Research Shows This Additive Makes You More of a Couch Potato

Researchers at UT Southwestern have found that laziness might be compounded by an additive that is in 70 percent of the American diet. Inorganic phosphate, which is used in fast food, processed foods, and bottled drinks, has been shown to decrease mice’s ability to exercise. Phosphates occur naturally in fruits, dairy products, meat and fish, but the organic version isn’t absorbed by the body and doesn’t have an impact. But food labels make it difficult to avoid the more harmful inorganic phosphates, as they don’t have to label how much are included in foods. According to Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Professor of… Full Story

Cary Council Recognizes UT Southwestern Doctors for Promising Research

The Cary Council has recognized three UT Southwestern doctors with grants for their early stage research. Dr. Prasanna Alluri, Dr. David Greenberg, and Dr. Animesh Tandon were this year’s recipients at the DocStars event this fall. The Cary Council is a group of young leaders who support the Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the Cary Council Steering Committee selected this year’s winners. The organization gifted over $220,000 this year. Alluri’s work focuses on overcoming treatment-resistant breast cancer and has identified a drug that inhibits the cancer’s growth. Greenberg is working to predict strains of bacteria that… Full Story

Local Research Could Lead to Preventing Alzheimer’s Before it Starts

Researchers at UT Southwestern have neutralized what they believe to be a primary factor in Alzheimer’s disease, which could lead to a drug that could be taken by patients long before they show symptoms. If taken for life, they found it could prevent the disorder in 50 to 80 percent of at-risk adults. If a person contains the protein ApoE4, they are 10 times more likely to develop the disease than someone who has another form of the same protein. The protein causes a build up that negatively impacts nerve cells in the brain, but researchers found a way to… Full Story

UTSW Researchers Hope to Predict Dementia

UT Southwestern researchers say the identification of a molecular Alzheimer’s trigger can be used to predict which type of dementia will develop in patients. The knowledge can be used to diagnose and possibly treat the degenerative neurological disorder. A new study has identified how the tau protein’s shape gives information about which type of dementia will develop, and was created with the help of a larger network of researchers who hope to improve treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. An earlier study from the same lab found a molecular clue to how Alzheimer’s disease forms. “Our expanded understanding of the tau protein structure… Full Story

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