CAR T-cell update: therapy improves outcomes for patients with B-cell lymphoma

In their phase-2 study of tisagenlecleucel (marketed as KYMRIAH®), published on-line Dec. 1, 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine, an international team of researchers evaluated 93 patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). They found that 52% of those patients responded favorably to the therapy. Forty percent had a complete response and 12% had a partial response. Sixty-five percent of those patients—recruited from 27 sites in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia—were relapse free one year later, including 79% of the complete responders. The median progression-free survival for patients in this trial, known as JULIET; NCT02445248, … Read More

Dr. Marshall Chin and researchers from Google are working to make sure software algorithms used in health care result in better treatment for everyone.

Machine-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence software help organizations analyze large amounts of data to improve decision-making, and these tools are increasingly used in hospitals to guide treatment decisions and improve efficiency. The algorithms “learn” by identifying patterns in data collected over many years. So, what happens when the data being analyzed reflects historical bias against vulnerable populations? Is it possible for these algorithms to promote further bias, leading to inequality in health care? Marshall Chin, MD, MPH, the Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the University of Chicago Medicine, is working to ensure equity across all areas of … Read More

Michelle Le Beau,PhD- Elected to ACS Board of Directors

The American Cancer Society has named Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, to its board of directors, with a term beginning on Jan. 1, 2019. Directors are elected for a two-year term. The all-volunteer board is responsible for setting policy, establishing long-term goals, monitoring general operations, and approving the organizational outcomes and allocation of resources. “I am honored to join the board of the American Cancer Society – a key partner in the global fight against cancer,” said Le Beau. “I look forward to working with ACS leadership on our shared mission … Read More

UChicago Medicine named one of the country’s top teaching hospitals

The  University of Chicago Medicine (UCM)  has been named a “Top Teaching Hospital” for the third year in row by The Leapfrog Group.  Only 53 of the nation’s academic medical centers received the honor . Leapfrog assessed  performance across many clinical measurements, including infection rates, maternity care, and  UCM’s  capacity to prevent medication errors. Other requirements for the top teaching hospital designation included:   ·         Fully meeting the standard for ICU physician staffing ·         Fully complying with Leapfrog’s never-events policy ·         Receiving an A grade in hospital safety ·         Ranking in the top of our peer group based on Leapfrog’s … Read More

Non-coding genetic variant could improve key vascular functions

Atherosclerotic disease, the slow and silent hardening and narrowing of the arteries, is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. It is responsible for more than 15 million deaths each year, including an estimated 610,000 people in the United States. In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of physicians, geneticists and biologists describes a previously unknown genetic factor that can either raise or reduce the risk of coronary artery disease or ischemic stroke. The researchers found that a common non-coding sequence of DNA — known as rs17114036 and located on chromosome 1p32.2 — … Read More

Mapping genetic differences in breast cancer can improve care for underserved populations

A study comparing DNA and RNA data from Nigerian breast cancer patients to patients in a United States database found that certain aggressive molecular features were far more prevalent in tumors from Nigerian women than in black or white American women. In the Oct. 16, 2018 issue of Nature Communications, the study’s authors say those differences in multiple molecular features could in part explain disparities in breast cancer mortality for women from Nigeria, and perhaps other West African nations. “In the era of precision medicine our data provide insights that could reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer across … Read More

New checkpoint inhibitor shows promise in clinical trial for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

By combining the experimental anti-cancer antibody known as 5F9 (Hu5F9-G4) with the established anti-cancer antibody rituximab, researchers managing a small phase-1b clinical trial were able to induce a positive response in 11 out of 22 people with relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. About 36 percent of the patients (8 out of 22) in this trial went into complete remission from their cancers. This new approach to immunotherapy, published November 1, 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine, relies on immune system cells called macrophages, rather than T cells, to attack and kill cancer cells. “5F9 is a macrophage immune checkpoint inhibitor,” … Read More

Genetic flaw causes problems for many with hypothyroidism

With an estimated 120 million prescriptions filled each year, the thyroid medicine levothyroxine (marketed as Synthroid ®) is one of the most popular prescription medicines in the United States. Most patients who suffer from hypothyroidism — a shortage of thyroid hormone, usually caused by a damaged or missing thyroid gland — respond favorably to treatment with this drug. Nearly 15 percent of patients, however, get only limited benefit from levothyroxine. Their symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, weight gain, cramps, irritability and often memory loss, persist, even among patients who take this affordable medicine consistently. On Oct. 23, 2018 the Journal of … Read More

University of Chicago Medicine Receives 14th Consecutive A grade in Hospital Safety

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM)  has received its 14th consecutive A grade in hospital safety from the prestigious industry watchdog Leapfrog Group.  Of the more than 2,600 hospitals surveyed in the fall 2018 period, UCM is  one of 42 health care organizations — and the only academic medical center in Chicago — to have consistently received the top mark since Leapfrog began its semi-annual hospital ratings in 2012. In this past spring’s survey, there were 49 institutions that earned consecutive A’s. Leapfrog assesses hospitals using 30 publicly available safety metrics, which are selected and reviewed by a panel of experts. … Read More