Department of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine & UH Case Medical Center

2010 Health Care Hero, Dr Joseph Baar, presented by Crain’s Cleveland Businesss

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Congratulations on Joseph Baar on selection as a 2010 Health Care Hero presented by Crain’s Cleveland Business. We are pleased to recognize him as a Winner in the category of Advancements in Health Care.

The nomination submitted on Dr Baar’s behalf is a testament to the impact he has had on patients, colleagues and Northeast Ohio’s medical community.

Again, congratulations to Joseph Baar on his selection for this very special honor. As one of Northeast Ohio’s Health Care Heroes, he plays a vital role in the quality of our everyday lives and the economic future of the region.

Katie Couric Tours Case Western Reserve Research Lab

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Katie Couric visited Sanford “Sandy” Markowitz, MD, PhD, professor and researcher of cancer and genetics, and his research team in his lab to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day research necessary for advancements in colon cancer.

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric anchor and managing editor received a warm welcome from the researchers, who provided Couric with hands-on training. They also informed her of the various research projects being conducted in the Markowitz lab at Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=hco3Q8pLTLU]

The touching visit brought together Couric and Markowitz, who have been working together for years to improve colon cancer screening, and ultimately the disease. Couric’s late husband, Jay Monahan, succumbed to the disease in 1998.

Couric went on to help co-found The Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, which has raised awareness and funding for colon cancer research.

Learn more at CWRUmedicine.org

Read about "Direct detection and quantification of abasic sites for in vivo studies of DNA damage & repair"

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Use of chemotherapeutic agents to induce cytotoxic DNA damage and programmed cell death is a key strategy in cancer treatments. However, the efficacy of DNA-targeted agents such as temozolomide is often compromised by intrinsic cellular responses such as DNA base excision repair (BER). Previous studies have shown that BER pathway resulted in formation of abasic or apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites, and blockage of AP sites led to a significant enhancement of drug sensitivity due to reduction of DNA base excision repair. Since a number of chemotherapeutic agents also induce formation of AP sites, monitoring of these sites as a clinical correlate of drug effect will provide a useful tool in the development of DNA-targeted chemotherapies aimed at blocking abasic sites from repair. Here we report an imaging technique based on positron emission tomography (PET) that allows for direct quantification of AP sites in vivo. For this purpose, positron-emitting carbon-11 has been incorporated into methoxyamine ([(11)C]MX) that binds covalently to AP sites with high specificity. The binding specificity of [(11)C]MX for AP sites was demonstrated by in vivo blocking experiments. Using [(11)C]MX as a radiotracer, animal PET studies have been conducted in melanoma and glioma xenografts for quantification of AP sites. Following induction of AP sites by temozolomide, both tumor models showed significant increase of [(11)C]MX uptake in tumor regions in terms of radioactivity concentration as a function of time, which correlates well with conventional aldehyde reactive probe (ARP)-based bioassays for AP sites.

Read the full article on CWRUmedicine.org

Read about "Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the elderly"

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The expansion of older population segments and the continuous increase in the incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) makes this group of neoplasms an important and growing problem. Older NHL patients have increased risk of therapy-related toxicity as a result of age-related physiological changes and frequent co-morbidities. A functional assessment of the elderly patient is necessary to determine the likelihood of tolerating and responding to therapy. The comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) is one multidisciplinary tool that has been applied successfully to older cancer patients and aids in identification of subjects who will or will not benefit from anti-neoplastic treatment. Although indolent lymphomas present more frequently at advanced stage, randomized trials do not show better outcomes with early therapy, supporting close observation until specific therapeutic indications arise. Use of the monoclonal antibody rituximab as a single agent or in combination with chemotherapy improves survival and has become the standard of care in first-line treatment. Radioimmunoconjugates, bendamustine, and other monoclonal antibodies as well as novel targeted agents also are active against indolent lymphomas. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is an aggressive but potentially curable disease. Several trials performed exclusively in elderly patients have demonstrated improved response rates and survival with the addition of rituximab to CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin [adriamycin], vincristine, prednisone) chemotherapy in the front-line setting. Salvage chemotherapy followed by autologous haematopoietic cell transplant (autoHCT) has been shown to have better failure-free and overall survival in randomized trials involving younger patients. Highly selected individuals up to age 70 years may attain long-term survival benefit from autoHCT, although transplant-related mortality is higher than in younger patients.

