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UA Infectious Diseases Experts to Collaborate on National Effort to Develop HIV Cure

The University of Arizona is among 18 institutions participating in a $28 million, five-year Martin Delaney Collaboratory grant awarded today to George Washington University by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to marshal various immunotherapy advances to create a novel HIV cure strategy.

The effort involves six teams working on multiple projects. The project the UA College of Medicine – Tucson is participating in, “Bench to Bed Enhanced Lymphocyte Infusions to Engineer Viral Eradication (BELIEVE),” will leverage the consortium’s innovative cell therapy approach that focuses on making an individual’s natural immune system work better at eliminating HIV reservoirs.

“We will be working with the BELIEVE team to test a strategy to cure HIV by targeting killer cells to sites within lymph nodes where the virus hides,” said Elizabeth Connick, MD, a professor in the UA Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the local principal investigator on the project. She anticipates...

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Investing in the Next Generation of Cancer Fighters: American Cancer Society Recognizes Promising Research Capabilities at the UA Cancer Center

In recognition of the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s promising junior investigators, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has awarded the Center a $360,000 Institutional Research Grant (IRG).

Institutional Research Grants are block grants given to institutions as "seed money" for the initiation of projects by promising junior investigators. The funds are intended to provide support to cancer researchers who are just beginning their careers to help them obtain preliminary data in support of more extensive proposals and funding. This is especially helpful by enabling young investigators who have no national peer-reviewed research grant support to “jump-start” their research programs and establish a research career in a very competitive environment.

“It’s just not very easy for young scientists to secure research funding if they do not have a proven track record,” said UA Cancer Center Director Andrew Kraft, MD. “Funding agencies want to know that they are investing their dollars into research that is going to pay off, and without preliminary data or prior successful projects, it is difficult for these entities to justify investments of hundreds of...

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New Treatment Approaches, Grateful Survivors At Annual Trauma Conference, Aug. 4-5

A U.S. Border Patrol officer critically injured in a motorcycle crash, a young woman trapped in a car fire and a Tucson woman badly injured in an ATV accident are among the grateful Southern Arizona trauma survivors who will address first responders, trauma surgeons, emergency nurses and others at the 27th Annual Southwest Regional Conference, Aug. 4-5.

The conference, which draws hundreds of EMS providers, medical personnel, law enforcement officers  and vendors to Tucson each year, is hosted by the Division of Trauma, Acute Care, Burn and Emergency Surgery at the University of  Arizona Department of Surgery and by Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, which operates the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Southern Arizona.

In the United States, trauma is the leading cause of death in people ages 46 and younger, exceeding cancer and heart disease combined. The Trauma Center at Banner – UMC Tucson treats nearly 5,000 patients each year. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, falls and burns are the leading causes of injury in Southern...

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UA Department of Surgery and Banner – UMC Welcome Dr. Benjamin Lee, New Chief of Urology

Benjamin Lee, MD, a national leader in kidney and prostate cancer surgery and research, has joined Banner – University Medical Center and the University of Arizona Department of Surgery as professor and chief of the Division of Urology.  

He is one of about 20 new faculty physicians joining the hospital and UA College of Medicine – Tucson this summer.

Dr. Lee comes to Tucson from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he was a professor of medicine and urology and director of the school’s fellowship program in robotics, laparoscopy and endourology.

Dr. Lee has extensive experience with minimally invasive approaches to treat renal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, transitional cell carcinoma and kidney disease, pioneering several innovative surgical techniques and principles.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Lee has chosen to join us in Arizona. He brings high energy and strong clinical expertise in kidney and prostate cancer,” said Leigh Neumayer, MD, head of the UA Department of Surgery.

In addition to his role as urology division chief, he will serve as director of the Gastroenterology/Urology...

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UA Health Sciences and Banner Health Receive Historic Funding as part of Landmark Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program

The University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner Health have been awarded a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program, which aims to enroll 1 million or more U.S. participants to improve prevention and treatment of disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. The award, which totals $43.3 million over five years and is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in Arizona history, was announced by the NIH today.

The UA Health Sciences and Banner Health will make significant contributions to the diversity of enrolled participants in the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program (PMI CP). The inclusion of American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino participants will provide greater insights to disease...

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Upcoming Lectures and Wellness Fair at the University of Arizona Health Sciences

Free Presentation on Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Cancers, July 17

The public is invited to a free presentation on carcinoid and neuroendocrine cancers, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at the University of Arizona Cancer / North, 3838 N. Campbell Ave.

