Posts Tagged ‘medical advances’

Revolutionary Research Underway with First-in-Man Clinical Trial for Hunter Syndrome

Hunter SyndromeAs an academic medical center, many physicians at Emory not only take care of patients on a daily basis, but also partake in research and teaching/training the future generations of physicians.

It’s through discovery that happens during clinical trials and research that allows for new advancements in medicine to be made. Providing the standard of care of is not always enough. New treatment therapies, technology and care delivery techniques must be developed, tested and perfected in order to keep advancing health care.

Not sure what clinical trials are? Check out our blog post that explains Clinical Trails>>

 
Currently happening at Emory is the first-in-man clinical trial, testing a newly developed drug for a rare genetic condition called mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPS II) or Hunter syndrome.

Hunter syndrome is a hereditary disease in which a critical enzyme is either missing, or there is not enough of it. Without enough of this enzyme, long chains of sugar molecules do not break down properly in the body and accumulate in the organs and tissues and become toxic.

To treat most cases of Hunter syndrome, an enzyme replacement medication is used, but this regimen does not cross into the brain to treat the most severe cases of Hunter syndrome. In this particular trial, Emory researchers are testing whether a man-made enzyme fused with an antibody and injected into the bloodstream will deliver the enzyme therapy into the brain. This is the first time this medication combination has been tested in a human.

The video below features Emory patient, Chris Dutcher. “By testing this new medication for the first time in a human, my hope is to help children with severe Hunter syndrome,” says Dutcher, whose younger brother also has the same disorder.

Chris has the mild version of Hunter syndrome, but his symptoms are still quite serious and involve the lining of the brain and spinal cord, which are not treated by existing medications. He is the first patient to receive the new treatment therapy.

More information about Hunter syndrome and this clinical trial can be found in the Emory News Center. Learn more about clinical trials at Emory Healthcare.

Related Resources

Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 4: What Questions Should You Ask Before Enrolling in a Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials QuestionsParticipation in clinical trials is 100% voluntary. While there are many benefits to participating in clinical trials, there can also be risks. If you have been offered a clinical trial, or are considering participating, it is important to talk with your physician before enrolling in one. Your health care team wants to make sure you have all the information needed to make a decision.

Do not hesitate to ask any questions or bring up any issues concerning the trial with the research team associated with the clinical trial. Tips for asking about clinical trials include:

  • Take a family member or caregiver with you for support and for help in asking questions and recording answers.
  • Plan questions ahead of time — you can still ask new questions you think of while you’re there, but it helps to be prepared ahead of time.
  • Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember to ask them all.
  • Write down the answers, so that you can review them whenever you want.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a list of suggestions that may be helpful to review as you think about the questions you may have:

Questions about the Study

  • What is the purpose?
  • Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
  • Who will fund the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Questions about Possible Risks/Benefits

  • What are my possible short-term benefits?
  • What are my possible long-term benefits?
  • What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
  • What are my possible long-term risks?
  • What other options do people with my disease have?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?

Questions about Participation and Care

  • What kinds of therapies, procedures and /or tests will I have during the trial?
  • Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
  • How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I have my medical care?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?

Questions about Personal Health Issues

  • How could being in this study affect my daily life?
  • Can I talk to other people in the study?

Questions about Financial Issues

  • Will I have to pay for any part of the trial such as tests or the study drug?
  • If so, what will the charges likely be?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
  • Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?

At Emory Healthcare, our physicians and researchers want to answer all your questions about clinical trials and research. View some of our frequently asked questions, or hear from our patients who have gone through clinical trials.

Related Resources

Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 3: What are the Phases of Clinical Trials?

Phases of Clinical TrialsThe goal of clinical trials is to determine if new treatments, drugs and care-delivery processes are safe and effective. Discovery and data collected from clinical research studies impacts patient care, here and now, while also informing future generations with the hope of achieving better outcomes. But clinical studies do not happen overnight, and in fact, some take years to yield enough information to answer specific questions they are designed to answer.

