2006 Press Releases

December 25, 2006
Complexity constrains evolution of human brain genes
Despite the explosive growth in size and complexity of the human brain, the pace of evolutionary change among the thousands of genes expressed in brain tissue has actually slowed since the split, millions of years ago, between human and chimpanzee, an international research team reports in the December 26, 2006, issue of the journal, PLOS Biology.

December 21, 2006
National leader in childhood cancer research joins University of Chicago Medical Center team
Susan L. Cohn, MD, a leader in neuroblastoma research, has been named professor of pediatrics, section chief of clinical sciences at the Institute for Molecular Pediatric Sciences and director of clinical research in pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, effective January 1, 2007.

December 21, 2006
University of Chicago lecture series to highlight 'personalized medicine'
This winter, University of Chicago experts will shed light on the emerging idea of "personalized medicine" by applying this popular but poorly understood term to cancer. In a series of eight lectures--the fifth annual Charles B. Huggins Lecture Series--a cancer specialist will explain why personalized medicine may represent the future of cancer care.

December 8, 2006
University of Chicago Cancer Research Center awarded $11.5 million SPORE grant for breast cancer research
The National Cancer Institute has awarded a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant to the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center for a series of projects designed to benefit women at high risk for breast cancer.

December 8, 2006
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society awards $5 million to University of Chicago researchers
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has awarded a $5.25 million Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant to Michael Thirman, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of leukemia biology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

December 7, 2006
Holiday Brunch salutes young woman of courage
The third annual Holiday Brunch to benefit The University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital will honor 11-year-old Déjà King at American Girl on Sunday, December 10.

December 7, 2006
Robert Wissler, MD, PhD, 1917-2006
A leading expert on the role of diet in the development, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, Robert W. Wissler, MD, PhD, professor emeritus in the department of pathology at the University of Chicago, died from complications from an infection on Tuesday, November 28.

December 5, 2006
University of Chicago Medical Center opens new state-of-the-art children's emergency department
The City of Chicago's newest and most advanced pediatric emergency department opens 8 a.m. on December 6, 2006, at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. The Comer Emergency Department contains the most up-to-date facilities for children with complex surgical and medical needs.

November 30, 2006
Stem cell expert to enhance pediatric hematology/oncology programs at the University of Chicago Medical Center
John Cunningham, MD, a leader in treating hemoglobinopathies and genetic blood disorders, has accepted a position with pediatric hematology/oncology and stem cell transplantation at the University of Chicago Medical Center, effective December 1.

November 29, 2006
Conference focuses on how neighborhoods affect education, employment, and health
This one-day conference, "Causal Inference in Neighborhood-based Research," will bring together preeminent thinkers in the field to assess research on the impact of neighborhoods. Does a neighborhood affect health and other outcomes or is where people choose to live simply a marker for other, more crucial factors?

November 21, 2006
Baby saved by aunt's generosity
Thanksgiving came early for the Aguinaga-Robles family. Olga Robles, Alberto Aguinaga and their six children have much for which to be grateful. On Oct. 23, the youngest of the family, 10-month-old Selena Aguinaga received a living-donor liver transplant at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

November 15, 2006
Risk after colon cancer higher for very fat and very thin
Even after successful treatment for colon cancer, the very obese are about one-third more likely to have their cancer recur and to die prematurely from cancer than those of normal weight, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh report in the November 15, 2006, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

November 15, 2006
Genetic study of Neanderthal DNA reveals early split between humans and Neanderthals
In the most thorough study to date of the Neanderthal genome, scientists suggest an early human-Neanderthal split. The two species have a common ancestry, say the authors, but do not share much else after evolving their separate ways. The study, published in this week's issue of Science, also finds no evidence of genetic admixture between Neanderthals and humans.

November 14, 2006
Anti-cancer drug shows early promise in pulmonary hypertension
A drug used to treat kidney cancer can prevent the development of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) in rodents, report researchers from the University of Chicago at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Heart Association, November 12 to15, in Chicago. There is no curative therapy for this condition.

November 14, 2006
Ludwig Fund donates $20 million to University of Chicago for cancer research
The Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, created by American billionaire Daniel K. Ludwig, today announced that it has donated $20 million to each of six leading cancer research institutions--including the University of Chicago--to create Ludwig Centers for cancer research. This $120 million donation will provide an immediate boost to cancer research. Subsequent distributions from the Ludwig Fund over the next seven years should enable each Ludwig Center to build a self-sustaining endowment.

November 2, 2006
David Hefner to become president of University of Chicago Medical Center
David S. Hefner, an experienced health system executive and national academic medical center consultant, has been appointed President of the University of Chicago Medical Center. He will begin serving on a part-time basis on November 1, 2006, while he completes his transition from current client responsibilities, and become full time December 1.

