2005 Press Releases

December 21, 2005
University of Chicago researchers license pharmacogenomics test for patients with colorectal cancer to Mayo Clinic
University of Chicago researchers have licensed a genetic test that determines which patients are likely to have a serious adverse reaction to irinotecan hydrochloride (Camptosar®), a key component of the standard first-line treatment for advanced cancers of the colon and rectum, to Mayo Clinic.

December 15, 2005
First U.S. trans-catheter replacement of a pulmonary valve performed at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital
On December 13, 2005, a team led by Ziyad Hijazi, MD, the George M. Eisenberg Professor of Pediatrics and chief of pediatric cardiology at the University of Chicago, performed the first trans-catheter pulmonary-valve replacement in the United States. The patient was Justin Reaves, a 16-year-old boy who urgently needed the procedure, but who was not a candidate for open-heart surgery and conventional heart valve replacement.

December 15, 2005
University of Chicago receives $1 million from Hughes Institute to support novel graduate program
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Chicago to support a graduate program in biophysical dynamics and self-organization, directed by Tobin Sosnick, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Institute of Biophysical Dynamics (IBD) at Chicago.

December 14, 2005
University of Chicago scientists find potential cause of breathing problems in Rett syndrome children
A multi-institutional team, led by University of Chicago researchers, has taken a crucial step toward understanding and treating Rett syndrome (RS), a rare and often misdiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder that affects one in 10,000 children--mostly females.

December 6, 2005
Rafael Viñoly and Cannon Design to design New Hospital Pavilion for the University of Chicago Hospitals
The University of Chicago Hospitals has engaged the architectural team of Rafael Viñoly Architects, of London and New York, and Cannon Design, of Grand Island, NY, to begin the process of conceptual design for a new hospital pavilion that will be devoted to complex specialty care, with a focus on cancer and advanced surgical programs.

December 1, 2005
Eugene Goldwasser to receive the 2005 Prince Mahidol Award
Eugene Goldwasser, PhD '50, the Alice Hogge and Arthur A. Baer professor emeritus of biochemistry at the University of Chicago, has been selected to receive the Prince Mahidol Award 2005, given for "outstanding performance and/or research in the field of medicine for the benefit of mankind."

December 1, 2005
Second annual American Girl Holiday Brunch honors 6-year-old celebrity
The second annual American Girl Holiday Brunch, to benefit the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, December 3, 2005, at American Girl Place, 111 E. Chicago Avenue. This year's event will honor Baylie Owen, 6, with the 2005 Comer American Girl Award.

November 29, 2005
University of Chicago lecture series to highlight breast cancer
The University of Chicago will add to the public's growing knowledge of breast cancer by explaining the genetics behind it during the annual Charles B. Huggins Lectures, which will be held from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday beginning January 14, 2006.

November 15, 2005
University of Chicago adds leading lung transplant team
One of the leading lung transplant teams in the United States is moving to the University of Chicago Hospitals this fall and will begin performing lung transplants as soon as February 2006.

November 8, 2005
South Side Health Collaborative holds forum to help residents find primary care 'home'
Anyone from the South Side of Chicago who is concerned about access to healthcare is invited to attend a forum to be held at the DuSable Museum of African American History on Tuesday, November 15, 2005, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

November 7, 2005
Brainstem blocks pain to protect key behaviors
Certain behaviors, such as eating, drinking, and urinating, are so crucial to survival that the brains of all vertebrates contain clusters of nerve cells that can suppress pain long enough to allow the animal to eat, drink--or pee--in peace.

November 7, 2005
Unrelated adults in the home associated with child-abuse deaths
Young children who live in households with one or more unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die from an inflicted injury, usually being shaken or struck, as children living with two biologic parents, report researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Chicago in the November 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

October 28, 2005
Conference examines role of chromosome changes in cancer
The University of Chicago will present a conference on "Chromosomes and Cancer: From Translocations to Targeted Therapies," on Monday, November 7, 2005, at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, in Chicago.

October 26, 2005
17th annual medical ethics conference to focus on global and personal issues
The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago will host its 17th annual conference on clinical medical ethics and patient care on November 11 to 12, 2005.

