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ICTR in the News: ‘Epigenetic’ Changes From Cigarette Smoke May be First Step in Lung Cancer Development


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Stephen Baylin, M.D., the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research and professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have preliminary evidence in laboratory-grown, human airway cells that a condensed form of cigarette smoke triggers so-called “epigenetic” changes in the cells consistent with the earliest steps toward lung cancer development. Epigenetic processes are essentially switches that control a gene’s potentially heritable levels of protein production but without involving changes to underlying structure of a gene’s DNA. One … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Untreated Sleep Apnea Shown to Raise Metabolic and Cardiovascular Stress


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Jonathan Jun, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sleep apnea, left untreated for even a few days, can increase blood sugar and fat levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, according to a new study of sleeping subjects. A report of the study’s findings, published in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, adds further support for the consistent use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a machine that increases air pressure in the throat to keep the airway open during … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Unneeded Medical Care is Common and Driven by Fear of Malpractice, Physician Survey Concludes


The following article contains contributions from ICTR researchers Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Daniel Brotman, M.D., professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Patient demand and profit motives also factor in A new national survey of more than 2,000 physicians across multiple specialties finds that physicians believe overtreatment is common and mostly perpetuated by fear of malpractice, as well as patient demand and some profit motives. A report on the findings, published Sept. 6 in PLOS ONE, highlights physicians’ perspectives on unnecessary … Continue reading

Apply to NCATS Biomedical Data Translator Program


NCATS is accepting applications to develop reasoning tool prototypes for its Biomedical Data Translator (Translator) program. Candidates must complete a series of computational tasks to submit the required concept letter that is due September 22, 2017. Through its Translator program, NCATS aims to develop a computational platform that brings together disconnected biomedical data types. The goal is to reveal complex relationships that help scientists better understand disease behavior and biology, and develop treatment options. Read the announcement. View the funding opportunity. Access the challenge. Learn more about Translator

ICTR in the News: Johns Hopkins Health System Reduces Unnecessary Transfusions With New Blood Management Program


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Steven Frank, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Multi-hospital effort across Johns Hopkins system improves care and saves money, investigators say A five-year effort across the Johns Hopkins Health System to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions and improve patient care has also resulted in an annual cost savings of more than $2 million, researchers report. A summary of the blood management program, published September 7 in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Combined DNA and Protein ‘Liquid Biopsy’ for Early Pancreatic Cancer Better Than Either Alone


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researchers Jin He, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bert Vogelstein, M.D., co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and Kenneth W. Kinzler, Co-Director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins scientists say they have developed a blood test that spots tumor-specific DNA and protein biomarkers for early-stage pancreatic cancer. The combined “liquid biopsy” identified the markers in the blood of 221 patients with the early-stage disease. Their results, published online the week of Sept. 4 in the … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Love Your Beauty Rest? You Can Thank These Brain Cells


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Seth Blackshaw, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Researchers find new sleep-promoting cells Johns Hopkins researchers report the unexpected presence of a type of neuron in the brains of mice that appears to play a central role in promoting sleep by turning ‘off’ wake-promoting neurons. The newly identified brain cells, located in a part of the hypothalamus called the zona incerta, they say, could offer novel drug targets to treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia and narcolepsy, caused by the dysfunction of sleep-regulating neurons. A … Continue reading

Proposals Due for NCATS Collaborative Pre-Clinical Development Programs


NCATS is accepting proposals to collaborate with its Bridging Interventional Development Gaps (BrIDGs) and Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program scientists. Proposals are due September 30, 2017. BrIDGs scientists collaborate with researchers to advance candidate therapeutics for both common and rare diseases into clinical testing. TRND researchers and their collaborators move new therapeutic candidates through pre-clinical testing, from lead optimization to submission of an investigational new drug application. Learn how to collaborate with BrIDGs. Learn how to collaborate with TRND.

ICTR in the News: Inflammation Required for “Smell” Tissue Regeneration


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Andrew Lane, M.D., professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In a mouse study designed to understand how chronic inflammation in sinusitis damages the sense of smell, scientists at Johns Hopkins say they were surprised to learn that the regeneration of olfactory tissue requires some of the same inflammatory processes and chemicals that create injury and loss of smell in the first place. In a report on their findings, published in the August 8 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the … Continue reading

Register Now for NCATS’ Stem Cell Translational Science Workshop


On Sept. 26, 2017, NCATS will host the Workshop on Translational Challenges of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The event will include discussions about iPSC collaborative opportunities and best practices in translational iPSC research. Workshop goals include: • Highlighting the biological and technological challenges of advancing iPSCs into clinical applications and drug discovery; • Evaluating the state-of-the field of iPSC translation and discussing critical steps for quality control, standardization and reproducibility; • Discussing methods of protocol development/optimization and molecular and functional analyses; and • Seeking input from … Continue reading

ICTR in the News: Brain’s Self-Regulation in Teens at Risk for Obesity


The following article profiles work performed by ICTR researcher Susan Carnell, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and core faculty member of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In a small study that scanned the brains of teenagers while exposing them to tempting “food cues,” researchers report that reduced activity in the brain’s “self-regulation” system may be an important early predictor of adult obesity. The researchers used functional MRI (fMRI) scans on 36 New York teenagers to measure neural responses to food … Continue reading