Feb. Medical Tipsheet from Cedars-Sinai: MS and Depression, Kidney Cancer Immunotherapy, More

Released: 20-Feb-2014 1:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Newswise — Following is a tipsheet of story ideas from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. To arrange interviews, please contact the individual listed.

Cedars-Sinai Clinical Trial Studies Vaccine Targeting Cancer Stem Cells in Brain Cancers
An early-phase clinical trial of an experimental vaccine that targets cancer stem cells in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumor, has been launched by researchers at Cedars-Sinai. Like normal stem cells, cancer stem cells have the ability to self-renew and generate new cells, but instead of producing healthy cells, they create cancer cells. In theory, if the cancer stem cells can be destroyed, a tumor may not be able to sustain itself, but if the cancer originators are not removed or destroyed, a tumor will continue to return despite the use of existing cancer-killing therapies.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Dormant Prostate Cancer Cells May be Reawakened by Factors Commonly Produced in Inflammatory Cells
Researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute discovered in pre-clinical models that dormant prostate cancer cells found in bone tissue can be reawakened, causing metastasis to other parts of the body. Understanding this mechanism of action may allow researchers to intervene prior to disease progression.
CONTACT: Cara Martinez, 310-423-7798; Email cara.martinez@cshs.org

Can a Protein Controlling Blood Pressure Enhance Immune Responses and Prevent Alzheimer’s?
Many people with high blood pressure are familiar with ACE inhibitors, drugs that widen blood vessels by limiting activity of ACE – angiotensin-converting enzyme – a naturally occurring protein found in tissues throughout the body. But high activity of the enzyme – in the right context, place and time – may be a good thing. A study conducted by Cedars-Sinai scientists found that genetically targeting certain immune blood cells to overproduce the enzyme broke down defective proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease and prevented cognitive decline in laboratory mice bred to model the disease.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Cedars-Sinai Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion Awarded LEED Gold Certification
The new home of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, neurosciences programs and stem cell research, the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, has been awarded LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, for its highly sustainable, energy-efficient design, construction and operation. The building, which opened in the summer of 2013, is one of only a handful of healthcare facilities nationwide to receive the LEED Gold level of certification. It was achieved by meeting or exceeding five strategic elements of sustainability, including energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, water efficiency, indoor environment quality and overall sustainability that minimizes the impact on ecosystems and natural resources.
CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email sally.stewart@cshs.org

Grant Supports Cedars-Sinai Study of Possible Links Between Air Pollution and Brain Cancer
Researchers at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai will conduct a study to determine if several potentially toxic compounds that exist in polluted air are capable of entering the brain from the bloodstream and causing brain cancer. The research is funded by a $1 million grant from the Brain & Lung Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Kidney Cancer Care Improves With Vaccine-Based Approach
The Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute has opened a novel Phase III, vaccine-based clinical trial aimed at providing kidney cancer patients long-term control of their disease. Survival outcomes for patients with renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, have improved significantly over the past decade due to research advances in personalized or “targeted” therapies designed to target an individual’s genetic makeup. To expedite these benefits, investigators are now looking to couple targeted therapies with vaccine-based approaches, which use a patient’s own immune system to fight disease and may have the potential to improve survival outcomes and overall quality of life.
CONTACT: Cara Martinez, 310-423-7798; Email cara.martinez@cshs.org

Director of Women’s Guild Lung Institute Awarded Stem Cell Grant to Study Treatment for Lung Disease
A Cedars-Sinai research team led by Paul W. Noble, MD, has been awarded $628,816 by California’s stem cell agency to develop a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly disease that destroys the lungs and damages other vital organs. The illness, which has no cure and few effective treatments, thickens and hardens lung tissue, leaving the organs badly scarred. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have great difficulty breathing and the chronic reduction in oxygen damages vital organs. The cause of the disease is not clearly understood and many people live only three to five years after diagnosis.
CONTACT: Laura Coverson, 310-423-5215; Email laura.coverson@cshs.org

Imaging Technique Shows Brain Anatomy Change in Women With Multiple Sclerosis, Depression
A multicenter research team led by Cedars-Sinai neurologist Nancy Sicotte, MD, an expert in multiple sclerosis and state-of-the-art imaging techniques, used a new, automated technique to identify shrinkage of a mood-regulating brain structure in a large sample of women with MS who also have a certain type of depression. In the study, women with MS and symptoms of “depressive affect” – such as depressed mood and loss of interest – were found to have reduced size of the right hippocampus. The left hippocampus remained unchanged, and other types of depression – such as vegetative depression, which can bring about extreme fatigue – did not correlate with hippocampal size reduction.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

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