Speakers include Yi-Zarn Wang, MD, a professor of surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences College of Medicine and a member of the Ochsner Neuroendocrine Tumor Program in Kenner, La.; Marian Porubsky, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at Banner – University Medical Center, and UA Cancer Center dietitian Michelle Bratton, a certified specialist in oncology nutrition.

The event is sponsored by the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Arizona Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Foundation and Banner – University Medical Center.

The event is free but reservations are encouraged by contacting the Arizona Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Foundation at azcnf.org or by calling 520-762-6757. 

Diabetes and Wellness Fair, July 20

A free diabetes and wellness fair will...

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Are We Giving Up on Cardiac Arrest Patients Too Soon? – New UA Study Suggests Physicians Need to Give Comatose Cardiac Arrest Survivors Adequate Time before Predicting Outcomes

The day after his son’s twins were born in 2012, Gary Brauchla, 68, went into cardiac arrest as he slept in his home in Pearce, Ariz.

Brauchla’s wife, Kathie, who is a former surgical technician, immediately called 911 and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Fifteen minutes later, paramedics took over administering CPR and shocked his heart with a defibrillator, restoring his heart rhythm.

Though Brauchla’s heart was restarted, he remained in a coma as he was flown by helicopter to Tucson. There, doctors treated him with coronary stents and therapeutic hypothermia (cooling his body) to reduce his brain’s need for oxygen and minimize the risk of brain injury.

“The doctors said it usually takes up to 48 hours for people to wake up, but after two days he still was not responding,” said Kathie.

Brauchla remained in a deep coma, until finally, 72 hours later after he was rewarmed, he gradually began to awaken.

“After 48 hours, doctors used to start talking about pulling the plug,” said Kathie.

Physicians may be drawing conclusions too soon about survival outcomes of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest outside the hospital. A...

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New UAHS Molecular Research Discovery May Translate to New Treatments for a Number of Viral Diseases

In a new peer-reviewed research study published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS Pathogens), University of Arizona Health Sciences researcher Felicia Goodrum, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Immunobiology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, has identified how the cytomegalovirus is able to go latent and undetected, then become active and lead to life-threatening health risks.

Dr. Goodrum is a member of the BIO5 Institute and her lab studies cytomegalovirus. The virus is known as CMV and is a part of the herpes virus family. It poses a life-threatening risk for those with weak immune systems, the elderly and those fighting diseases like AIDS and cancer. In the unborn, CMV presents a risk in pregnancy and is the leading cause of infectious-disease related birth defects in babies.

In the general population, people are typically infected as children and never know it because it does not cause any disease...

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White House Cancer Moonshot Summit Hosted by University of Arizona Cancer Center, June 29

What:        White House Cancer Moonshot Summit

Hosted by the University of Arizona Cancer Center (Due to space limitations, this event is invite only)

When:       Wednesday, June 29, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where:      University of Arizona Cancer Center, Kiewit Auditorium
                 1515 N. Campbell Ave., Room 2951

TUCSON, Ariz. – Media representatives are invited to attend the White House Cancer Moonshot Summit, Wednesday, June 29, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Kiewit Auditorium, 1515 N. Campbell Ave., Room 2951.

Researchers, oncologists, care providers, philanthropists, data and tech experts, advocates, patients and survivors are among those invited.

On June 29, Vice President Joe Biden is convening a nationwide Cancer Moonshot Summit, including conversations in communities across the United States. These conversations, or regional summits, will be the first time individuals and organizations representing the entire cancer community and beyond will convene under the national charge to double the rate of progress toward a cure.

The University of...

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UA Researchers: A Dream Team for Treating Sleep Disorders

Helping you get a good night’s sleep is the goal of University of Arizona sleep researchers. Working as interdisciplinary teams, they conduct research and lead clinical trials to assess how sleep affects memory, mental health, stress, alertness and decision-making, and how environmental factors affect sleep.

Sleep and wakefulness disorders affect an estimated 15 to 20 percent of U.S. adults, who in turn are more likely to suffer from chronic disorders, including depression, substance abuse, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, stroke and all-cause mortality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and on the UA main campus recently shared several key findings on sleep during the SLEEP 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society in Denver. The meeting is the world’s premier forum to present and discuss the latest developments in clinical sleep medicine and sleep and the roughly 24-hour cycle that influences physiology and behavior, known as circadian science.

During the meeting, UA sleep...

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