, Penn Researchers Find

    In continuing coverage, WHYY Radio and other outlets ran stories about a synthetic DNA–based vaccine targeting the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Lead author David Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine was quoted.
    Read more

  • August 21, 2015
    Jimmy Carter to Undergo Radiation and Immunotherapy

    Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, and James Metz, MD, chair of Radiation Oncology, were featured on CBS3 for a story on Jimmy Carter’s cancer announcement. Carter revealed that he will receive both radiation and a newer immunotherapy drug call pembrolizumab to treat his melanoma, which has spread to his liver and brain. “The idea is that radiation will cause the death of tumor cells, cause an immune response, and with that drug, it will actually make the immune system work better,” Metz told CBS3. Schuchter also went live on CBS3 and FOX29 to discuss the diagnosis and treatments.
    Read more

  • August 17, 2015
    Delaware Woman Receives Kidney of Father Killed in Car Accident

    In continuing coverage, ABCNews.com reports on a Delaware woman who needed a kidney transplant for almost two years, and now has her father's kidney after he recently died in a car accident. Penn patient Stacey Knox traveled to HUP earlier this month to receive her father's kidney, her husband said, adding that the transplant was successful, and that she's recovering and being monitored. "It's certainly a bittersweet story, but I think this is one of those opportunities where a parent gets to make a lasting and final gift to their child," Knox's surgeon Peter Abt, MD, surgical director of Kidney Transplantation, said.
    Read more

  • August 11, 2015
    T cell Receptor Therapy Achieves Encouraging Clinical Responses in Multiple Myeloma

    In continuing coverage, the Baltimore Sun covered a recent study investigating a new T cell receptor therapy in multiple melanoma patients from researchers in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. This time, the team, led by Carl June, MD, a professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Edward Stadtmauer, MD, a professor of Medicine and section chief of Hematologic Malignancies, modified T cells to attack cancer cells expressing NY-ESO-1. The study was also covered by Oncology Nurse Advisor and the ASCO Post.
    Read more

  • August 5, 2015
    Parasite Defense

    After infection with leishmania, T cells reside in the skin to prevent future attacks, Vet's Philip Scott found. The work could inform vaccine development.
    Read more

  • August 5, 2015
    Seminar Research

    In recognition of her influential contributions to the field of hematology, Medicine’s Nancy Speck was awarded the 2015 Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Science.
    Read more

  • July 27, 2015
    Vitamin D for Pancreatic Cancer

    In continuing coverage, ABC 30 in Fresno, Calif., reported on a clinical trial at the Abramson Cancer Center investigating the use of vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients. This first in-human trial is being led by Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, chair of Surgery, and Peter O’Dwyer, MD, a professor of Hematology/Oncology, and is funded by the Stand Up to Cancer initiative.
    Read more

  • July 27, 2015
    T-Cell Receptor Therapy Shows Promise for Myeloma

    Results from a clinical trial investigating a new T cell receptor therapy demonstrated a response in 80 percent of multiple myeloma patients after undergoing autologous stem cell transplants, according to a new study from Abramson Cancer Center researchers published in Nature Medicine, reports WHYY Radio and Fiercebiotech. This time, the team, led by Carl June, MD, a professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Edward Stadtmauer, MD, a professor of Medicine and section chief of Hematologic Malignancies, modified T cells to attack cancer cells expressing NY-ESO-1, an antigen found in nearly 60 percent of multiple myelomas. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Medical Daily, and BioScience also covered the study.
    Read more

  • July 23, 2015
    Man Survives Cancer and Heart Transplant, then Bikes Coast to Coast

    Penn Medicine heart transplant patient, Derek Fitzgerald, completed the final leg of his cross country bike tour to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, stopping through Penn yesterday for a ceremony featuring words from Mariell Jessup, MD, an associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center and Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD, director of the Abramson Cancer Center. Derek and his team finished is his 44-day journey yesterday afternoon in Avalon, NJ. This was covered by CBS3, WIP Sports Radio and NBC10.
    Read more

  • July 21, 2015
    Investigational T-cell Receptor Therapy Achieves Encouraging Clinical Responses in Multiple Patients, Penn-led Study Finds

    Results from a clinical trial investigating a new T cell receptor (TCR) therapy that uses a person’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells demonstrated a clinical response in 80 percent of multiple myeloma patients with advanced disease after undergoing autologous stem cell transplants (ASCT). The results of the study were published this week in the journal Nature Medicine from researchers at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, including senior author Carl H. June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the ACC, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc (Adaptimmune).
    Read more

  • July 22, 2015
    Clinical Response

    Research by Carl June and Edward Stadtmauer of Medicine has found that new T-cell receptor therapy is both safe and effective for patients with advanced multiple myeloma.
    Read more

  • July 15, 2015
    ECG Metrics May Predict Cardiac Deaths in CKD Patients

    HealthDay (via Doctors Lounge) reports that certain electrocardiographic measures may improve prediction of cardiovascular death in patients with chronic kidney disease, according to a study led by Rajat Deo, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine, and published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Medscape and Health Management also covered the study.
    Read more

  • July 13, 2015
    FDA Approves Heart Failure Drug that Comes with Survival Benefit

    In continuing coverage, TCTMD reports on the FDA's recent approval of Entresto for the treatment of heart failure.Mariell Jessup, MD, associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center, says that among the reasons the approval is important is that "the success of this drug has seemingly opened the floodgates of research into other potential heart failure drug investigation, making it a very exciting next chapter in the heart failure arena."
    Read more

  • July 9, 2015
    The Summer of Cardiology Blockbusters

    Medpage Today reports that the recent FDA approval of heart failure drug Entresto and the pending approval of two PCSK9 inhibitors this summer has reinvigorated the search for further advances in cardiology. "Already there has been a renewed sense of interest and excitement from many pharmaceutical companies taking another look at heart failure therapy," said Mariell Jessup, MD, associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center.
    Read more

  • July 8, 2015
    Novartis "Breakthrough" Heart Failure Drug Wins Speedy Approval

    The first drug to demonstrate a mortality benefit when compared with enalapril for heart failure -- Entresto, previously known as LCZ696 -- received FDA approval Tuesday, according to Medpage Today. Cardiologists, including Mariell Jessup, MD, associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center, are calling it a potential game changer because "it represents a new class of drug, which may have a meaningful impact on the trajectory of disease in many patients."
    Read more