Clinical trials take place in “phases,” and each phase helps researchers answer specific questions. Learn more about the different phases of clinical trials below:

Phase I:

These trials are used to test brand new drugs, devices or procedures to find out how safe they are, including safest dose, and identify possible side effects. They usually involve 20 to 80 people.

Phase II:

These trials are used to further evaluate the effectiveness of a drug, device or procedure. The researchers keep track of any medical benefits, as well as side effects. They usually involve 100 to 300 people. At the end of Phase II trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and trial sponsors determine how Phase III trials will be conducted.

Phase III:

These trials compare a new treatment or procedure to current treatments to figure out which works better. Safety and level of effectiveness continued to be monitored, as well as side effects. They usually involve 1,000 to 8,000 people.

Phase IV:

Once a drug or procedure is approved by the FDA and made available to the public, researchers continue to study its safety to figure out the best use of the new treatment. Information is gathered on the drug’s long-term effectiveness in various populations, as well as adverse side effects associated with long-term use. In the video below, Dr. Donald Harvey walks through the different phases of cancer-specific clinical trials.

Related Resources

First Single-Site Gallbladder Surgery at EJCH

A surgical team at Emory Johns Creek Hospital performed their first single-site gallbladder surgery on Friday, April 27, 2012. During this minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, the patient’s gallbladder was removed via a single small incision in the belly button. The team removed the gallbladder using Single-Site™ instruments on a da Vinci® System. This robotic surgical system, which is widely used in complex minimally invasive surgery, allowed the surgeons to remove the gallbladder through an incision of approximately one inch. Traditional robotic surgeries require three to five small incisions.

Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour, with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

During the procedure, the surgeon sits at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy, and uses controls below the viewer to move the da Vinci Robot’s arms and camera. The system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist, and finger movements in real-time into the more precise movements of the tiny instruments inside the patient. Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery.

Dr. Christopher Hart, of Emory Johns Creek Surgery, PC, and medical director of the Atlanta Bariatric Center, is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who have received training in Single-Site gallbladder surgery, and Emory Johns Creek Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the state to perform the procedure. To learn more about this procedure, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/robotics.

Healthy Events
Bariatric Surgery Information Seminar
The next seminars will be held July 11, 12, 17, 26, and August 1, 8, 9, 21, and 23.
Emory Johns Creek Hospital
Physicians’ Plaza, Suite 109
6335 Hospital Parkway

Resources

No Needle, No Scalpel Vasectomy – Q&A with Emory’s Dr. Hsiao

Dr. Wayland Hsiao, Emory Urology

Dr. Wayland Hsiao

When the Urology Department of Emory Healthcare started offering no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomies as part of their men’s health treatment options, our ears perked up. Obviously, as the name implies, this type of vasectomy procedure allows doctors to forego the scalpel and needle combination used in traditional vasectomies, but what is used in their place? And what are the benefits? To get our questions answered, we went straight to the source, Emory’s own Dr. Wayland Hsiao, who is one of the surgeons performing the procedure. Our questions for Dr. Hsiao (and his answers) are below:

What exactly does it mean when we say no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy? Can you describe the procedure?

A vasectomy is a procedure in which when the outflow of sperm through the vas deferens is interrupted to stop the outflow of sperm. It is a permanent form of male contraception. The procedure has no effect on sexual function. The no-scalpel vasectomy is a technique that allows us to perform the vasectomy through a puncture. The puncture is made in the scrotum and requires no suturing or stitches.

When compared to the conventional vasectomy, the primary difference is that the vas deferens tissues and blood vessels are spread aside from the surgical site rather than cut with a knife. This is less traumatic, and results in less pain and fewer postoperative complications. To numb the patient before the vasectomy, a Madajet injector is used. This is a tool that facilitates a highly pressurized lidocaine (anesthetic) to be sprayed on and through the scrotal skin to numb the skin and the underlying vas deferens. No needle is used in this anesthetic technique.