October 25, 2005
University of Chicago opens new center to focus on complex reproductive issues
On October 25, 2005, the University of Chicago moved its reproductive endocrinology and infertility services to a new state-of-the-art facility, the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility, located at 333 S. Desplaines Street, in Chicago’s West Loop area.

October 21, 2005
Conference examines social perspectives on health disparities
The Chicago Center of Excellence in Health Promotion Economics (CCEHPE) will present a conference on "Respecting Differences/Reducing Disparities: Social Science Perspectives on Health Disparities," on Friday, October 28, 2005, at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, Chicago.

October 18, 2005
Genetic testing for breast cancer could benefit minorities but is underused
Ten years after the identification of the first breast cancer susceptibility genes, so few high-risk minority women have received genetic counseling or testing that the standard methods of calculating risk have not been validated in these groups, and the results of genetic testing can still produce surprises.

October 18, 2005
Weight-loss surgery increasing, except for the poor
There will be nearly 10 times as many operations performed for weight loss in 2005 as there were in 1998, report researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California at Irvine in the October 19, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, but the groups that need surgery the most are not the ones driving the increase.

October 17, 2005
University of Chicago breaks ground for 10-story medical research facility
At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 17, 2005, the University of Chicago will break ground for a 330,760-square-foot, 10-story, blue-green, glass-walled, $162.5 million building that will provide a state-of-the-art home for translational research programs in children's health, cancer, pulmonary edema, and other medical specialties. It is scheduled to open in 2008.

October 17, 2005
University of Chicago to host conference on evolutionary developmental biology
The University of Chicago will sponsor the fourth biennial conference on evolutionary developmental biology, bringing together some of the biggest names in the field. The four-day symposium, "Developmental Basis of Evolutionary Change," will be held at various locations on the university campus October 20 to 23, 2005.

October 15, 2005
University of Chicago Hospitals offers screening for celiac disease
From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, 2005, representatives of the celiac disease center at the University of Chicago Hospitals expect to screen nearly 500 people for this common--but little known and under-diagnosed--disease.

September 30, 2005
University of Chicago partners with HHMI to offer unique graduate bioscience program
University of Chicago is partnering with Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to jointly train graduate students at Chicago and HHMI's new $500 million Janelia Farm Research Campus near Ashburn, Virginia.

September 23, 2005
Author Atul Gawande to speak at symposium honoring Ralph Muller, former CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals
Physician and author Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, assistant professor of surgery and health policy and management at Harvard University, and journalist, will be the keynote speaker at a symposium honoring Ralph Muller, the former president and CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System.

September 22, 2005
Troubling trends converge: Drug-resistant bacteria gaining genes for virulence
In a Brief Report in the September 22, 2005, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the University of Chicago describe three cases of rapidly progressive and ultimately fatal Staphylococcus aureus infections in small children.

September 20, 2005
University of Chicago cancer specialist receives 2005 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant"
Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, MD, a professor in the departments of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago and director of the Cancer Risk Clinic at the University of Chicago Hospitals, has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2005. She will receive $500,000 in "no-strings-attached" support over the next five years under terms of the award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

September 13, 2005
Cardiology researcher Richard Jones, MD, 1918-2005
Richard J. Jones, physician, medical researcher, and educator at the University of Chicago and later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, died from lung cancer on Tuesday, September 6, 2005 at Montgomery Place retirement home on the South Side of Chicago. He was age 87.

September 8, 2005
University of Chicago researchers find human brain still evolving
Human evolution, University of Chicago researchers report, is still under way in what has become our most important organ: the brain. In two related papers, published in the September 9, 2005, issue of Science, they show that two genes linked to brain size are rapidly evolving in humans.

August 15, 2005
Gradient guides nerve growth down spinal cord
The same family of chemical signals that attracts developing sensory nerves up the spinal cord toward the brain serves to repel motor nerves, sending them in the opposite direction, down the cord and away from the brain, report researchers at the University of Chicago in the September 2005 issue of Nature Neuroscience (available online August 14, 2005). The finding may help physicians restore function to people with paralyzing spinal cord injuries.