  • July 8, 2015
    Groundbreaking Specialty Drugs Come with High Costs

    A Food and Drug Administration advisory group recommended in June that the agency approve a new drug, Praluent, from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. If approved, it will be the first in a new class of blockbuster medicines that sharply lower levels of cholesterol, the leading cause of heart disease. But groundbreaking specialty drugs often come with a huge price tag. "If these drugs are really given to the number of people who are candidates for them, the cost will be astronomical," Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of the department of Genetics and director of the Preventive Cardiovascular Program, told U.S. News & World Report.
    Read more

  • July 7, 2015
    Stayin Active in the Lab

    David Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, comments in The Scientist about continuing research after retirement. Weiner hosted retired clinical dermatologist Henry Maguire as a full-time postdoc in his lab from 1997 to 2011. In retirement, Maguire's expertise was an invaluable asset to the gourp, Weiner says. "He always challenged us: What is the importance of this work? What is the point of doing this? He made things kind of slow down, took you out of the rat race, and gave you time to think about things in an elegant and important way."
    Read more

  • July 7, 2015
    Higher CD8 T-cell Dose from Younger Donors Improves Transplant Outcomes

    HemOnc Today reports on a new study from Abramson Cancer Center researchers that found that older patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplants who received stem cells from younger, unrelated donors with higher numbers of so-called killer T cells (CD8 cells) had significantly reduced risk of disease relapse and improved survival. The study, co-authored by David Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the ACC, was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
    Read more

  • July 7, 2015
    The Work Towards a Cure

    James Hoxie, MD, director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research, was featured in a Hellio.com video talking about the advances in HIV, including gene therapy technology that kept the virus at bay in some patients taken off medications. "Those of us in the field, especially those of us who have been in it since the beginning, when HIV was a new disease, feel empowered by what we've accoplished, " Hoxie said. "That can only make us hopeful for what is ahead."
    Read more

  • July 2, 2015
    PCSK9 Inhibitors: The Needle, the Cost, the Barriers

    On June 10, an FDA advisory panel voted 11-4 in favor of approving PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab (Repatha), with most panelists saying they saw no need to wait for the ongoing cardiovascular outcomes trial data. Daniel Rader, MD, director of preventive cardiology, predicted that rigorous documentation of statin intolerance would be required for insurance coverage in the clinic, he told MedPage Today.
    Read more

 

 

 

 

 

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FY 2015

  • June 29, 2015
    Philanthropy for Hackers

    Cancer Immunotherapy research led by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, is detailed in a Wall Street Journal column by Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook, in which he calls for his fellow young Internet leaders to use their talents and wealth to transform the world of philanthropy.
    Read more
     
  • June 19, 2015
    Hyperlipidemia May Hike Risk of Allograft Rejection

    In an editorial published in the American Journal of Transplantation in response to two new studies, Deirdre Sawinski, MD and Jonathan Maltzman, MD, PhD, both Assistant Professors of Medicine in the Renal, Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, emphasize that environmental factors can alter the response to organ transplantation. "These studies show that a high fat-diet impacts the immune response and skews it toward rejection and this suggests that avoidance of a high-fat diet in our transplant recipients may have benefits in terms of decreased rejection episodes in addition to known cardiovascular benefit," Maltzman told Reuters Health.
    Read more
     
  • June 17, 2015
    Survey Reveals Americans Have Potentially Dangerous Misconceptions About Heart Failure

    Nearly six million Americans currently live with heart failure, yet a recent national survey found that nearly half of those surveyed got fundamental facts about heart failure wrong, according to Medical Express. The article includes a video of Mariell Jessup, MD, an associate chief of clinical affairs in the Division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center, educating people about heart failure.
    Read more
     
  • June 17, 2015
    Penn Researchers Receive $2.9 Million in Awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to Launch Biomedical Research Careers

    Two Penn researchers, Igor Brodsky, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathobiology and Rahul M. Kohli, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Medicine, will each receive the Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award.  This award provides $500,000 over five years to support accomplished investigators at the assistant professor level to study pathogeneises, with a focus on the interplay between human and microbial biology.
    Read more
     
  • June 16, 2015
    Best Results

    A study by Medicine's Ran Reshef and David Porter shows that screening for high T cell counts may optimize the donor selection process for stem cell transplant patients. 
    Read more
     
  • June 15, 2015
    HDL Efflux Measure Predicts CHD Events

    Greater HDL cholesterol efflux capacity is linked to a lower incidence of coronary heart disease events.  "We were very interested to find that HDL cholesterol efflux capacity measured in healthy persons predicted risk of a future cardiovascular event even after adjusting for the HDL-C level," Daniel J. Rader, MD, who directs the Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Lipid Clinic Medicine and chairs the Department of Genetics, told Reuters Health. He is also the lead author of the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology study.
    Read more
     
  • June 10, 2015
    Primary Player

    A paper by the Perelman School of Medicine's John Wherry and lab members examine how T cell exhaustion has possible implications for cancer and antiviral therapies. 
    Read more
     
  • June 3, 2015
    ​Penn researchers home in on what's wearing out Tcells

    Sometimes even cells get tired. When the T cells of your immune system are forced to deal over time with cancer or a chronic infection such as HIV or hepatitis C, they can develop "T cell exhaustion," becoming less effective and losing their ability to attack and destroy the invaders of the body. While the PD-1 protein pathway has long been implicated as a primary player in T cell exhaustion, a major question has been whether PD-1 actually directly causes exhaustion. A new paper from the lab of John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and Director of the Institute for Immunology, in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, seems to -- at least partially -- let PD-1 off the hook. The paper was published this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
    Read more
     
  • May 29, 2015
    Some chimpanzees infected with AIDS virus may harbor protective, humanlike gene

    Beatrice Hahn, MD
    , a professor of Medicine and Micriobilogy, commented in an article in Science magazine about work suggesting a gene in some wild chimpanzees infected with the AIDS virus closesly resembled one that protects humans from HIV. "I'm excited about their finding an allele closely related to B57, albeit in preliminary experiments," Hagn says. "It could be protective, and it could be quickly checked by looking at all the other chimp populations that harbor SIVcpz."
    Read more
     
  • May 29, 2015
    Note of Caution

    Panel tests can identify cancer linked mutations. Med's Susan Domcheck and Katherine Nathanson say more research is needed to counsel patients.
    Read more
     
