Split Liver Transplants Could Safely Help Sickest Children

Analysis of donors, recipients and surgical approaches reveals optimal combinations This article features the work of ICTR researcher Dorry Segev MD, PhD In a review of registry data for more than 5,300 liver transplants performed in children nationwide, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers identify the type of patient who is most likely to survive a split liver transplant—receiving only part of a donor’s liver—with no additional long-term health risks, which could allow for an increase in the availability of organs. A report on the new study is published in the December issue of the journal Liver Transplantation. “Kids dying while on the … Continue reading

Vaccine, Checkpoint Drugs Combination Shows Promise for Pancreatic Cancers

  Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered a combination of a cancer vaccine with two checkpoint drugs reduced pancreatic cancer tumors in mice, demonstrating a possible pathway for treatment of people with pancreatic cancers whose response to standard immunotherapy is poor. Results of the experiments combining an immune system booster vaccine called PancVAX with two checkpoint drugs derived from anti-PD-1 and agonist OX40 antibodies were published in the journal JCI Insight in October 2018. The findings showed by using PancVAX with the checkpoint drugs, pancreatic tumors had a better response to therapy by converting T cell-poor tumors … Continue reading

Apply for NCATS Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Funding

The deadline to apply for 2018 Omnibus Solicitation funding though NCATS’ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs is Jan. 7, 2019, 5:00 p.m. local time. SBIR: PA-18-574 STTR: PA-18-575 Small businesses and research organizations involved in commercializing innovative medical technologies are encouraged to apply. NCATS is particularly interested in applications that address research areas relevant to any stage of translation, from target validation through pre-clinical and clinical evaluation, to intervention implementation and dissemination, including: Drug Discovery and Development Biomedical, Clinical and Health Research Informatics Clinical, Dissemination and Implementation Research SBIR and STTR applicants can apply for Phase I and Phase II funding. … Continue reading

NCATS Announces HEAL Design Challenges to Inspire Innovative Opioid Crisis Solutions

NCATS invites innovators to submit novel design solutions for its ASPIRE (A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration) Design Challenges. Supported through the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM (HEAL) Initiative, the goal of the Challenges is to reward and spur innovative and catalytic approaches toward solving the opioid crisis through development of: (1) novel chemistries; (2) data-mining and analysis tools and technologies; and (3) biological assays that will revolutionize discovery, development and pre-clinical testing of next generation, safer and non-addictive analgesics to treat pain, as well as new treatments for opioid use disorder and overdose. NCATS anticipates that this … Continue reading

Pushing Closer to a New Cancer-Fighting Strategy

Protrusions on cells lend clues to molecular pathway that could offer new cancer targets A molecular pathway that’s frequently mutated in many different forms of cancer becomes active when cells push parts of their membranes outward into bulging protrusions, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study. The finding, published Nov. 7 in Nature Communications, could eventually lead to new targets for cancer-fighting therapeutics. This pathway, known as Ras-ERK, involves two important families of proteins. The first, known as Ras, is a group of enzymes that sends signals from the cell membrane to activate other proteins inside the cells. These … Continue reading

New Molecular Tool Identifies Sugar-Protein Attachments

Methodology could lead to identification of new markers for cancers, other diseases Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have developed a new molecular tool they call EXoO, which decodes where on proteins specific sugars are attached—a possible modification due to disease. The study, published in issue 14 of Molecular Systems Biology, describes the development of the tool and its successful use on human blood, tumors and immune cells. Half of all proteins made in human cells have sugar molecules attached to them, the most common of which are N-glycans and O-glycans. Until now, O-glycans have been more difficult to study because … Continue reading

HIV in Liver Cells Found to be Inactive, Narrowing Potential Treatment Targets

New study reveals that the largest population of human tissue macrophages, liver macrophages, do not contain infectious forms of HIV In a proof-of-principle study, researchers at Johns Hopkins revealed that certain immune system cells found in the human liver, called liver macrophages, contain only inert HIV and aren’t likely to reproduce infection on their own in HIV-infected people on long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is a regimen containing combinations of HIV-targeting drugs that prevents the growth of the virus but does not eradicate it. The report on the findings, published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, … Continue reading

Distinguishing Child Polio-Like Illness from Similar Diseases

Johns Hopkins researchers have analyzed patient data from 45 cases of what they thought was acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like outbreak occurring in U.S. children, and realized that only 75 percent of diagnosed cases were AFM. The researchers say they hope that clearer diagnostic criteria identified in their study, published on Nov. 30 in JAMA Pediatrics, will help patients receive the right treatment for their diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) defines AFM as weakness in one or more arms or legs as well as damage to the gray matter of the spinal cord as detected … Continue reading

SAFE Desktop Update

Dear SAFE User Community: I wanted to share some good news with you: beginning Monday, December 3, when you log in to the SAFE desktop, you will connect to an upgraded desktop with 16 GB of memory (RAM) and 6  processors (CPU). The current hardware supports 8 GB of RAM and 4 CPUs. We value your input and constructive feedback. If you have any issues with using the SAFE desktop or with the applications provisioned with the desktop, please call the IT Help Desk at 410-955-HELP (4357) so that a support ticket can be logged and escalated to the correct … Continue reading

Essential Oils Kill Persister Lyme Disease Bacteria

Laboratory study hints that plant compounds may be better than current antibiotics at treating persistent Lyme bacteria and associated symptoms Oils from garlic and several other common herbs and medicinal plants show strong activity against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. These oils may be especially useful in alleviating Lyme symptoms that persist despite standard antibiotic treatment, the study also suggests. The study, published Oct. 16 in the journal Antibiotics, included lab-dish tests of 35 essential oils—oils that are pressed from plants or their fruits and … Continue reading

Osteoporosis Risk Rises Sharply Even for Younger Breast Cancer Survivors

Study results suggest that common breast cancer therapies induce bone loss, even for women age 50 or younger Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are 50 or younger face a much higher risk of the bone-loss condition osteoporosis compared to women of the same age who do not have cancer. The findings, which complement prior research showing higher bone-loss risk in older breast cancer survivors, come from a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study, published Nov. 13 in the journal Breast Cancer Research, compared the rates of osteoporosis and a less severe bone-loss … Continue reading