October 26, 2006
Scientists find lamprey a 'living fossil'
Scientists from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the University of Chicago have uncovered a remarkably well-preserved fossil lamprey from the Devonian period that reveals today's lampreys as "living fossils" since they have remained largely unaltered for 360 million years.

October 23, 2006
Compliance with medications lowers healthcare costs
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who take medications as directed have decreased medical costs, researchers from the University of Chicago researchers report at the American College of Gastroenterology annual scientific meeting in Las Vegas. A second study from the same group, however, suggests that there is no simple way to improve compliance.

October 20, 2006
Eighteenth annual clinical-medical-ethics conference to focus on healthcare reform and decision making
The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago will host its 18th annual conference on Friday and Saturday, November 10 to 11, 2006, at the Max Palevsky theater in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, on the University of Chicago campus.

October 11, 2006
Structure of enzyme offers treatment clues for diabetes, Alzheimer's
Researchers from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have deciphered the three-dimensional structure of insulin-degrading enzyme, a promising target for new drugs because it breaks down not only insulin but also the amyloid-beta protein, which has been linked to the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease.

October 10, 2006
International conference focuses on mesothelioma
The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine will host the eighth conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) from Thursday, October 19, through Sunday, October 22, 2006, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water Street in Chicago.

October 9, 2006
Drug may help women stop smoking
Adding the opiate blocker naltrexone to the combination of behavioral therapy and nicotine patches boosted smoking cessation rates for women by almost 50 percent when assessed after eight weeks of treatment, but made no difference for men, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the October 2006 issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

October 4, 2006
Gary Comer, 1927-2006
Gary C. Comer, founder of the Lands' End clothing-catalogue company and long-term supporter of projects to help children, especially those on the South Side of Chicago, died today from cancer at his home in Chicago.

October 3, 2006
U.S. Equities Comer Kids' Classic hits four-year mark
The U.S. Equities Comer Kids' Classic, a 5K run/walk to benefit the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, begins Saturday, October 7 at 10:00 a.m.

September 29, 2006
Lawrence Pottenger, MD, PhD, 1944-2006
An orthopedic surgeon with a particular interest in arthritis, the orthopedic problems in the elderly and improving artificial joints, Lawrence A. Pottenger, MD, PhD, associate professor emeritus of surgery and pathology at the University of Chicago, died September 25th at the University of Chicago Hospitals from complications of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

September 22, 2006
For super-obese patients, duodenal switch beats gastric bypass
In the first large, single-institution series directly comparing weight-loss outcomes in super-obese patients, researchers from the University of Chicago found that a newer operation, the duodenal switch, produced substantially better weight-loss outcomes than the standard operation, the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

September 18, 2006
Sleep study adds to links between sleep loss and diabetes
Short or poor quality sleep is associated with reduced control of blood-sugar levels in African Americans with diabetes, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the September 18, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The finding suggests that one inexpensive way to improve the health of patients with type 2 diabetes might be to improve the duration and quality of their sleep.

September 11, 2006
Molecular medicine comes to the rescue
On Monday, August 14, Lilly Jaffe, a six-year-old North Shore suburban girl who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was one month old, checked into the Clinical Research Center at the University of Chicago Medical Center. On Friday, August 18, she checked out, starting to make her own insulin, well on her way to insulin independence, and ready to get in a few days of beach time in Michigan before starting first grade.

September 4, 2006
Satalic appointed deputy general counsel at University of Chicago Medical Center
John Satalic has been appointed deputy general counsel at the University of Chicago Medical Center, effective September 4, 2006. In this position, he will assist in the supervision of the medical-legal staff, which includes six other lawyers, and help address all legal issues facing the Medical Center.

August 29, 2006
University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System and Humana announce agreement
University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System and Humana Inc. announced today the signing of a contract under which University of Chicago will provide healthcare services to individuals and families participating in Humana commercial health insurance plans.

August 26, 2006
University of Chicago celebrates those with a new heart
The University of Chicago Heart Transplant Team, including Valluvan Jeevanandam, MD, chief of cardiac and thoracic surgery, and Allen Anderson, MD, medical director of the Cardiac Transplant Service, will host 250 heart transplant recipients and their families.

August 24, 2006
Researchers map out networks that determine cell fate
A two-step process appears to regulate cell fate decisions for many types of developing cells, according to researchers from the University of Chicago.

August 21, 2006
Sculptor Jeffrey Breslow exhibits new works
Artist Jeffrey Breslow, owner of Big Monster Toys, will unveil 16 sculptures at the Harold Washington Public Library on September 9, 2006. Each piece comes with a story, including a sculpture of Riley Johnson, a toddler with Chiari malformation and pseudotumor cerebri.

August 2, 2006
Jeffrey Matthews appointed chairman of surgery at the University of Chicago
Gastrointestinal surgeon Jeffrey Matthews, MD, a leading authority on the surgical treatment of diseases of the pancreas, bile ducts and liver, and a prominent scientist known for his fundamental research on defects in chloride transport in epithelial tissue, has been appointed chairman of surgery at the University of Chicago, effective October 1, 2006.

