UT Southwestern Geneticist Adds Another To Her List of Honors, Wins Prestigious Cardiovascular Research Award

Dr. Helen Hobbs is no stranger to the web pages of D CEO Healthcare, having won a couple awards over the last few years that have prompted our coverage. Last week, the UT Southwestern geneticist added another, as Hobbs was awarded the 2018 Grand Prix Scientifique from the Institut de France for her research that led to a new class of cholesterol drugs. The Grand Prix Scientifique is considered one of the largest awards for scientific achievement as well as one of the most prestigious prizes in cardiovascular research, according to UT Southwestern. She will share a prize of 600,000… Full Story

Reproductive Health Center Opens First North Texas Locations

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine is moving into the North Texas market through a partnership with the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine. CCRM is known for its advances in fertility research, as Dallas Innovates reports. It will have two office locations, one in Dallas and one in Frisco. Dallas Innovates’ Meredith McGrath writes: CCRM was founded by Dr. William Schoolcraft in 1987 and operates 10 other fertility centers throughout the U.S. and Canada, including one in Houston. The new facility includes an on-site clinic, surgery center, in vitro fertilization laboratory, and clinical laboratory and will offer services including in… Full Story

The Latest In the Houston Chron and ProPublica’s St. Luke’s Exposé Is An Investigation Of A Celebrated Heart Surgeon

The Houston Chronicle and ProPublica have been releasing a piece-by-piece dive into the heart transplant program at Houston-based Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. A previous slice found that the program’s survival rates have been slipping (I compared them to Dallas-Fort Worth programs here). The latest brings us closer to Dr. O.H. “Bud” Frazier, the celebrated heart surgeon who held roles as chief of the heart transplant teams at St. Luke’s and its research partner, Texas Heart Institute, and has been on a quest to build a mechanical heart. The investigation finds that about half of the medicare patients who received an… Full Story

Texas Health Resources Gives Clinical Scholar Award to UTSW Cardiologist

A cardiologist from UT Southwestern Medical Center has been named the most recent Texas Health Resources Clinical Scholar. Dr. Ambarish Pandey will put the $750,000 career development award toward developing novel approaches to prevent heart failure and improve heart failure outcomes at a health system level. “We hope to develop and evaluate a screening strategy that may be integrated with the electronic health record system to identify individuals at high risk of heart failure, particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction,” Dr. Pandey said in a statement. “We also aim to evaluate a home-based cardiac rehabilitation program to target these… Full Story

UTSW Tests 200,000 Chemicals on Lung Cancer Cells, Finds 170 Candidates for Development

UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center has completed a five-year project during which researchers tested more than 200,000 chemical compounds on lung cancer lines. The early results showed 170 potential candidates for development into drug therapies for what is the most common cause of cancer death, according to the National Cancer Institute. Researchers were after chemicals that would kill cancer cells without harming normal lung cells. The research was unique in that it began with the compounds, UT Southwestern says. “Almost all cancer research is gene-first, or target-first,” says Dr. Michael Roth, a professor of biochemistry and member of the Simmons… Full Story

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