A New Formula For Reducing Drug Prices

Much of the increases in healthcare costs can be attributed to the rise in price of pharmaceuticals, and one reason pharmaceutical expenses are so high is because clinical trials are long, costly, and difficult to run. SMU and UTSW researcher Vishal Ahuja and his colleague from the University of Chicago John R. Birge hope to use statistics to change the way trials are performed, saving time, money, and improving outcomes for patients. Pharmaceutical companies have to run clinical trials to test new medicines, but they can take years with hundreds of patients, who are difficult to recruit and retain. According… Full Story

Researchers Identify Enzyme that Helps Lung Cancer Grow

Researchers at UT Southwestern have found an enzyme that removes lactate from lung cancer cells, promoting the cancer’s growth. Led by Dr. Kathryn O’Donnell, the research was published in the journal Cell Reports. The enzyme is called transmembrane serine protease 11B (TMPRSS11B), and scientists were able to suppress the enzyme through gene editing and RNA interference to reduce tumor growth in mice. “In this study, we found that the enzyme strongly promoted the growth of certain types of lung cancer cells. We uncovered a new mechanism that expands our understanding of how cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to provide energy for rapid… Full Story

A New Vaccine Could Bring Us One Step Closer to Treating Alzheimers

Scientists at UT Southwestern have created a vaccine that reduces the number of toxic proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The treatment avoids side effects caused by similar treatments, and the research may lead to a clinical trial. Nearly 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with that number expected to double by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no effective treatment for the disease, though treatments such as this are moving research closer. The new technique employs a DNA vaccine, where DNA is genetically engineered to produce a response to disease, which is applied… Full Story

Watch: Two UT Southwestern Scientists Discuss Their Award-Winning Research

Two UT Southwestern Scientists have been identified as up and comers by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas. Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, Professor at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at UT Southwestern, and Dr. Julie Pfeiffer, Professor of Microbiology at UT Southwestern will both receive the 2019 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award. The award honors early career researchers for their work in science, medicine, engineering, and technology innovation, and includes a $25,000 prize and an invitation to speak at their conference in January, where they will receive the award… Full Story

Local Researchers Identify Marker for Patients at Risk of Immunotherapy Side Effects

UT Southwestern researchers may have moved closer to identifying patients at greatest risk of side effects from immunotherapy treatments. Immunotherapy mobilizes the patient’s immune system to fight cancer, and researchers found that there are molecules called cytokines that signal the immune system to fire up to fight disease. If cytokines are low in a patient, that patient is more likely to develop immune-related side effects. The studies focused on a variety of cancer types and widely used immunotherapy drugs and were funded from a grant from the American Cancer Society. They will expand to multicenter clinical trials to look at… Full Story

UTSW Researchers One Step Closer to Stopping Disease Causing Thousands of Painful Tumors

Imagine having a condition that covers your body with thousands of small tumors. Not only are they disfiguring, but they itch, are painful, catch on your clothing, bleed, and can become infected. The only thing worse than the physical pain is the emotional distress of trying to hide them, if possible. The condition is called neurofibromatosis type 1, and occurs in one in 3,000 people. UT Southwestern researchers have created a model and identified a marker for the cell of origin for NF1 tumors, allowing them to learn more about how they form and possibly slow their growth. “Because of this model,… Full Story

The 2019 Breakthrough Prize Winner in Life Sciences is a Local Researcher

A UT Southwestern researcher is one of the recipients of the 2019 Breakthrough Prize, which awards achievements in the fields of physics, life sciences, and mathematics. UT Southwestern’s Zhijian “James” Chen, who also works for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was honored for his work in life sciences for discovering how DNA triggers immune and autoimmune responses from the interior of a cell. His research looks to improve the immune system’s defense against pathogens, malignant cells, and diseases such as lupus. Chen will win $3 million, which is one of the most generous science prizes in the world. Chen is the… Full Story

Join Us for D CEO’s Cancer-Focused Healthcare Panel Breakfast

Texas is 13th in the country in number of cancer deaths at 149 per 100,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and part of the reason Texas has such a high ranking despite being one of the most uninsured states in the country is the strength of the medical community and its ability to stay on the cutting age of cancer research and treatment. To dig deeper into these strengths, D CEO will host our second D CEO Healthcare Breakfast Panel Discussion to explore how our region is shaping cancer treatment. As Americans live longer and cancer becomes more prevalent… Full Story

UT Arlington Dedicates New Science, Engineering, and Research Facility

UT Arlington officials cut the ribbon on the university’s new Science & Engineering Innovation & Research building. The $125 million facility will focus on interdisciplinary research on major health science challenges of the day such as brain health, cancer, healthy aging, and cardiovascular health. “We want to thank our champions in the legislature, the Board of Regents, the University of Texas System leadership and the campus community for believing in our vision,” said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari. “SEIR is the embodiment of our health science focus, bringing together research neighborhoods, collaborative spaces, teaching facilities and areas where faculty, staff and… Full Story

M.D. Anderson’s Dr. James Allison Awarded Nobel Prize

Houston can call one of its top physicians a Nobel Prize winner. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Dr. James P. Allison won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his breakthrough cancer research this week, the New York Times reports. Allison, 70, worked toward aiding the immune system’s ability to attack cancer by suppressing the proteins that resist the immune’s system’s ability to fight cancer cells. Normally, cancer treatment involves three plans of attack: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. But the Nobel committee at the Karolinska Institute called Allison’s immune system treatment “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy,” according… Full Story