Baylor University Medical Center, Texas Oncology Introduce Car-T Therapy

Baylor University Medical Center and Texas Oncology are the first in North Texas to offer one of the two FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapies. The specific treatment, known as Yescarta, is geared toward diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell therapy) is a cancer treatment in which a patient’s immune cells are removed from the body, genetically re-engineered, and then put back into the body so that they can attack the cancer. At BUMC, it will be used on adult patients who have not responded to other treatments or who have relapsed after two other kinds of treatment,… Full Story

UT Southwestern Publishes Results of Pediatric Cancer Treatment Trial

Researchers with UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center found during a recent trial that Larotrectinib, a cancer-treatment drug targeting a specific gene fusion occurring in certain types of cancerous tumors, was 93% effective in treating pediatric cancer cases. The report, published in The Lancet Oncology, covered 24 cases between Dec 21, 2015, and April 13, 2017, that involved a specific gene fusion wherein tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fuses with another gene inside the cancer cell, causing uncontrolled TRK growth. The subjects underwent trials with Larotrectinib. Although TRK fusion occurs in a small amount of common adult cancers, higher… Full Story

A Health Reporter Has a Tale of a Mystery Fire Alarm During a Theranos-related Reporting Trip

About a year before the Wall Street Journal started a firestorm for then-biotech darling Theranos, one reporter had an experience with the company—which has a Dallas tie through real estate developer Craig Hall, who is an investor—that might’ve warned of the troubles ahead. Kaiser Health News‘ Jenny Gold has a piece out this week about her run in with the company in late 2014, while reporting a story for NPR. After meeting Theranos’ press representatives at Theranos-partner Walgreens, the reps became nervous about the type of questions Gold was asking patients. Gold was curious as to why they all seemed to… Full Story

UTSW Researcher Wins Harrington Prize for Discovering Innovative Way to Reduce Cholesterol

A UT Southwestern Medical Center geneticist discovered a link between a gene mutation and low levels of cholesterol, leading to the development of new drugs to combat unhealthy cholesterol levels. This week, that geneticist, Dr. Helen Hobbs, was honored with the fifth-annual Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine, becoming the first woman to win the award. The Harrington Award is a collaboration by The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Cleveland-based Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. It goes to physician-scientists who’ve moved science forward with specific achievements that demonstrate innovation, creativity and potential for… Full Story

UTA and UNT Health Science Center To Create the North Texas Genome Center

UT Arlington and the University of North Texas Health Science Center will bring high-powered gene processing capabilities to North Texas, as they partner on a new biomedical facility that will house some of the most advanced gene sequencing machines in the world. The facility, called the North Texas Genome Center, will focus on genome sequencing’s potential within the budding field of precision health, which puts a focus on a patient’s genetic makeup to provide new solutions to medical problems. The NTGC’s centerpieces are five NovaSeq6000 gene sequencers, the top-of-the-line model from Illumina Inc, a San Diego company specializing in gene… Full Story

How a Dallas Researcher Is Helping Bring A Specialized Radiation Treatment to the Mainstream

Two decades ago, targeting tumors with highly potent doses of radiation involved a technique reserved for the brain, where doctors could use a halo to stabilize the organ and ensure accuracy. But starting in the late 1990s, slow-rolling progress brought that therapy to the body, where radiation had traditionally been delivered with lower potency and over a longer period of time. A Dallas physician has played a key role in facilitating the evolution. Dr. Robert Timmerman, a professor of radiation oncology and neurological surgery with UT Southwestern Medical Center, was one of the first researchers in the world to bring… Full Story

Cancer Specialist Becomes CAR-T Success Story

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s newsroom has a story that’s worthy of your breakfast- or lunch-time reading. A UT Southwestern Professor of Cell Biology named Dr. Woodring Wright, who’d spent decades researching cancer, became the subject when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. After chemo was ineffective and as Wright was running out of options, he caught wind of an early CAR-T therapy (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy) trial. A couple people dropped out of the trial ahead of him, so Wright became the first person in the University of Pennsylvania trial to get the CAR-T treatment, wherein patients receive re-engineered versions… Full Story

A Dallas-based Company Is Helping A Woman Communicate Via Brainwaves

Last spring, someone reached out to IBM on Twitter about using artificial intelligence to help a 29-year-old woman affected by the neurological disorder Rett syndrome. The woman, named Boo, needed help communicating with the outside world. IBM’s Tim Duncan reached out to Darwin Ecosystem founder and former IBM research and development leader Thierry Hubert, and “The Cognitive Story” was born. Less than a year later, Darwin Ecosystem, a Dallas-based big data analytics company, is a finalist for the 2018 South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Award for developing a machine that uses EEG brainwave monitoring to allow limited persons to communicate.… Full Story

UTA Researcher Gets $3.3 Million to Study Cardiovascular Disease, Including Gender’s Role

An assistant professor of kinesiology at the university of Texas at Arlington, Michael Nelson, has secured a five-year, $3.3 million grant to study the link between fat storage in the heart and cardiovascular disease. He’ll also look at how gender influences the development of cardiac dysfunction. The grant comes from the National Institutes of Health. Here’s Nelson and UTA with more about the genesis of the project: “You’re not supposed to store fat in the heart, but patients who suffer from obesity, diabetes or heart disease tend to store more fat in the heart,” Nelson said. “This excess fat is… Full Story

The State’s CPRIT Program Comes with Risk, But One of Its Top Dogs is Optimistic

Since the state of Texas put $3 billion behind the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) a decade ago, much of the news coming out has been less than flattering. After lawmakers questioned potential conflicts of interest at the program, state auditors discovered issues with regard to the way a small portion of the grants associated with the $3 billion fund were handed out. Not a good look, to be sure, but the taxpayers who’d originally backed the institute might have found it easier to move past the problems had the news been balanced by, say, the development of… Full Story