  • May 29, 2015
    "Good" Cholesterol Function More Important Than Amount

    For decades, doctors have fussed over patients' HDL, or "good" cholesterol, levels, prescribing medications to boost them if they drop below the recommended benchmark.  Now, a Lancet study from Penn suggests that focus has been misplaced. Instead of sheer amount, what matters more is how well HDL works to remove fats from blood vessels. "HDL is modestly useful as a predictor of rish, but we're moving toward a time when we think measurement of HDL function might, in fact, be a better way," senior author Daniel Rader, MD, director, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine and the Chair of the Department of Genetics, told WHYY.
    Read more
     
  • May 27, 2015
    Penn Study Links Better "Good Cholesterol" Function with Lower Risk of Later Heart Disease

    HDL is the “good cholesterol” that helps remove fat from artery walls, reversing the process that leads to heart disease. Yet recent drug trials and genetic studies suggest that simply pushing HDL levels higher doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, a team led by senior author Daniel J. Rader, MD, director of the Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Lipid Clinic at Penn Medicine, has shown in a large, forward-looking epidemiological study that a person’s HDL function—the efficiency of HDL molecules at removing cholesterol—may be a better measure of coronary heart disease risk and a better target for heart-protecting drugs. The new study was reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
    Read more
     
  • May 26, 2015
    Sen. Toomey Talks Penn's Cancer Gene Therapy Accomplishments

    U.S. Senator Pat Toomey delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate to highlight the recent innovations in cancer reserach and the importance of federal funding for these efforts, including gene therapy research led by Carl H. June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read more
     
  • May 19, 2015
    Miraculous Activist

    James Hoxie, MD, director of the Penn Cener for AIDS Research, was quoted in a Scientist article on Timothy Brown, the "Berlin Patient" who was "functionally" cured of HIV. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, he received a stem cell transplant from a donor who had the CCR5 mutation in both parents and has remained off drugs since 2008. "Nobody would dare to use the word 'cure' before this happened," Hoxie said. But Brown's cure "has generated an entirely new field of science that we boldly call cure or eradication research."
    Read more
     
  • May 4, 2015
    Global Prize

    David Weiner and members of his laboratory in the Perelman School of Medicine received Best Academic Research Team honors at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington.
    Read more
     
  • April 28, 2015
    BBB Maintenance

    Vet's Jorge Iván Alvarez co-led a study on a protein that helps maintain the blood-brain barrier, lessening the effects of a multiple sclerosis-like disease in an animal model.
    Read more
     
  • April 28, 2015
    Honor for Excellence

    Carl June, MD, Abramson Cancer Center gene therapy researcher, and received an American Associate for Cancer Research award for his innovative work in immunology.
    Read more
     
  • April 27, 2015
    Immunotherapy Takes Center Stage at Annual Cancer Meeting in Philly

    Cancer researchers and oncologists gathered in Philadelphia last week for the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting, where a lot of focus was on immunotherapy, reports WHYY. The piece featured an abstract from Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, a professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center and David Bajor, MD, and instructor of Hematology/Oncology, on a new combination of immune drugs for melanoma patients. Out of 24 participants, two patients went into complete remission and four others improved. "These types of extraordinary responses achieved by immuntherapy are actually becoming ordinary," said Vonderheide. "Patients are walking away from their cancer forever."
    Read more
     
  • April 27, 2015
    HIV Breakthrough

    Pablo Tebas, Carl June and Bruce Levine from Medicine's Center for AIDS Research received a prestigious award for their personalized gene therapy work in HIV.
    Read more
     
  • April 24, 2015
    Immunotherapy

    A study led by David Bajor and Robert Vonderheide  of the Abramson Cancer Center found a combination of treatments is sage and elicitys a clinical response in melanoma patients.
    Read more
     
  • April 20, 2015
    Cancer Drug Shines Against Skin, Lung Cancer

    The immunotherapy drug known as PD-1 bested the stadard of care in advanced melanoma, researchers reported at the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting.  Patients on pembrolizumab (PD-1) had better overall survival and progression free survival rates compared to patients on ipilimumab. "Again and again, new immune therapies are producing meaningful outcomes for our patients", Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, a professor of Medicine in the division of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center told Forbes. " The breakthrough drug approved four years ago is now seemingly surpassed, with less toxicity."
    Read more
     
  • April 17, 2015
    Cancer Nonprofit Aims to Raise More Money, Profile

    The American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, expected to draw over 18,000 cancer researchers and physicians from around the world, begins this weekend in Philadelphia, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's a stunning meeting," said Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, professor of Medicine in the division of Hematology/Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center. "It instigates collaborations. It helps fund our work. It provides a voice for the work we do."
    Read more
     
  • April 15, 2015
    Changing Lives Through Donating Kidneys to Strangers

    In continuing coverage, a segment from Nightline features Penn patients Michele and Matt Crane, and their kidney transplant surgeons, Peter Abt, MD, associate professor of Surgery, and Ali Naji, MD, PHD, surgical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program. Last month, Matt and Michele participated in what is now the longest multi-hospital kidney transplant chain in U.S. history. Over the course of three months, 68 lives were changed when 34 kidneys were swapped between 26 different hospitals across the nation.  "It is a huge operation, but it's driven by the hears and minds of people who want to do it.  If there was no love in this, it wouldn't happen," said Naji.
    Read more
     
  • April 14, 2015
    Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancers: Moving Toward More Precise Prevention

    In continuing coverage, a post from Dr. Francis Collins to his NIH Director's Blog reports on the recent Penn-led study published in JAMA which found that among women with mutations in BRCA1/2 genes, the answer to whether a particular individual will develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, both types of cancer, or neither cancer appears to vary considerably depending upon the precise type of mutation inherited and the locations of these mutations in the DNA sequences of the genes.  The post states that the new work by Timothy Rebbeck, PhD, associate professor of Population Science in the Abramson Cancer Center, Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, associate professor of Medicine and director of Genetics in the Basser Center for BRCA, and collegues represents a significant step toward more precise and individualized risk calculations.
    Read more
     
  • April 14, 2015
    "First Step"

    A study led by Timothy Rebbeck, PhD and Katherine Nathanson, MD of Medicine found that the risk of breast and ovarian cancer differs depending on a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
    Read more
     
  • April 13, 2015
    10 Questions: Mariell Jessup, MD

    In a Medpage Today "10 Questions" article, Mariell Jessup, MD, associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of Cardiology and medical director of the Penn Medicine Heart and Vascular Center, shares her thoughts on a variety of topics - from treatment barriers to advice to other physicians.
    Read more
     