August 3, 2005
Nuclear medicine pioneer Paul Harper, 1915-2005
A pioneer in the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiation and the development and testing of radiotracers in the early days of nuclear medicine, Paul V. Harper, MD, professor emeritus in the departments of surgery and radiology at the University of Chicago, died at the Palliative Care Center and Hospice of the North Shore, in Evanston, Illinois, on July 15, 2005, from pneumonia after suffering complications of diabetes. He was 89.

August 3, 2005
Young patient pounds pavement to help families facing celiac disease
Leah Steans-Gail has had an unusually busy summer. The 8-year-old Chicago native camped, swam, and chased fireflies at night like other children her age. But Leah is no ordinary 8-year-old. She’s ran in five 5K races this year. On August 7, 2005, she’ll run in the Chicago Distance Classic 5K to raise funds for a cause that is close to her heart.

July 28, 2005
RPE meets EPR
Two studies from an unusual research partnership at the University of Chicago appear to have resolved a long-standing dispute about the role of melanin in the eye. The studies, one published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS) and one early online in the "Journal of the American Chemical Society" (JACS), also suggest a new way to prevent a common cause of blindness.

July 28, 2005
Studies reveal how plague disables immune system, and how to exploit the process to make a vaccine
Two studies by researchers at the University of Chicago show how the bacteria that cause the plague manage to outsmart the immune system and how, by slightly altering one of the microbe's tools, the researchers produced what may be the first safe and effective vaccine.

July 28, 2005
Immune system's distress signal tells bacteria when to strike back
The human opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has broken the immune system's code, report researchers from the University of Chicago, enabling the bacteria to recognize when its host is most vulnerable and to launch an attack before the weakened host can muster its defenses.

July 26, 2005
Psychiatry professor wins prestigious international prize
Elliot S. Gershon, MD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the Anna-Monika Prize for his research on the role of genetics in bipolar disorder.

July 15, 2005
Six-year-old is helping others learn about Chiari in a creative way
Baylie Owen is a generous entrepreneur. This 6-year-old from Houston is in the jewelry-making business to raise money for and bring awareness to a rare brain condition called Chiari malformation.

July 13, 2005
$15 million grant extends study of how genes affect cancer chemotherapy
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute have renewed funding for a research project based at the University of Chicago to investigate how a person's genes influence his or her response to anti-cancer drugs.

July 8, 2005
National survey again names University of Chicago Hospitals to the Honor Roll of the best US hospitals
The University of Chicago Hospitals have been selected as one of the best hospitals in the United States by U.S.News & World Report in its annual survey of America's 6,007 hospitals.

July 7, 2005
Inhaled nitric oxide protects the brains of high-risk premature infants
Researchers from the University of Chicago report that adding tiny amounts of nitric oxide to the oxygen given to premature infants on a mechanical ventilator in the first week of hospitalization reduced by nearly half the number of children with abnormal mental development at age 2.

July 5, 2005
Steiner symposium brings together leading diabetes experts
On Friday, July 15, 2005, 28 of the world's leading diabetes researchers will gather at the at the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th Street, to discuss their latest research and to celebrate the 75th birthday of Donald F. Steiner, MD, the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

June 22, 2005
Survey shows that physicians are more religious than expected
The first study of physician religious beliefs has found that 76 percent of doctors believe in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife. The survey, performed by researchers at the University of Chicago and published (early online) in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 90 percent of doctors in the United States attend religious services at least occasionally, compared to 81 percent of all adults. Fifty-five percent of doctors say their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine.

June 22, 2005
University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital launches March of Dimes support project for families of premature infants
The University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital is the first pediatric facility in Illinois chosen by the March of Dimes to begin its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Family Support Project. The three-year program addresses the needs of families of premature or critically ill newborns throughout their hospital stay, during the transition from NICU to home, and in the event of a child's death.

June 6, 2005
University of Chicago study overturns conventional theory in evolution
A study by University of Chicago researchers contradicts conventional theory by showing that the percentage of mutations accepted in evolution is also strongly swayed by the speed at which new mutations arrive at a gene.

