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ICTR in the News: Liquid Biopsy Results Differed Substantially Between Two Providers


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Kenneth Pienta, M.D., director of research for the Brady Institute and a prostate cancer researcher at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Two Johns Hopkins prostate cancer researchers found significant disparities when they submitted identical patient samples to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers. Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative to tumor tissue sequencing, and it is intended to specifically detect and sequence tumor DNA circulating in patients’ blood. The results are used to help guide doctors to tailor the best treatment for patients at each point of their … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Team of Bioethicists Calls for Rigorous Trials for Experimental Fetal Therapy


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Jeremy Sugarman, a professor of bioethics and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the deputy director for medicine of the university’s Berman Institute of Bioethics. Article by: Archana Nilaweera Citing uncertainties about the risks and benefits of an experimental therapy for fetuses whose kidneys do not develop, bioethicists at Johns Hopkins and a team of medical experts are calling for rigorous clinical trials in the use of a potential treatment known as amnioinfusion. Bilateral renal agenesis, the absence of both kidneys at birth, occurs in 2.88 per … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Children on Sex Offender Registries at Greater Risk for Suicide Attempts, Study Suggests


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Elizabeth Letourneau, PhD, a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health and director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. Other risks include sexual assault, being approached by an adult for sex and mental health problems A new study led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that children who were legally required to register as sex offenders were at greater risk for harm, including suicide attempts and sexual assault, compared to a group of children who engaged in harmful or … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Combination Immunotherapy Holds Promise as Improved Ovarian Cancer Treatment


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researchers Cynthia Zahnow, an associate professor of oncology in the School of Medicine, and Stephen Baylin, epigenetics scientist. Approach that combines checkpoint inhibitors with drugs that reactivate dormant genes proves effective in mouse study, spurs clinical trials in human patients Article by: Amy Mone Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that were treated with combination immunotherapy—receiving drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system—had a greater reduction of tumor burden and significantly longer survival than those that … Continue reading

Evolutionary Biologists Say Recently Discovered Fossil Shows Transition of a Reptile From Life on Land to Life in the Sea


Using modern research tools on a 155-million-year-old reptile fossil, scientists at Johns Hopkins and the American Museum of Natural History report they have filled in some important clues to the evolution of animals that once roamed land and transitioned to life in the water. A report on the new discoveries about the reptile, Vadasaurus herzogi, appears online in the Nov. 8 issue of Royal Society Open Science, and suggests that some of the foot-long animal’s features, including its elongated, whip-like tail, and triangular-shaped head, are well suited to aquatic life, while its relatively large limbs link it to land-loving species. … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Recordings Reveal Deep Credibility Gap When Doctors And Parents Discuss Outcomes For Critically Ill Infants


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Renee Denise Boss, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. An analysis of 16 audiotaped conversations between parents of infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and clinicians found that medical staff routinely downplay quality of life issues and leave families more optimistic about their babies’ prognoses than the clinicians intended. A report of the analysis, published in the Nov. issue of the Journal of Perinatology, highlights a persistent gap between family and clinician understanding of infant outcomes, and the need for clearer communications … Continue reading

Kevin Sowers is Named President of the Johns Hopkins Health System and Executive Vice President of Johns Hopkins Medicine


Kevin W. Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., a distinguished clinician, educator and academic health care leader has been appointed president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, an $8 billion academic medical center and health system. He is the second person to hold this role. Sowers joins Johns Hopkins Medicine after 32 years with the Duke University Health System, where for the last eight years he has served as president and CEO of Duke University Hospital. The boards of trustees for Johns Hopkins Health System, Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine approved his … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Bioethicists Call For Caution in Use of Rare Experimental Fetal Therapy


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Jeremy Sugarman, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the deputy director for medicine of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at The Johns Hopkins University. Citing uncertainties about the risks and benefits of an experimental therapy for fetuses whose kidneys do not develop, bioethicists at Johns Hopkins and a team of medical experts are calling for rigorous clinical trials in the use of a potential treatment, known as amnioinfusion. The article, published ahead of print in Obstetrics & Gynecology, calls for … Continue reading

Combination Strategy Could Hold Promise for Ovarian Cancer


Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that received drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system had a greater reduction of tumor burden and significantly longer survival than those that received any of the drugs alone. The study has already spurred a clinical trial in ovarian cancer patients. The investigators, led by graduate student Meredith Stone, Ph.D.; postdoctoral fellow Kate Chiappinelli, Ph.D.; and senior author Cynthia Zahnow, Ph.D., believe it could lead to a new way to attack ovarian cancer by strengthening the body’s natural immune response against … Continue reading

JHU Finds Why We Can’t Always Stop What We’ve Started


When we try to stop a body movement at the last second, perhaps to keep ourselves from stepping on what we just realized was ice, we can’t always do it — and Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have figured out why. Stopping a planned behavior requires extremely fast choreography between several distinct areas of the brain, the researchers found. If we change our mind about taking that step even a few milliseconds after the original “go” message has been sent to our muscles, we simply can’t stop our feet. “We have to process all of these pieces of information quickly,” said … Continue reading

Johns Hopkins Scientists Propose Efficiency ‘Rules’ for Enhancing Use of Gene Editing Technology


Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a streamlined method and accompanying efficiency “rules” for introducing new DNA sequences into cells after using the gene-cutting tool known as CRISPR. The scientists say the method, which they based on tests with mouse embryos and thousands of human cells, could improve consistency and efficiency of genome editing. The new method and its development are described online in the Nov. 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “CRISPR is a tool to help scientists modify the genome, predict the outcome of certain traits and study them, but the tool itself only creates breaks in … Continue reading