PHOTO CREDIT: Mayo Clinic

Biomedical Research News

  • Gerstner Award Program Supports Novel ADHD Research
    November 26, 2019

    A unique scholarship award program at Massachusetts General Hospital is helping advance the understanding and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children. The Louis V. Gerstner III Research Scholar Award Program was founded in 2014 to support early-career physician-scientists interested in pursuing new ideas related to this pervasive and often misunderstood disease. Now in its fifth year, the program honors the memory of Louis V. Gerstner III, former president of the Gerstner Family Foundation, and a tireless advocate for education and child welfare, who passed away in 2013. Over the last two decades, research has led to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, as well as a deeper understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that play a role in its development. In spite of the progress however, children with ADHD are still more likely to incur serious injury and suffer from learning disabilities and mood disorders. They are also at higher risk of developing substance use disorders. “To make a difference for this patient population, we need a greater understanding of ADHD and the role it plays in related conditions like substance use disorder – and that demands more research,” says Amy Yule, MD, one of two inaugural Gerstner Scholars in 2014 and medical director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) at Mass General. “The Gerstner Scholars Program recognizes the importance of launching independent investigators in this field.”

    Read more at massgeneral.org
  • 19 Undergraduates Complete the 2019 Summer Research Program at Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

    Nineteen undergraduates who are interested in a career in biomedical science completed the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK). The highly competitive program gives outstanding college students the opportunity to perform hands-on research in cutting-edge biomedical research laboratories at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, sponsors SURP, a ten-week research program for outstanding undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences.

    Read more at mskcc.org
  • We Need More Doctors Who Are Scientists
    September 25, 2019

    Unfortunately, the career path of the physician-scientist has become longer and a lot less appealing. In the United States, about 20,000 graduates emerge from medical school each year, many with significant debt. Many physicians are well into their 30s by the time they complete their clinical training. Doctors who decide to take the research path face the daunting prospect of many more years struggling to win grants and establish a lab. According to N.I.H. statistics, researchers with medical degrees on average receive their first major N.I.H. grant only at age 45. Recognizing the problem, the National Institutes of Health’s Physician-Scientist Workforce report, published in 2014, laid out a road map to address it. Nonetheless, the number of young doctors pursuing research continues to wane.

    Read more at nytimes.com
  • Broad Institute Collaborative Study Reveals Genetic Alterations Linked to Cancer Drug Resistance
    September 10, 2019

    A new study from a group of researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), IBM Research, and other organizations compared the results of liquid and tissue biopsies from patients who were treated for gastrointestinal cancer but developed drug resistance. It revealed that liquid biopsies, a new method for sampling tumors, provide a more complete picture of the patient’s genetic diversity and how drug resistance in tumors evolves. "Remarkably, we found that nearly every patient we analyzed had developed not just one, but multiple drug resistance mechanisms simultaneously, and this may be more common than we previously thought," said Gad Getz, director of the Cancer Genome Computational Analysis Group at the Broad and the Paul C. Zamecnik Chair in Oncology at the MGH Cancer Center. " The study also suggests possible molecular mechanisms underlying drug resistance, which could point the way to new and more personalized therapeutics. The study is part of a five-year collaboration between the Broad Institute and IBM Research to analyze tumors before and after the onset of drug resistance, in order to discover underlying mechanisms driving resistance. The collaboration grew out of a cancer drug resistance and blood biopsy project supported by the Gerstner Family Foundation.

    Read more at broadinstitute.org
  • 2019 Gerstner Career Development Awardees Seek to Optimize Rheumatoid Arthritis and Breast Cancer Treatments

    The Mayo Clinic recently announced this year’s recipients of the Gerstner Family Career Development Awards: Dr. Elena Myasoedova, a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic's Minnesota campus and Dr. Bhavika Patel, a radiologist at Mayo's Arizona campus. Their focus on creating tools to identify optimal treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer, respectively. Using artificial intelligence, Dr. Myasoedova is building an algorithm that can predict an individual's response to methotrexate, the most commonly used rheumatoid arthritis medication. The algorithm would enable patients to more effectively evaluate treatment options as methotrexate is ineffective in 30% to 40% of patients and must be taken for months before doctors can determine if it's working. Dr. Patel's research team is utilizing biomarkers to more precisely determine which additional treatments would benefit an individual breast cancer patient. “Ultimately, the goal is that these biomarkers can inform personalized therapies, to improve breast cancer patients' quality of life and avoid unnecessary treatments," says Dr. Patel. Both researchers seek to apply data centric approaches to medical care, sparing patients unnecessary complications and providing enhanced disease treatment.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org