  • April 9, 2015
    Comparing Immunotherapy to Other Cancer Weapons

    A Philadelphia Inquirer story examines progress in various types of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. "We have tried to learn from the early days of gene therapy and avoid the hype," said Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in Abramson Cancer Center. "What I say in general is, it's the early days, so we don't know everything. We need to have decades of observations. But so far, the toxicity [of immunotherapy] has been less" than conventional oncology weapons.
    Read more
     
  • April 8, 2015
    Penn Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center Team Continues Progress in Investigational Gene Therapy for Blood Cancers

    The University of Pennsylvania research team behind pioneering studies of an investigational personalized cellular therapy for blood cancers has announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued several new patents on technologies related to this therapy, known as CTL019. "We are proud to have successfully treated patients with advanced leukemia and lymphoma and to continue refining this therapy and developing new CARs to treat other types of cancers." said Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read more
     
  • April 8, 2015
    Breast vs. Ovarian Cancer Risks Vary for Women with Different Gene Mutations, Penn Study Finds

    In continuing coverage, WHYY radio reported on a new study from Penn researchers which shows that the type and location of BRCA mutation helps determine whether women are more likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer. "It doesn't mean you won't get breast cancer or you won't get ovarian cancer," said senior author Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, associate professor of Medicine and director of Genetics in the Basser Center for BRCA and chief oncogenomics physician in the Abramson Cancer Center. "There's just some relative differences depending on where the mutation is." Lead author Timothy Rebbect, PhD, associate professor of Population Sciences in the Abramson Cancer Center, was quoted in outlets across the nation, including Reuters Health, Health Day, and NBC News.
    Read more
     
  • April 1, 2015
    Gene Therapy

    Valder Arruda, MD, PhD and Julie Crudele of CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine have produced a mutant protein with high blood-clotting power to treat hemophilia in dogs.
    Read more
     
  • March 30, 2015
    Ken Burns Cancer Documentary of PBS to Focus on Penn Immunotherapy Advance

    A three-part PBS film "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies," presented by Ken Burns, will feature the story of the first pediatric patient to receive Penn's modified T cell therapy for leukemia. Carl June, MD, a professor in the department of Pathology and Laboratoy Medicine and director of Translational Research in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, and Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a professor of Pediatrics and director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, are featured in the film, along with Emily Whitehead and her parents, Tom and Kari Whitehead. Multiple  news outlets covered Penn's role in the fil, which ends with an examination of promising Immunotherapies.  The film, which is based on the Pullitzer Prize-winning book, "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer." will air on PBS affiliates across the United States from 9-11 pm for three consecutive evenings, beginning tonight. Emily Whitehead's story appears in the film's final night, April 1.
    Read more
     
  • March 27, 2015
    Gene Counselors Expect Resurgence of 'Jolie Effect'

    In continuing coverage of Angelia Jolie Pits's decision to publicly discuss preventive measures taken to reduce the risk of cancers associated with BRCA mutations, Nature reports on the state of genetic testing. Thousands of possible mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes elevate a woman's risk of deloping cancer, but it is impossible to say whether many of these mutaions predispose someone to cancer, because researchers have not seen them enough to know their effects with statistical certainty. "As more and more people are tested, and you identify more and more people with a certain variant, it can go from being a variant of unknown significance to a benign variant, it can grow from being a variant of unknown significance to a benign variant," says Katherine Nathanson, MD associate professor of Medicine and director of Genetics at the Basser Research Center for BRCA in the Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read more
     
  • March 24, 2015
    Penn Immunology Program Ranks High in the US News List

    The Immunology Graduate Group is #6 again this year in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of Best Graduate Schools. According to U.S. News, Penn is one of "the best science schools for immunology/infectious disease." See the U.S. News & World Report website for a list of programs.
    Read more
     
  • March 24, 2015
    Right Now at Penn: Finding a Cure for Cancer

    Researchers like Carl June, MD of the Perelman School of Medicine are investigating a potential cancer cure by using manipulated virus cells to achieve remission.
    Read more
     
  • March 23, 2015
    Honor Recipient

    Carl June, MD of Medicine, an expert on cancer and HIV, has been awarded the 2015 Paul Ehrilich and Ludwig Darmstaedter for his work in immunotherapy.
    Read more
     
  • March 18, 2015
    Experimental Therapy Trains Immune Cells to Hunt and Kill Blood Cancers

    A PBS NewsHour segment traces the story of Penn Medicine's work developing and testing an experimental personalized cellular therapy for cancer, highlighting both promising results in clinical trials for patients with blood cancers and the potential of the therapy in a newly launched trial for patients with brain cancer. Members of the research team including Carl June, MD, David Porter, MD, Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, and Donald O'Rourke, MD are quoted in the story, along with a leukemia patient who is in remission after receiving the therapy last year.
    Read more
     
  • March 17, 2015
    Giving Hope

    A study led by Medicine's Andy Minn, MD, PhD suggests that radiation along with two immunotherapies may be more effective in helping shrink metastatic melanoma tumors.
    Read more
     
  • March 10, 2015
    Radiation Plus Immunotherapy Combo Revs up Immune System to Better Attack Metastatic Melanoma, Penn Study Suggests

    Treating metastatic melanoma with a triple threat - including radiation therapy and two immunotherapies that target the CTLA4 and PD-1 pathways - could elicit an optimal response in more patients, one that will boost the immune system's attack on the disease, suggests a new study from a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center published today in Nature.  The study was led by authors Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Radiation Onclolgy, Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research, Amit Maity, MD, PhD, professor of Radiation and Oncology, E. John Wherry, PhD, professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lynn M. Schuchter, MD chief of Hematology/Oncology at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read more
     
  • March 3, 2015
    Two Strains of HIV Cut Vastly Different Paths

    Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) have originated in western lowland gorillas, according to an international team of scientists. They conducted a comprehensive survey of simian immunodeficiency viral infection in African gorillas, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  Coauthor Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology, was quoted in several outlets, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
    Read more
     
  • March 2, 2015
    Primate Lineage

    Two of the four groups of human AIDS viruses originated in western lowland African gorillas, according to research by Beatrice Hahn, MD of the Perelman School of Medicine.
    Read more
     
  • March 2, 2015
    Killing Cancer

    A VICE special report on efforts to treat cancer using the power of viruses and other immunotherapeutic approaches profiled Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a professor of Pediatrics and director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Two pediatric patients who participated in the clinical trials of the Penn-developed cellular therapy known as CRL019 were also featured in the show.
    Read more
     
  • February 20, 2015
    Biomarker Levels Associated with IRIS in Patients with HIV, TB