May 31, 2005
Senator Barack Obama and Meredith Baxter to speak at University of Chicago Hospitals cancer survivors celebration
United States Senator Barack Obama and actress, singer, and breast cancer survivor Meredith Baxter will anchor an all-star cast at the University of Chicago Hospitals' 15th annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration on Sunday, June 5, 2005.

May 23, 2005
Chicago's Wei-Jen Tang receives one of first federal Bioshield awards
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded Wei-Jen Tang, PhD, associate professor in the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago, more than $440,000 for his efforts to develop therapies to block the action of anthrax edema factor, a toxin that produces severe swelling, tissue damage, and death in human cells.

May 23, 2005
University of Chicago student-athlete wins cycling championship
To win the 2005 Collegiate Road Cycling National Championship on May 13, Todd Yezefski, a first-year PhD candidate in the cancer biology program at the University of Chicago, had to overcome fierce competition from his fellow riders--and foul weather.

May 19, 2005
As morphine turns 200, drug that blocks its side effects reveals new secrets
On May 21, 2005, the world of medicine will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the crystallization of morphine in Einbeck, Germany. Despite many side effects, morphine remains the standard for postoperative pain relief. The University of Chicago's Jonathan Moss will speak at a commemorative conference in Einbeck on how methylnaltrexone, developed at the University to block morphine's troubling side effects, enables scientists to distinguish between morphine's desired central analgesic effects and its undesireable peripheral effects.

May 17, 2005
Higher mesalamine dose more effective in moderately active ulcerative colitis
Two recent studies have found that for patients with moderately active ulcerative colitis, beginning treatment with twice the standard dose of mesalamine--4.8 grams per day rather than 2.4 grams--was more effective with no increase in side effects.

May 13, 2005
University of Chicago researchers reveal secrets of snake flight
On the cover of the May 15, 2005, issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, University of Chicago researchers described the effects of size and behavior of flying snakes, and found that the smaller animals were better gliders.

May 12, 2005
Tamoxifen-like drug suggests new ways to selectively block estrogen
The ability of an experimental drug known as GW5638 to change the shape of the estrogen receptor is helping researchers understand why drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene behave the way they do, simulating the effects of estrogen in some tissues and blocking it in others.

May 9, 2005
Michelle Obama appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals
Michelle Obama has been appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Obama, who was previously the executive director for community affairs at the Hospitals, will be responsible for all programs and initiatives that involve the relationship between the Hospitals and the community.

May 5, 2005
Candle-lighting ceremony honors nurses at the University of Chicago Hospitals who served in the military
As part of a week-long celebration of nursing, three nurses from the armed forces will talk about their experience in war-torn countries.

May 1, 2005
Joe G.N. Garcia appointed chairman of medicine at the University of Chicago
Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD--a leading authority on lung biology and disease; the genetics, prevention, and treatment of pulmonary edema; and the molecular biology of blood vessels--has been appointed the Lowell T. Coggeshell Professor and chairman of the department of medicine.

April 22, 2005
Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Denis Savard, team mascot Tommy Hawk to visit pediatric patients
Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame Denis Savard and team mascot Tommy Blackhawk will visit patients and families at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

April 19, 2005
Alcohol-impaired driving on the increase, study shows
A national survey has found that after a long, slow downward trend alcohol-impaired driving has recently increased significantly.

April 18, 2005
Study reveals dramatic difference between breast cancers in Caucasian and African women
A study comparing, for the first time, breast cancers from Nigeria, Senegal and North America has found that women of African ancestry are more likely to be diagnosed with a more virulent form of the disease than women of European ancestry.

April 18, 2005
Jorge A. Solis elected to University of Chicago Hospitals Board
Jorge A. Solis was elected to the University of Chicago Hospitals board of trustees at their winter meeting.

April 7, 2005
Protein tags regulate key ion channel
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that a recently discovered biological process known as sumoylation--until now thought to be active only in the nucleus--also occurs near the cell's surface, where it regulates at least one (possibly many) kinds of proteins and provides a novel target for the development of new drugs.

April 1, 2005
Infectious disease specialist Paul Arnow, 1946-2005
An authority on hospital-acquired infections, prevention of infections in transplant and ICU patients, and Legionnaires' disease, Paul M. Arnow, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago from 1979 to 2002, died on March 28.

