The University of Arizona Health Sciences

News

New UA Pediatric Center of Excellence First in Southwest to Provide Patient Care, Education, Research in Underdiagnosed Disorder

The University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center has established a new “center of excellence” that is the first in the Southwest to treat and conduct research into a family of acute-onset neuropsychiatric disorders that historically have been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed in children.

Patient services will be provided at Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center and research will be conducted at the Steele Center.

As part of the University of Arizona Health Sciences, the “Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (CPAE) Center of Excellence at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center” is the first to implement a model of clinical care, teaching and research to treat and potentially cure a spectrum of postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathies, such as PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome),...

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email heart@u.arizona.edu

Learn CPR with the Sarver Heart Center

Chest-compression-only CPR was developed at Sarver Heart Center and our students offer trainings for community groups, such as Mountain Vista Fire Department. Learn more and watch this video featuring Melissa Ludgate, MD, Class of 2016. Her teaching skills helped save a life more than once.

To schedule a training for your community group, please email heart@u.arizona.edu.  

Precision Medicine Has Applications for Pancreatic Cancer

A team led by University of Arizona researchers is taking a new, patient-directed approach to treating pancreatic cancer.

Rather than relying on conventional cell lines that have defined effective drug targets for other types of cancers, they are creating and sequencing cell lines from a cancer patient's own tissue.

Their results reveal that pancreatic tumors are more varied than previously thought and that drug sensitivity is unique to each patient, illustrating why recent efforts to boost "personalized medicine," such as the UA's Precision Medicine Initiative, are so important.

"Currently there are no targeted therapies directly against the hallmark mutations common in pancreatic cancer, and each patient-derived model we tested had its own unique therapeutic sensitivities," said Erik Knudsen, a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine - Tucson, and author of the...

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Reduced U.S. Cocaine and Methamphetamine Use Linked to Controls on Commercial Chemicals

Large reductions in the numbers of cocaine users and methamphetamine users in the United States—so far lasting approximately eight years—occurred in association with government efforts that limited access to two commercially produced chemicals, according to a University of Arizona-led study.

In December 2006, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration implemented federal regulations restricting access to sodium permanganate, a chemical essential to the manufacture of cocaine.

In March 2007, Mexico, the primary source for methamphetamine in the United States, closed a chemical company accused of illicitly importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor chemical.

“Cocaine and methamphetamine production for international markets requires access to massive amounts of legally manufactured chemicals,” said James Cunningham, PhD, a social epidemiologist with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. “Disrupting that access can be expected to disrupt the drugs’ availability and use.”

Cocaine use in the United...

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Delivering Health-Care Services to People ‘Where They Need Them’

Two University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson programs that bring health-care services to people in Arizona’s rural, underserved communities are reaching major milestones this year: the Mobile Health Program, launched in 1976, and the Arizona Telemedicine Program, which got its start in 1996.

Four decades of health care on wheels

In October 1976, what was then the UA Rural Health Office launched the Mobile Health Program (MHP) with Augusto Ortiz, MD, a UA family physician, as medical director. Dr. Ortiz and his wife, Martha Ortiz, who managed clinic details, took their clinic on wheels – an RV donated by a Tucson missionary and outfitted with two small exam rooms – to such tiny communities as the Yaqui Pueblo and Picture Rocks northwest of Tucson; Continental and Amado, south of Green Valley; and later into Cochise County. Some families were so poor that their homes lacked electricity and running water. But the MHP payment policy was then what it is today: Pay if you can, and if you can’t, you still will get care.

The Ortizes, with their staff and...

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$7 Million NIH Grant to UA College of Medicine – Tucson Aimed at Helping Asthma Sufferers Reduce Severe Attacks

About 25 million people in the United States—7 million of them children—suffer from asthma. A five-year, $7 million National Institutes of Health grant awarded recently to Monica Kraft, MD, an internationally renowned physician-scientist who specializes in translational asthma research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and the UA Health Sciences’ Asthma and Airways Diseases Research Center, will seek a better understanding of mediators that help control lung inflammation and improved therapies to reduce severe attacks in those with asthma.

Funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the grant will support a research study, “Dysfunction of Innate Immunity in Asthma,” with three projects, including analysis of human samples of people with asthma and investigation of genetic markers related to dysfunctional immune response mechanisms in asthma. The goal is to develop a better understanding of those mechanisms and refine novel therapies to moderate or eliminate asthma attacks and enable asthma sufferers to breathe...

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Arizona Telemedicine Program Receives Federal Grant to Expand Telehealth Services in the Southwest

The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center – a division of the nationally renowned Arizona Telemedicine Program – has received $325,000 in federal funding to help advance the use of telehealth and telemedicine throughout five Southwestern states.

The grant will support the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) from Sept. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2017. The funding comes from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The SWTRC was established in 2009 to bolster the work of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) in underserved and rural communities in Arizona and its neighboring states: New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

The SWTRC assists start-up telehealth programs as well as existing programs in hospitals, clinics, public health offices and private-practice health-care providers in the broader Southwest region. The SWTRC provides information and technical assistance to health-care providers in various communities – including the Navajo Nation – as they set up telehealth programs for the first time, or as they expand existing services...

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Growing up on an Amish Farm Protects Children Against Asthma

By probing the differences between two farming communities—the Amish of Indiana and the Hutterites of South Dakota—an interdisciplinary team of researchers found that specific aspects of the Amish environment are associated with changes to immune cells that appear to protect children from developing asthma.

In the Aug. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers—from the University of Arizona, University of Chicago and the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital in Munich, Germany—showed that substances in the house dust from Amish, but not Hutterite, homes were able to engage and shape the innate immune system (the body’s front-line response to most microbes) in young Amish children in ways that may suppress pathologic responses leading to allergic asthma.

“We have proven that the reason the Amish children are so strongly protected from asthma is how they live,” said study co-author, immunologist Donata Vercelli, MD, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences....

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COM-T Welcomes Record-breaking Class of 2020

COM-T Welcomes Record-breaking Class of 2020

A record number of applicants and a record yield rate of accepted students led to record enrollment for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Class of 2020.

The College welcomed 135 students into the new class during the traditional White Coat Ceremony, where the future physicians received their white coats – the visible mark of a physician – before hundreds of their family and friends.

Bruce Coull, MD, professor of neurology and medicine and chair of the College’s Professionalism Program, gave the keynote address, sharing the “two cornerstones of what you need to acquire to be an outstanding professional physician.”

“On one hand you need to have a deep knowledge of medical science and all that it entails. On the other hand you need to be a person who understands human illness and humanity and how you can help to heal,” he said. “Having the knowledge alone is not enough.”

Each student received a stethoscope and white coat thanks to alumni, faculty, staff and friends from across the U.S. who gave to this year’s Stethoscope and White Coat Campaign.

Watch a short...

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Banner – UMC Tucson Ranked Among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson has been ranked among the best hospitals in the nation in geriatrics and nephrology in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 Best Hospitals’ ratings, and as “high ranking” in five other medical specialties.

The publication also rated Banner – University Medical Center as the best hospital in the Tucson metro area, and the No. 3 hospital in Arizona, after the Mayo Clinic and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, its sister hospital.

The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 27th year, recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

“We are pleased that U.S. News has recognized the caregivers, educators and researchers at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for their focus on patients and for producing outstanding outcomes.  It takes an entire team to garner results like these,” said Tom Dickson, chief executive officer of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

The Tucson academic medical center was ranked 46th in the medical specialty of geriatrics and 39th in nephrology out of...

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