So, in terms of how the procedure is performed, what are the biggest differences?

We are able to replace the traditional scalpel with a specially design sharp clamp, which alleviates the need for an incision. The traditional incision is replaced by a small puncture hole which seals itself after the procedure. We also replace the needle with an anesthetic spray (diffused via the Madajet injector) that is applied to the scrotal skin and the vas deferens itself.

What are the benefits to no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy?

Good question. There are several. With the no-scalpel vasectomy, there is less bleeding. In fact, the bleeding rate decreases from being seen in about 3% of patients down to 0.3%. In other words, there is 10 times lesser chance of bleeding. The infection rate after vasectomy is also decreased with the no-scalpel, no-needle technique. Infection is seen in 1.4% of patients with a traditional approach, while we only see infections inabout 0.1% of men undergoing the no-scalpel technique.

The bladeless vasectomy procedure is also faster, because the need for suturing is eliminated because there is no incision. The hole or puncture (2-3mm) created from the procedure will close up on its own.

Are there any risks associated with this procedure? If so, what are they?

The no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy doesn’t come with any additional risks that we don’t already see with the standard vasectomy procedure, which include the risk of hematoma (with no-scalpel, this risk is significantly lowered to less than 0.5 %) and infection. As is true with all vasectomy procedures, the procedure is not guaranteed to be 100% effective. The general post-vasectomy failure rate is less than 0.5 % (1 in 500 short term failure; 1 in 4500 long term failure).

How long does the no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy take?

The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

What can patients expect after the no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy?

Patients can expect to experience swelling of scrotom for 2-3 days and bruising for up to a week. They might also experience a feeling of heaviness or dragging testes for 2-3 weeks.

How long is the recovery? How soon can I have sex post-procedure?

To achieve full recovery, patients should wait approximately 2 weeks after the procedure before participating in intercourse, but men should consult with their physician for guidance here.

Related Resources:

Emory Home to Top Hospital in Atlanta, Nationally Ranked in 11 Specialties

Emory University Hospital Best in Atlanta

Besides the name Emory, what do our Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear Nose & Throat, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Heart & Heart Surgery, Kidney, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, and Urology programs have in common? According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 rankings of Best Hospitals, all of Emory’s above listed medical specialties are ranked amongst the top programs in the country.

U.S. News ranks top hospitals and specialty programs nationally every year. This year, they also conducted regional rankings of hospitals in 52 metro areas across the United States. In both polls, Emory was a standout. We are very pleased to announce that Emory University Hospital has been ranked as the best hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Emory is the only health care provider in Atlanta to have received over 10 national program specialty rankings. Aside from Emory, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (ranked separately in a category for Children’s Hospitals) was recognized with rankings in 9 specialties, and the Shepherd Center received 1 national program ranking. Meaning, of the 12 national hospital program rankings bestowed upon non-pediatric specific hospitals in the Atlanta area, Emory University Hospital received 11 of them.

What does this mean for you, our patients, families, and community members? It means that when you come to Emory, you get the type of patient-centered care you can’t find anywhere else in Atlanta or Georgia. It means that we continue to advance the possibilities with the latest medical research, technology, and process improvements that garner national recognition year after year. It also means that you can rest assured that as an Emory patient, you’re getting not only the level of care that’s expected by virtue of being a top national academic health care system, but the level of care expected by you, our community.

If you have any questions on the rankings, or just want to share your feedback, please feel free to use the comment field below.

Emory – 4th Largest Contributor to New Drug Discovery in U.S.

First announced in the February 10th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a new study has found that Emory is the fourth largest contributor to the discovery of new drugs and vaccines in the U.S. The contributors evaluated included federally funded universities, research hospitals, and federal laboratories.

The study found that public-sector research was involved in the discovery of as many as 20% of therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1990-2007. Through studying the FDA review process, the researchers also found that public sector research institutes “tend to discover drugs that are expected to have a disproportionately important clinical effect.”