Read the full article on CWRUmedicine.org

Dr. Afshin Dowlati discusses a new way to predict effectiveness of chemotherapy

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Doctors often have trouble knowing who might respond to certain cancer treatments. “We kind of give chemotherapy and wish for a good result,” says Dr. Afshin Dowlati. That could change.

Dowlati led a study that revealed lung cancer patients with low levels of a molecule that controls cellular interaction have twice the chance of responding to chemotherapy than those with high levels. Those levels can also predict how likely a patient is to live a year after diagnosis. The difference could help patients decide whether to try chemotherapy, drugs or pursue alternative therapies, Dowlati says.

Learn more at CWRUmedicine.org

New test developed by CWRUmedicine researchers may reduce colon cancer

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Colon cancer is the second most deadly cancer in the U.S. despite being the most preventable. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recently announced concern that people will neglect colon cancer screening during this economic climate.

Screening is recommended in both sexes over age 50 and earlier if a patient has a family history of this disease. However, some people put it off due to fear of having a colonoscopy, which can be both invasive and expensive. As more people lose health insurance coverage, the high cost of this procedure may lead many more people to forego screening.

Sanford Markowitz, MD, CWRUmedicine oncologist and colon cancer researcher of the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, has developed a less expensive, non-invasive test for this disease.

About the test:

  • The non-invasive test detects DNA markers for colon cancer using a stool sample that is taken at home
  • The DNA Stool Test is available now at the doctor’s office, or can be easily ordered by the doctor
  • Although the test isn’t covered by insurance, the cost is significantly lower
  • Patients with negative results will not need to commit time and money to having a colonoscopy; patients with positive results will move forward with  colonoscopy to provide more information
  • It is 80 percent effective and while colonoscopy is still the most effective test, it is not useful if patients are avoiding it altogether
  • The American Cancer Society added the test to its screening guidelines last year

Learn more at CWRUmedicine.org

Watch & learn about DNA Screening for Colon Cancer

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It is estimated that colon cancer will kill 50,000 people in the United States this year. But found early, that number could be lowered substantially. So why do so many still die from it? The answer and the solution can be found in a medical laboratory at Case Western Reserve Department of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.
View more videos on CWRUmedicine YouTube Channel

WVIZ PBS Ideastream talk with CWRUmedicine faculty about "confronting colon cancer"

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According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. on WVIZ/PBS Ideastream, several CWRUmedicine’s Hematology Oncology specialists are featured in “Confronting Colon Cancer” – an in-depth look at the disease from detection and diagnosis through treatment. Tune in tonight or watch the special online below.

To learn more about cancer research, visit CWRUmedicine.org

Dr Afshin Dowlati discusses a new way to predict effectiveness of chemotherapy

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Doctors often have trouble knowing who might respond to certain cancer treatments. “We kind of give chemotherapy and wish for a good result,” says Dr. Afshin Dowlati of CWRUmedicine’s Hematology Oncology. That could change. Dowlati led a study that revealed lung cancer patients with low levels of a molecule that controls cellular interaction have twice the chance of responding to chemotherapy than those with high levels. Those levels can also predict how likely a patient is to live a year after diagnosis. The difference could help patients decide whether to try chemotherapy, drugs or pursue alternative therapies, Dowlati says.

Read more at Cleveland Magazine :: http://tiny.cc/ssiZv

DNA Screening for Colon Cancer Video

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It is estimated that colon cancer will kill 50,000 people in the United States this year. But found early, that number could be lowered substantially. So why do so many still die from it? The answer and the solution can be found in a medical laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio.

A team of researchers led by Sanford Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D. at the Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine has found a way to detect colon cancer quickly and non-invasively.
Learn more at CWRUmedicine.org

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