Newswise — Following is a tipsheet of story ideas from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. To arrange interviews, please contact the individual listed.

Tumors ‘Light Up’ With New, Unique Imaging System Using Scorpion Venom Protein and a LaserResearchers at the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Department of Neurosurgery have developed a unique, compact, relatively inexpensive imaging device to “light up” malignant brain tumors and other cancers. The experimental system consists of a special camera designed and developed at Cedars-Sinai and a new, targeted imaging agent based on a synthetic version of a small protein – a peptide – found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion. CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email [email protected]

The Immune System’s Redesigned Role in Fighting Cancerous TumorsResearchers in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute eradicated solid tumors in laboratory mice using a novel combination of two targeted agents. These two synergistic therapies stimulate an immune response, ultimately allowing solid tumors to act as their own cancer-fighting vaccine. The study’s findings are the first to use these combined agents as an immune stimulator and may have the potential to kill cancerous cells in solid tumors, including some of the most aggressive cancers that form in the lung and pancreas. CONTACT: Cara Martinez, 310-423-7798; Email [email protected]

Study: Response to Emotional Stress May Be Linked to Some Women’s Heart Artery DysfunctionResearchers at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have found that emotional stressors – such as those provoking anger – may cause changes in the nervous system that controls heart rate and trigger a type of coronary artery dysfunction that occurs more frequently in women than men.CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email [email protected]

Detecting, Testing, Treating Rare Diseases: Technology Delivers New Era of PersonalizationA team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai – specialists in identifying and treating very rare diseases – used three innovative tools to detect a previously unknown gene mutation, test potential therapies in the lab, and initiate personalized drug treatment for a boy with a lifelong history of uncontrollable seizures that caused significant impact on his cognitive and social development.CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email [email protected]

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Sets New Standard for Most US Heart Transplants in a Year The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute has set a new standard for U.S. heart transplantation by completing 117 adult heart transplants and two adult heart-lung transplants, for a total of 119 adult heart transplants in a single year. CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email [email protected]

Variations in Eye Structure and Function May Reveal Features of Early-Stage Alzheimer’s DiseaseInvestigators at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute have discovered eye abnormalities that may help reveal features of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Using a novel laboratory rat model of Alzheimer’s disease and high-resolution imaging techniques, researchers correlated variations of the eye structure, to identify initial indicators of the disease. CONTACT: Cara Martinez, 310-423-7798; Email [email protected]

Prominent Cardiac Cell Biologist Jennifer Van Eyk, PhD, Joins Cedars-Sinai to Direct New Advanced Clinical Biosystems Research Institute Prominent proteomic and cardiac scientist Jennifer Van Eyk, PhD, has been named the inaugural director of Cedars-Sinai’s Advanced Clinical Biosystems Research Institute. Van Eyk also will lead basic research at Cedars-Sinai’s Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center aimed at unlocking the mysteries of gender differences in heart disease. CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email [email protected]

Research Study Takes Deeper Look at the Role of Gut Microbes in the Immune System New research suggests that gut microorganisms do not merely influence immune cell function, but also support the production of immune cells that form the first line of defense against infection. By understanding the mechanisms responsible for maintaining and replacing immune cells, researchers hope to one day develop targeted therapies to support and boost immune function in humans. CONTACT: Cara Martinez, 310-423-7798; Email [email protected]

Cedars-Sinai Designing ‘Operating Room of the Future’ to Streamline, Improve Trauma Care Cedars-Sinai has partnered with the U.S. military to design the “operating room of the future” that will enable emergency medical teams to respond more quickly and effectively to patients with life-threatening injuries. Under the project, called “OR 360,” research teams have reconfigured the operating room with movable walls and equipment for more flexible use, identified ways to eliminate disruptions during surgery, and developed an iPhone app that provides diagnostic information about blood pressure and other vital signs before patients arrive in the emergency room. CONTACT: Duke Helfand, 310-336-5914; Email [email protected]

$2.5 Million Defense Department Grant Funds Gene Therapy Study for Lou Gehrig’s Disease The Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute has received a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Defense to conduct animal studies that, if successful, could provide the basis for a clinical trial of a gene therapy product for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email [email protected]

Research Studies Highlight Advantages and Potential of Computer-Guided Spinal SurgeryIn a series of research studies, Cedars-Sinai spinal surgeons show that a new method of computer-guided spine surgery is beneficial for spinal reconstruction and for treating complex tumors and degenerative spine problems, resulting in fewer complications and better outcomes for patients.CONTACT: Duke Helfand, 310-336-5914; Email [email protected]