    Reporting in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Shruthi Ravimohan, PhD, a research associate in the division of Infectious Diseases, and Gregory P. Bisson, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor in the division of Infectious Diseases and a senior scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, evaluated over 200 patients in Botswana before and after they began antiretroviral therapy, and found several immune biomarkers that may help better stratify patients, and guide future research and treatments before HIV treatment begins.
    Read more
     
  • February 17, 2015
    NIH researchers reveal link between powerful gene regulatory elements and autoimmune diseases

    Investigators with the National Institutes of Health have discovered the genomic switches of a blood cell key to regulating the human immune system. The findings, published in Nature today, open the door to new research and development in drugs and personalized medicine to help those with autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The lead author, Golnaz Vahedi, Ph.D., will be joining the Perelman School of Medicine in May 2015 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics.
    Read more
     
  • February 16, 2015
    Cancer Gene Therapy Moves Ahead

    Fox News segment details progress in Penn's gene therapy trials for blood cancers, including the story of a patient who was one of the first participants in studies to test this new approach, who remains cancer-free more than four years later. One of the trial's leaders, David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in the story, and in a San Diego Union Tribune article recapping the results of the trials so far.
    Read more
     
  • February 16, 2015
    The Future of Precision Medicine

    David Roth, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Personalized Diagnostics and chair of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, explained to the audience of SiriusXM's "POTUS" radio show that precision medicine helps diagnose individuals more accurately.  Doctors are able to pinpoint a particular kind of illness a patient has and treat it more effectively, instead of a process of trial and error.
    Read more
     
  • February 16, 2015
    Physician Turned Patient Finds Low Fat Good for His Heart

    A Philadelphia Inquirer article asks: Can a modified vegan diet -- heavy of tofu, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low on saturated and trans fats -- significantly help with heart disease?  Daniel Rader, MD director of the Preventative Cardiovascular Program, says that avoiding saturated and trans fats is the most important dietary change one can make to reduce the risk of heart disease.
    Read more
     
  • February 10, 2015
    Is Your Heart Older Than You Are?

    A Prevention magazine article about improving your "heart age" includes advice from Daniel Rader, MD, director of the Preventative Cardiovascular Program.  He says that for someone with a family history of heart disease, in addition to leading a healthy lifestyle, taking a statin can further reduce the risk of a heart attack.
    Read more
     
  • February 9, 2015
    New Biomarker

    A somatic gene mutation is a potential molecular marker for rare adrenal tumors, according to research by Katherine Nathanson and Lauren Fisbein of Medicine.
    Read more
     
  • February 9, 2015
    Inflammation Application: How Tumor-Causing Cells are Recruited in Cancers Linked to Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

    Investigators including, Dmitry Gabrilovich, MD, PhD have demonstrated what is happening at a cellular level that allows for chronic inflammation to cause a variety of cancers; inflammatory conditions are associated with a specific phenotype of myeloid cells called immature granulocytic cells, they report.
    Read more
     
  • February 9, 2015
    Immune Biomarkers Help Predict Early Death, Complications in HIV Patients with TB, Penn Study Finds

    Doctors treating patients battling both HIV and tuberculosis (TB) - many of whom live in Africa are faced with the decision when to start those patients on entrepreneurial therapy (ART) while they are being treated with antibiotics for active TB disease.  Reporting in a new study published online this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers under the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, including Shruthl Ravimohan, PhD, a research associate in the division of Infectious Disease, and Gregory P. Bisson, MD, MSCE an Assistant Professor in the division of Infectious Diseases, have identified immune biomarkers in these patients before they begin ART.
    Read more
     
  • February 6, 2015
    Mosquitoes Ramp Up Immune Defenses After Sucking Blood, Penn Vet Researcher Finds

    University of Pennsylvania and Imperial College London researchers learned in a new study that after ingesting a meal of blood, mosquitoes ramp up production of immune system proteins that help fight off the parasites that blood might contain.  "This appears to be a new mechanism by which the mosquito is anticipating a parasite infection," said Michael Povelones, an assistant professor in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine, who coauthored the study.  A greater understanding of how mosquitoes naturally fight off infection could offer a strategy for preventing humans from getting infected with those same pathogens.
    Read more
     
  • January 29, 2015
    Sugar Switch

    Slow-healing wounds are a serious problem for diabetics.  A study led by Dental Medicine's Dana Graves has identified a molecule that may be responsible.
    Read more
     
  • January 27, 2015
    Penn Study Reveals Possible Therapeutic Target for Common, but Mysterious Brain Blood Vessel Disorder
     

    Cardiovascular scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have studied a pathway in heart development to discover an important set of molecular signals, triggered by cerebral cavernous malformation-linked gene defects that potentially could be targeted to treat the disorder. “We hope that these findings will lead to a better understanding of the origins of CCM, and thus to treatment possibilities,” says Mark L. Kahn, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and senior author of the new study, published in Developmental Cell.
    Read More

  • January 26, 2015
    Honor Recipient

    For his work in cancer biology, Xianxin Hua of Medicine has been awarded a Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award and $100,000 for two years to support his research.
    Read More
     
  • January 23, 2015
    Joint Infections

    Based on a review led by Dental Medicine professor Thomas Sollecito, the ADA issued a guideline regarding the use of antibiotics before dental procedures. 
    Read More
     
  • January 21, 2015
    Mutated ATRX Gene Linked to Brain and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors is Potential Biomarker for Rare Adrenal Tumors Too

    A somatic mutation in the ATRX gene recently demonstrating potential as a molecular marker for aggressive brain tumors could also serve as a biomarker for rare neuroendocrine tumors, according to a new Penn Medicine study in Nature Communications, reports Endocrine Today. “We have identified, for the first time, somatic ATRX mutations in pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas,” said Katherine Nathanson, MD, an associate professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Chief Oncogenomics Physician for the Abramson Cancer Center. The mutation could not only serve as that biomarker for metastatic disease, but also a potential therapeutic drug target in the future
    Read More

  • December 22, 2014
    Inovio Begins Human Testing of Cancer Therapy

    Philadelphia Business Journal blog post covered a newly-opened phase I clinical trial using hTERT DNA immunotherapy. The drug will be tested in adults with breast, lung, or pancreatic cancer at high risk of relapse after surgery and other cancer treatments.  The ultimate goal is to reduce the risk of relapse in these patients. "The next great wave of oncology advancements will be treatments which empower the patient's own immune system to seek and destroy cancer," said principal investigator, Robert Vonderheide, MD, PhD, the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research in the Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read More 

  • December 17, 2014
    Can AIDS be Cured?