To determine impact of various research organizations, researchers for the study identified 153 FDA-approved drugs and vaccines that were discovered at least in part by public-sector research institutions during the past 40 years. The top five contributors were:

  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) (22)
  • The University of California System (11)
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering (8)
  • Emory University (7)
  • Yale University (6)

The seven Emory products included HIV/AIDS drugs lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (FTC), discovered by Emory scientists Dennis Liotta, PhD, and Raymond Schinazi, PhD, and their former colleague Woo-Baeg Choi, PhD. These two drugs are among the most commonly used and most successful HIV/AIDS drugs in the world, taken in some form by more than 94 percent of U.S. patients on therapy and by thousands more globally.

Emory University President, James Wagner, is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Emory researchers and scientists, commenting, “this study illustrates once again that our nation’s long-standing and world-leading policy of investment in research through universities and other public institutions, along with the responsible use of technology transfer, delivers a tremendous return through improved health for millions, innovative technologies, economic development and training for the next generation of innovators.”

We thank our Emory scientists making new discoveries that allow Emory Healthcare to continue to advance the possibilities in patient-centered health care and improve health in our communities.

Putting Patients First – Advancing Brain Treatment Possibilities

Brain cancer injury informationFor those of us who watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, we were touched by a number of stories, conflicts, and hardships faced by Americans from all walks of life. Health care rhetoric aside, one story, that of James Howard from Katy, TX, was especially touching and relevant. Howard, who is only 28 years old, was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2010 and as we listened, we learned of his touching story and the barriers he faced in acquiring treatment. James Howard is not alone. There are many people out there like James Howard, who, without access to the latest medical treatments, wouldn’t be here.

While the debate regarding health care reform continues, what we at Emory can do is to provide access to the latest treatments to save lives like that of James Howard. And through our research and medical advances, that’s exactly what we’ve done for patients like Jennifer Giliberto, Gary Gelb, Neil Cullinan, and Donna Yancey, all of whom underwent brain surgery at Emory Healthcare.

Our neurosciences team of researchers, physicians, surgeons, and staff are dedicated to leading research and development in the world of brain injuries and cancers.

For example, Emory is one of the few places in the country offering minimally invasive neuro-endoscopic procedures for resection of deep-seated brain tumors and 3D endoscopic pituitary tumor removal. We’re also conducting groundbreaking research investigating solutions such as the use of magnetic nanoparticles for targeted imaging and therapy of brain cancer. This dedication advancing the medical possibilities is what drives everything we do, and our efforts aren’t going without recognition.

Recently, Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, chief of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory, was named president of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. With a mission to “improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families” through research, awareness, and support, the efforts of our team members such as Dr. Hadjipanayis and those of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation allow us to continue to advance the possibilities in the treatment of brain tumors and injuries.

We honor the dedication shown by our neurosciences team and its members such as Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, who are making strides in improving the lives of patients and families affected by brain injuries and cancers each and every day.

Why You Should Make Breast Health a Priority

breast health center

Second only to non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we invite you to take a look at our newly overhauled breast health resources online. In addition to updating all of our breast health information, we’ve also been making strides and medical advancements in how we diagnose breast cancer.

Emory is one of only three centers in the world using innovative breast imaging technology, dedicated breast CT, to gather information that would require 300 mammograms to collect. With the use of dedicated breast CT, doctors are hoping to reduce the number of false positives and make more accurate diagnoses from the technology’s ability to take over 300 pictures in just ten seconds.

Dedicated breast CT is used to help diagnose breast cancer in its early stages, when treatment is more likely to eradicate the cancer. Breast cancer death rates have dropped since the 1990s, mostly due to increased early detection and improvements in treatment. Early detection and awareness are two of our most valuable tools when it comes to fighting the battle against breast cancer.

Please remind a female friend or family member to schedule their routine breast health check-up. To schedule an appointment for breast imaging, please call: 404-778-PINK (404-778-7465)