April 1, 2005
New generation of multi-channel CT scanners brings diagnostic power and speed
The second 64-slice computed tomography scanner ever produced by Philips Medical Imaging, and the first to reach the United States, has been installed and is now in clinical use at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

March 23, 2005
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris, mascot Staley will visit patients in Chicago Comer Children's Hospital
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris and the team's mascot Staley will pay a special visit to pediatric patients at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital to kick off the new Bears Hugs program that was developed by the Chicago Bears.

March 21, 2005
Howard Hughes Medical Institute commits support to two University of Chicago scientists
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute today announced the selection of two University of Chicago scientists as new HHMI investigators. Albert Bendelac, Professor in Pathology, and Milan Mrksich, Professor in Chemistry, are among 43 investigators nationwide chosen by HHMI in a national competition.

March 18, 2005
Nuclear medicine pioneer Katherine Austin Lathrop, 1915-2005
A pioneer in the study of the biological effects of radiation, the development and testing of radiotracers in the early days of nuclear medicine and a member of the Manhattan Project, Katherine A. Lathrop, professor emerita in the department of radiology at the University of Chicago, died at a nursing home in Las Cruses, New Mexico, on March 10, 2005, from natural causes. She was 89.

March 15, 2005
Match Day sets course for future physicians March 17
On March 17, 109 University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine students will participate in Match Day--an annual rite of spring when medical students across the country simultaneously discover where they will do their residency training next year.

March 14, 2005
Hospitals open "Wellness Room" to help patients cope with the emotional side of cancer
Generous gifts from Lori and Bruce Ovitz equip room for make-up lessons, patient massage

March 11, 2005
Enriched environment delays onset of Alzheimer's in mice
A research group based at the University of Chicago has found that an enriched environment--in this case more chances to exercise, explore and interact with others--can dramatically reduce the biological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in mice that are genetically predisposed to the disorder.

February 28, 2005
University of Chicago symposium focuses on technologies and clinical investigations of cancer genetics
A two-day conference at the University of Chicago will explore the roles of genes and their functions when applied to cancer biology and the novel technologies used in investigating cancer at a genetic level.

February 15, 2005
Patients to move into new University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital on Saturday, Feb. 19
After months of planning and two practice moves, University of Chicago Hospitals employees and volunteers will take on the challenge of moving pediatric patients, including children in the neonatology and pediatric intensive care units, into the brand new University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.

February 11, 2005
Prehistoric jawbone reveals evolution repeating itself
A 115-million-year-old fossil of a tiny egg-laying mammal thought to be related to the platypus provides compelling evidence of multiple origins of acute hearing in humans and other mammals.

February 8, 2005
Physicians recommend screening for toxoplasmosis for all pregnant women, newborns become standard medical practice
Physicians found that signs, symptoms, and identifiable risk factors are absent in more than half of the mothers of infants with congenital toxoplasmosis in a national study of children with this disease.

January 28, 2005
Introducing the new University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital
A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31, 2005, to celebrate the upcoming opening of the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, the newest pediatric hospital in the city.

January 24, 2005
Study shows drugs such as Vioxx and Celebrex were widely over-used long before recent problems
In the January 25, 2005, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago and Stanford University School of Medicine use data from the National Center for Health Statistics to show that most of the growth in COX-2 use between 1999 and 2002 occurred in patients at little risk for side effects from the drugs COX-2s were developed to replace.

January 18, 2005
Study of CPR quality reveals frequent deviation from guidelines
New technology has allowed researchers from the University of Chicago to measure, for the first time, how closely well-trained hospital staff comply with established guidelines for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The results reveal room for improvement.

January 11, 2005
Physician response to conflicts between faith and medicine
How do doctors interpret and respond to conflicts between their best medical advice and a patient's religious concerns? A study in the January 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that such conflicts are not uncommon.

January 10, 2005
Searle grant stimulates new collaborative initiative among Chicago-area universities
To help position Chicago as a leader in the emerging field of proteomics, the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust have awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) for the Proteomics/Bioinformatics Demonstration Project.

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