    A feature in The New Yorker on HIV/AIDS referenced a Penn Medicine study published in New England Journal of Medicine in March on HIV gene therapy and CCR5, a rare mutation that provides a natural resistance to the virus. In that study, Carl H. June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of translational research at the Abramson Cancer Center, and colleagues successfully genetically engineered the immune cells of 12 HIV positive patients to resist infection, and decreased the viral loads of some patients taken off antiretroviral drug therapy entirely.
    Read More 

  • November 18, 2014
    Evading the Immune System

    Lynn Wang from Carry the One Radio The Science Podcast in San Francisco spoke with Dr. John Wherry about evading the immune system. "Although our immune system s amazing at what it does, there are complex cases where it fails us. Everyday, our bodies fight off hordes of bacteria and viruses that cause disease. When fighting cancer, our bodies even face their own cells that have gone rogue.  However, certain pathogens and cancers manage to circumvent our immune system."
    Listen to the Podcast Here 
     
  • November 13, 2014
    How Immune Cells Become Cancer Hunters

    News outlets across the U.S. and in the UK covered the story of an Abramson Cancer Center patient who participated in a Penn clinical trial in which his own immune cells were modified to target and attack his leukemia. Marshall Jensen, a 30-year-old musician, husband and father recently returned to his Utah hometown in remission after spending several months in Philadelphia receiving treatment. His cancer had come back several times previously despite chemotherapy drugs and bone marrow transplants. “’We were calling it our Hail Mary pass,’” he said of the Penn trial. 'It felt right. … We didn't know how we were going to get out there, what we were going to do, but it worked. By God's grace I was able to come back.” The Penn research team is led by Carl June, MD, and Jensen was treated by David Porter, MD, and Noelle Frey, MD.
    Read More   
    Watch Video
     
     
  • November 7, 2014
    Medicine's Future

    "BBC Horizons" points to Dental Medicine's Henry Daniell and Physics' Charlie Johnson as innovators whose work may "change the world as we know it."
    Watch the video 
     
  • November 6, 2014
    HIV Gene Therapy: From Bench to Bedside

    Ivanhoe reports on a clinical trial from Penn Medicine researchers who engineered the immune cells of 12 HIV positive patients to resist infection. The phase I study, led by Carl June, MD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Bruce L. Levine, PhD, associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Pablo Tebas, MD, professor of Medicine in the division of Infectious Diseases, is the first successful clinical test of any gene editing approach in humans. CBS affiliates in Huntsville, AL., Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, picked up the story. The clinical trial was also referenced in a MIT Technology article.
    Read More
    CBS Segment 

     
  • October 21, 2014
    Path to a Cure

    A new form of gene therapy for boys with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome (SCID-X1), a life threatening condition also known as “bubble boy” disease, appears to be both safe and effective, according to a study by Frederic Bushman of the Perelman School of Medicine. 
    Read More
     
  • October 16, 2014
    T Cell Therapy Puts Leukemia Patients in Extended Remission
     

    Ninety percent of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia went into remission after participating in trials of a personalized cellular therapy,  CTL019, in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, according to new study published today by a Perelman School of Medicine research team in the New England Journal of Medicine. The team’s results, detailed in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Reuters, Bloomberg News, CBS3 and other news outlets, represent an unprecedented success in the fight against this type of cancer, in a group of patients whose diseases had defied conventional treatments. “With the initial patients, we didn't know if it was just lucky,” the study team’s leader, Carl H. June, MD a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, told the New York Times. “It turns out it’s reproducible.”Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a professor of Pediatrics and director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at CHOP Noelle Frey, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor of Medicine in the Abramson Cancer Center, and David Porter, MD, a professor of Medicine and director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, are also quoted in news coverage of the new study.
    Read More

  • October 13, 2014
    Taubman Institute Awards Annual $100,000 Research Grant

    The University of Michigan's A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute presented its $100,000 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translation Medical Science Friday to Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in Penn's department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He was honored for his work developing a personalized cellular therapy for leukemia, in which a patient's own immune cells are engineered to fight their cancer.
    Read More
     
  • October 10, 2014
    Why our Foundation Takes on Grand Challenges

    George Shaw, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Microbiology, is featured in a video on Bill Gates' personal blog, "Gatesnotes." The post marks the 10th anniversary of Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program and the general concept of catalytic philanthropy. Shaw's research on HIV is covered, which has received a Grand Challenge grant. 
    Read More 
     
  • September 19, 2014
    A Closer Look

    A study led by Svetlana Fayngerts adn Youhai Chen of Medicine shows that lipid chemical messengers may be effetcive in treating cancer and inflammatory disorders. 
    Read More 
     
  • September 18, 2014
    Exercise Boosts Tumor-fighting Ability of CHemotherapy, Penn Team Finds

    Nursing's Joseph Libonati and Medicine’s Sandra Ryeom found that pairing exercise with chemotherapy made cancer drugs more effective at shrinking tumors in mice.
    Read More 

  • September 8, 2014
    Perelman School of Medicine Cancer Research Shines on Stand up to Cancer Telethon

    Friday night's Stand Up To Cancer telethon - carried on a record 31 TV networks and live-streamed on Hulu and Yahoo - featured interviews with Perelman School of Medicine faculty members Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a professor of Pediatrics and director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, discussing advances in personalized immunotherapy that have led to unprecedented outcomes for patients with leukemia. The SU2C-St. Baldrick's Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, which aims to expand this type of approach to other cancers, is co-led by Perelman School of Medicine faculty members at CHOP.
    Watch the Videos- SU2C segment #1 and SU2C segment #2 

  • September 5, 2014
    Plant-based Research at Penn Prevents Complication of Hemophilia Treatment in Mice

    Using his plant-based drug delivery system, Henry Daniell of Dental Medicine led a study in mice that successfully prevented a common complication of hemophilia treatment.
    Read More

  • July 24, 2014
    Germ Therapy

    Ronald Collman and Elizabeth Grice are among Medicine faculty integrating microbiomics into their work to see how bacteria, viruses and fungi help keep people healthy. 
    Read More 
     
  • July 18, 2014
    Progress on HIV/AIDS

    Ian Frank, MD, professor in the division of Infectious Diseases and director of Anti-Retroviral Clinical Research in the Penn Center for AIDS Research, was a guest on WHYY's "Radio Times" with Marty Moss-Coane for a show on the progress of HIV/AIDS treatment and research. Where do we stand in the battle against the epidemic? Frank was joined by AIDS activists for a roundtable discussion—everything from the Mississippi baby to the recent loss of the AIDS researchers on the downed Malaysian flight was tackled. “This is a huge tragedy for everyone that lost their lives and for their families and friends,” said Frank. “This is a huge blow to the HIV community,” he added.
    Listen to the audio

