PHOTO CREDIT: Mayo Clinic

Biomedical Research News

  • Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics Researchers Develop New Approach called MAESTRO to advance Cancer Detection

    A team led by researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School has developed a new method to identify thousands of DNA mutations accurately and efficiently in a patient's blood sample with minimal sequencing. The approach, called MAESTRO, could one day enable the detection of residual cancer in patients who have undergone treatment, alerting doctors to disease recurrence earlier and more cheaply than current techniques allow. MAESTRO works to identify Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) markers in the blood using less sequencing than more conventional approaches, enabling researchers to detect cancer mutations more quickly, efficiently and at a low cost. “This project has been a great reminder that new methods can make DNA sequencing even more powerful,” added Golub. “It will be exciting to see how MAESTRO can impact basic discovery and, in the future, clinical care.”

    Read more at broadinstitute.org
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Announces New Early-Career Physician Research Program in Cancer Science
    September 29, 2021

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced a $25 million gift from Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. to create the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Physician Scholars Program. Designed to support the innovative research of physician-scientists who are early in their career at MSK, the Gerstner Physician Scholars Program will advance promising scientific research and further the careers of outstanding junior faculty. “Recruiting and retaining the next generation of physician-scientists in cancer research is one of our most urgent priorities,” said Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD, MSK’s Physician-In-Chief. “We are grateful for Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.’s generous donation and continued commitment to education that will help MSK attract, support and champion talented early-career physician-scientists who will make discoveries and pursue the increasingly complex questions posed by cancer science.” Each year, a group of MSK physician-scientists will be named Gerstner Physician Scholars and receive the resources needed to validate their emerging research concepts and translate these concepts into clinical applications. The program will support early career lab-based physician-scientists, a subset of physicians who are uniquely positioned to blend clinical care with laboratory research. The chosen Scholars will be eligible to receive funding of up to $150,000 per year for three years to advance their work, recruit talented junior lab members and develop preliminary data in ambitious projects that can provide the basis for applications to other outside sources for further funding.

    Read more at mskcc.org
  • 2021 Gerstner Sloan Kettering Chairman’s Prize Honors Research That Paves Way for New Cell-Based Therapies to Treat Autoimmune Diseases and Inflammation
    September 23, 2021

    Zhongmin Wang, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK), has been awarded the 2021 Chairman’s Prize. The competitive award is presented annually and was established by GSK’s Board of Trustees Chair Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. for whom the school is named. This year’s Chairman’s Prize, in the amount of $2,000, shines a light on Mr. Wang’s winning submission, which was published last month in Nature Immunology. Mr. Wang and his coauthors specifically designed mouse models for the project, which demonstrated that regulatory T (Treg) cells are fully functional under conditions of established inflammation and are capable of reversing, in addition to preventing, fatal autoimmunity. The results pave the way for the development of Treg cell-based therapies for a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory disorders that raise the risk of cancer. “I am honored that the prize committee recognized the outstanding quality and potential impact of this research,” says Mr. Wang, who is conducting his dissertation studies in the laboratory of his thesis mentor, Alexander Rudensky, Chair of the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering and senior author of the study.

    Read more at mskcc.org
  • Mayo Clinic Announces 2021 Gerstner Family Career Development Awardees

    Moritz Binder M.D., a physician-scientist in Mayo Clinic's divisions of Hematology and Oncology, and Satsuki Yamada, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist in the division of Cardiovascular Diseases, are recipients of the 2021 Gerstner Family Career Development Awards. Dr. Binder is investigating mutation-specific therapeutic targets for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, a cancer that starts in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood, and Dr. Satsuki is working to develop a targeted regenerative biotherapy to restore cardiac function in individuals who have suffered a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. These competitive awards are presented annually by Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine to researchers conducting innovative investigations to predict, prevent, treat and cure disease using individualized medicine approaches. The Gerstner Family Career Development Awards is a benefactor-sponsored initiative that seeks to promote a specialized workforce for individualized medicine discovery, translation and application. Made possible by a grant from the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Fund at Vanguard Charitable, the award provides important seed money for early-stage investigators interested in launching a career in individualized medicine.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org
  • Could regenerative medicine relieve neck, back pain?

    Mayo Clinic is looking to regenerative medicine as a potential long-term solution for degenerative disk disease that has for years eluded medical science. Millions of people in the U.S. are afflicted with chronic neck and back pain that often comes after years of wear and tear on the spine. Current treatments provide only temporary relief for this common disorder, and finding a cure has been a great challenge for researchers. Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D., a physiatrist and pain specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and director of Regenerative Pain Medicine at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, hypothesizes that therapeutic answers to degenerative disk disease are hidden in mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. Qu's hypothesis is that mesenchymal stem cells could provide a new option for reducing inflammation, relieving pain and restoring spinal disks. He is applying his research to a regenerative medicine service he began at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and has now introduced at Mayo Clinic in Florida. In addition to this work, Dr. Qu is leading other regenerative medicine research to investigate the safety, feasibility and effectiveness of using bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to treat spine osteoarthritis with support from Gerstner Philanthropies.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org