  • July 13, 2014
    As pancreas cancer threat grows, so do strategies

    A war on pancreas cancer is underway right here at the Abramson Cancer Center. A story in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer featured the work of Jeffrey Drebin, MD, chair of Surgery and the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery, and Robert Vonderheide, MD, the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research in the ACC. Drebin and Vonderheide—both co-leads on Stand up to Cancer Dream Teams—are investigating new targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and more, to better the understand and treat the disease, which is projected to become this country's second-leading cancer killer. "We absolutely need to figure it out," said Vonderheide. "It's a medical emergency." Ongoing studies at the ACC have shed light on tumor biology and shown success with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. "We're not declaring victory,” Drebin told the Inquirer. “We're declaring progress.”.
    Read More

  • July 9, 2014
    FDA Designates Penn's Leukemia Treatment as "BreakthroughTherapy"

    In continuing coverage, WHYY radio talked to David Porter, MD, the Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, about the recent FDA "Breakthrough Therapy" designation awarded to Penn's immunotherapy to treat relapsed and refractory adult and pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  The designation--a first for a personalized cellular therapy to treat cancer-- should help expedite the review and approval process. "It allows us to work more collaboratively with the FDA so that the trials can be done efficiently so there can be proper and early oversight," Porter said. "Hopefully, it will be on a more rapid path to approval in the future."
    Read More

  • July 7, 2014
    Penn's Imunotherapy for Leukemia Receives FDA's Breakthrough Designation

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s personalized immunotherapy—known as CTL019—its Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the treatment of relapsed and refractory adult and pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), reports the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Such a designation expedites the development and review of new medicines that treat serious or life-threatening conditions. “Receiving the FDA’s Breakthrough Designation is an essential step in our work with Novartis to expand this therapy to patients across the world who desperately need new options to help them fight this disease,” said Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center. CTL019 is the first personalized cellular therapy for the treatment of cancer to receive this important classification. The announcement was also covered by Agence France-Presse, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Fierce Biotech.
    Read More

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FY 2014

  • June 30, 2014
    Lasser and Drones: June at Penn Medicine, in Photos
     

    The University of Pennsylvania campus largely falls silent in the summer months, but Penn Medicine keeps on truckin'. In fact, the month of June featured two of my favorite photography assignments thus far: lasers and drones.

    First up, we have E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology, and his Becton Dickenson LSR II flow cytometer. If you have no idea what that means, you're not alone — so Wherry was kind enough to explain it:

    "This instrument allows us to assess up to 20 parameters simultaneously at a single cell level with an amazing rate of up to 20,000 cells/second," he wrote in an e-mail. "As a result we can perform detailed profiling of the function of immune cells in different disease states."

    Long story short, it enables researchers to determine which therapies are working and why a given therapy is effective or ineffective. This ultimately helps us develop better therapies and determine which patients will respond to a given treatment.

    On top of that, it looks really cool. Wherry popped the hood on it and let me take a few shots. You can see them — and Wherry — in the slideshow at the bottom of this post.
    Read more and see the slideshow 

  • June 30, 2014
    Penn Immunologist to Co-direct $12 Million Grant to Study Hepatitis
     

    John Wherry, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are co-directing a $12 million grant to study immune responses in people who have been effectively cured of hepatitis C viral infection with new, high-potency antiviral drugs.  This grant is part of the Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology program, administered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
    Read More

  • June 19, 2014
    Outstanding New Investigator Award
     

    IFI investigator, Daniel J. Powell Jr. Ph.D., has been selected by the Board of Directors from the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) for a 2014 Outstanding New Investigator Award. Dr. Powell was selected from a competitive field of nominations based upon his significant contributions to the field of gene and cell therapy. The award ceremony and presentation session was held during the 17th Annual Meeting in Washington DC on May 23 rd , 2014, and was attended by thousands of meeting participants. Below is a summary from his award presentation:

    The Powell Lab is developing innovative immunotherapy strategies built upon clinical observations and studies in basic T cell biology. Adoptive T cell therapy using naturally-occurring tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) or peripheral blood T cells genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can mediate comprehensive cancer elimination in patients, provided that highly avid, tumor antigen-specific T cells with the ability to proliferate and persist after infusion can be identified. We recently overcame one obstacle to widespread TIL therapy by showing that naturally-occurring tumor-reactive T cells in various cancers can be identified by their cell surface expression of the TNFR superfamily receptor, CD137, demonstrating a role for CD137 in the immunobiology of cancer. To instill T cells with enhanced ability to persist after infusion, we recently applied CAR technology as a tool to test the impact of various costimulatory signals on human CAR T cell survival following antigen encounter in vivo, and discovered a functional role for CD27 in human T cell memory formation. We also devised a novel dual CAR T cell approach where the TCR signal is dissociated from costimulatory signals in two independent CARs of distinct antigen specificity, thus delivering tumor-focused activity while comparatively sparing normal healthy tissues expressing a low level of single antigen. Lastly, to develop widespread T cell therapy, we pioneered a universal immune receptor approach that is adaptable in antigen specificity, allowing for highly personalized T cell generation based upon the repertoire of antigens expressed by each individual’s cancer cells. These strategies build on the early success of adoptive immunotherapy by addressing significant hurdles to otherwise safe and effective T cell therapy.
    Read More 

  • June 2, 2014
    Check Up: Chronic Inflammation's Sourge Effect

    The Philadlephia Inquirer covered by E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Insitute for Immunology and postdoctoral fellow Erietta Stelekati, PhD, explaining why the immune system is less capable of developing immunity to diseases when it is fighting a background 'bystander' infection. The researchers fingers a key culpirt in these breakdowns of the immune system: chronic inflammation.  They explain how long-term inflammation from one infeciton impairs the ability of infection-fighting T cells to form memories of any additional invaders - thereby hampering the immune system's ability to recognize and attache those invaders on future occasions.
    Read More
  • May 15, 2014
    "Bystander" Chronic Infections Thwart Development of Immune Cell Memory, Penn Study Finds

    A team from the Perelman School of Medicine, led by E. John Wherry, director of the Insitute for Immunology, found that chronic bystander viral or parasitic infections - which are models for human infections like hepatitis, malaria, and parasitic worms - impaired the development of memory T cells in mouse models of long-term infection. The effect of bystander infections also extended beyond mice. The researchers generated signatures of transcribed genes of cytomegalovirus-specific T cells from people with chronic hepatitis C infection and helarhy controls. The gene-expression profiles of these two groups showed a clear impact of bystander chronic infection on T cells, including a deiffernce in expressio of many key T-cell memory related genes.
    Read More 
  • May 5, 2014
    Immune Cells Outmart Bacterial Infection by Dying, Penn Vet Study Shows
    A new study led by Igor Brodsky, an Assitant Professor of Pathobiology at Penn Vet, has painted a clearer picture of the delicate arms race between the human immune system and a pathogen that seeks to infect and kill human cells. The research explores the strategies by which the bacterial pathogen Yersinia, responsible for causing plague and gastrointestinal infections, tries to outsmart immune cell responses and looks at the tactivs used by the immune system to fight back. 
    Read More
  • April 29, 2014
    Healing the Future

    David Porter, MD, a professor of Medicine and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a CNN feature detailing 10 recent medical advances that are saving lives in new ways, including an ACC team's work modigying cancer patients' own immune cells to attack their cancer.  "This is absolutely one of the more exciting advanes I've seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years," Porter says. "We've entered into a whole new realm of medicine."
    Read More 
  • April 10, 2014
    Growing Plants to Save Lives

    Tucked behind old factory buildings on Penn's South Bank campus stands a gleaming greenhouse. The $2 million structure, completed late last year, is state-of-the-art. The greenhouse is the domain of Henry Daniell, a professor in the departments of Biochemistry and pathology at Penn Dentaland director of translational research. Daniell joined Penn's faculty last year and has been working diligently to see his research move from the lab to the clinic. His life's work centers on a unique means of delivering drugs and vaccinations to the human body. Instead of relying upon sterile injections to ferry the therapeutic protein of interest to the intended tissue, Daniell has used a humbler vehicle: lettuce leaves.
    Read More 
  • April 7, 2014
    Penn Medicine Physician to Co-Lead Stand Up to Cancer "Dream Team" to Fight Pancreatic Cancer


    IFI Faculty Member and Cancer Immunology Program Leader, Robert Vonderheide will be a co-leader on the recently announced Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team.  The new effort, titled “Transforming Pancreatic Cancer to a Treatable Disease,” was announced here today by SU2C and The Lustgarten Foundation, along with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C’s Scientific Partner, at a press event during the AACR Annual Meeting 2014 Armed with $8 million in funding over the course of three years, Dr. Vonderheide and investigators from Penn’ Abramson Cancer Center and several other institutions will work together to develop new therapies to harness patients’ own immune cells to treat pancreatic cancer.
    Read More

  • April 1, 2014
    Commander of an Immune Flotilla


    An article in The Scientist profiles Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center. The article traces his career from his years as a Naval physician-scientist specializing in HIV to his recent success leading the Penn research team that has demonstrated success using engineered versions of patients' own immune cells to combat their blood cancers. The article also notes his longtime collaborations with Bruce Levine, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Cell and Vaccine Production Facility, and David Porter, MD, a professor of Medicine and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center.
    Read More

  • March 17, 2014
    Penn Immunology Program Ranks High in the US News List
     

    The Immunology Graduate Group is #6 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of Best Graduate Schools. According to U.S. News, Penn is one of "the best science schools for immunology/infectious disease." See the U.S. News & World Report website for a list of programs.
    Read More

  • January 14, 2014
    Cancer Suppressor Gene Links Metabolism with Cellular Aging
     

    A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine has identified a class of p53 target genes and regulatory molecules that represent more promising therapeutic candidates.  As Xiaolu Yagn, PhD Professor of Cancer Biology and his team describe in an advance online Nature publication, p53 participates in a molecular feedback circuit with malic enzymes, thereby showing that p53 activity is also involved in regulating metabolism.
    Read More

  • January 13, 2014
    Wistar to Launch Largest Randomized Trial Aiming for an HIV Cure by Diminishing Viral Reservoir Beyond Current Therapies


    A multi-institutional research team led by Luis Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., a professor at The Wistar Institute and director of Wistar's HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory, has received a four-year, $6.2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Instiuttes of Health to hold a trial of a new therapeutic strategy that has shown strong signs that it can diminish the amount of persistent HIV-1 virus residing in the cells of people with HIV/AIDS.  While current therapies for HIV/AIDS hold the HIV-1 virus at bay, they do not reduce the amountof virus within patients,which is a necessary first step toward a cure.
    Read More

  • November 22, 2013
    Paths Not Taken: Notch Signaling Pahways Keep Immature T Cells on The Right Track
     

    The lab of Avinash Bhandoola, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, has studied the origins of T cells for many years. One protein called Notch, which has well-known roles in the development of multiple tissues, plays an essential role in triggering T-cell development. With graduate student Ellen DeObaldia, Bhandoola describes in Nature Immunology how Notch signaling induces gene expression of genes that promote the maturation of T cells and discourage alternative cell fates.  Deficiency of the Notch target gene Hes1 in blood stem cells results in extremely low T-cell numbers, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Keeping in mind that Notch signaling gone awry induces leukemia, De Obaldia notes that “understanding the Notch pathway on a molecular level can shed light on how normal cells are transformed in the context of cancer.”.
    Read More

  • October 21, 2013
    Institute of Medicine Elects IFI Faculty Member

    Seven professors from the Perelman School of Medicine, including IFI faculty member Dr. George Shaw, have been elected members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the nation's highest honors in biomedicine. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service on IOM committees, boards, and other activities. George M. Shaw, M.D., Ph.D., is professor of Medicine and Microbiology. His investigative work focuses on the transmission and immunopathogenesis of HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus (HCV), human pathogens that infect more than 200 million individuals worldwide. Shaw is recognized for having developed the first molecular clones of HIV-1, which led to the development of antibody and nucleic acid tests to protect the blood supply and diagnose and monitor HIV-1 infections.
    Read More 
  • September 3, 2013
    Delivering Drugs with Plants, Penn's Henry Daniell Aims to Save Lives
     

    An admonishment to eat your greens may take on a whole new meaning if Henry Daniell, who recently joined the faculty of the Penn Dental Medicine, has anything to do with it. His outside-the-box thinking has turned lettuce leaves into drug-delivery systems, with results that have the potential to make disease treatment and prevention affordable to a global population. Now at Penn, Daniell is working to take his plant-based medicine platform from the lab to the clinic, and to begin saving lives.
    Read More

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