August 2, 2006
Heat waves kill in areas without business to draw out elderly
Severe heat waves kill more people in neighborhoods where there are few inviting businesses to draw older people out of their apartments, new research suggests. A study of the 1995 heat wave in Chicago found higher-than-average mortality rates in areas where businesses were run-down, and dominated by liquor stores and bars.

July 27, 2006
Philip Hoffmann, PhD, 1936-2006
A respected neuropharmacologist and a revered teacher, Philip C. Hoffmann, PhD, professor emeritus in the department of neurobiology, pharmacology and physiology at the University of Chicago, died Friday, July 21, at the University of Chicago's Bernard Mitchell Hospital after a long battle with prostate cancer.

July 21, 2006
Novel technique used to remove tumor in infant's liver
On June 28, infant Chloe Lobins received a liver resection--removal of part of the organ--and a new chance at life at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Born prematurely and diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, Lobins is believed to be the smallest infant ever to undergo massive liver resection for a primary liver cancer.

July 19, 2006
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana break ground for new house
On its 20th year of serving the growing and diverse needs of families with children receiving medical attention and as a dedicated partner to the Hyde Park community, the Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital is getting a new home of its own.

July 14, 2006
Maria Medenica, MD, 1924-2006
Maria M. Medenica, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and an authority on the use of electron microscopy in the diagnosis of skin diseases, died Monday, June 25, 2006, at her home in Lincoln Park. She was 81.

July 12, 2006
Brain-computer link lets paralyzed patients convert thoughts into actions
A multi-institutional team of researchers has found that people with long-standing, severe paralysis can generate signals in the area of the brain responsible for voluntary movement and these signals can be detected, recorded, routed out of the brain to a computer and converted into actions--enabling a paralyzed patient to perform basic tasks.

July 7, 2006
National survey places University of Chicago Hospitals in top one percent for most specialties
The University of Chicago Hospitals is rated as one of the best in the United States and the highest ranked in Illinois according to U.S.News & World Report in its annual survey of America's 5,189 hospitals.

July 3, 2006
New study shows people sleep even less than they think: Whites, women and wealthy sleep longer, better
A study of the sleep characteristics of 669 middle-aged adults found that people sleep much less than they should, and even less than they think. Published in the July issue in the
American Journal of Epidemiology
, the study also found that blacks sleep less than whites, men sleep less than women, and the poor sleep less than the wealthy.

June 14, 2006
Valerie Jarrett to lead expanded Board of University of Chicago Medical Center
The Trustees of the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Hospitals have passed measures designed to better integrate governance and operations. The new governance model expands the purview of the Hospitals Board to include not just the activities of the Hospitals but also clinical medical programs located in the University’s Division of the Biological Sciences.

June 6, 2006
$10 million from Duchossois family to support cancer research
The Duchossois family, longtime champions of science and medicine at the University of Chicago, has made a donation of $10 million to support research on cancer and the study of metastasis at the university. The gift is the fourth in a series of eight-figure gifts donated this year to the university's "Spark Discovery, Illuminate Life" campaign. Together, these four gifts total more than $100 million.

June 5, 2006
Small naps a big help for young docs on long shifts
The first study to assess the benefits of naps for medical residents during extended shifts found that creating protected times when interns could sleep during a night on-call significantly reduced fatigue.

May 26, 2006
Cardiac surgeon Robert Karp, 1934-2006
A pioneer in heart surgery and transplantation, Robert B. Karp, MD, professor emeritus of surgery and the former section chief of cardiac surgery at the University of Chicago, and his wife, Sondra, died May 18, 2006, in a motor vehicle accident on a highway near the village of Chateauroux, about 100 miles south of Paris, France.

May 25, 2006
First living-donor liver transplant recipient graduates from high school May 27
On Saturday, May 27, 2006, at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas, Alyssa Smith, the recipient of the world's first successful living-donor liver transplant, will graduate from high school.

May 19, 2006
Field Museum hires new provost
The Field Museum and the University of Chicago jointly announced Friday that Neil H. Shubin, PhD, will be appointed provost of The Field Museum and associate dean for organismal and evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago.

May 15, 2006
Full year of treatment helps infants and children with toxoplasmosis
The first long-term study shows that treatment with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine (two anti-parasitic drugs) during the first year of life leads to a lasting reduction in brain and eye damage for children with congenital toxoplasmosis.

May 10, 2006
Selectively blocking inflammatory signals may protect mice from MS
A new way to preserve the cells that surround and protect nerves could lead to new treatments for demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, a research team reports in the May 10, 2006 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

May 1, 2006
Physician approaches to patient spirituality vary according to doctors' religious characteristics
Although more than nine out of ten doctors believe it is appropriate to discuss religious or spiritual issues when a patient brings them up and three out of four encourage patients' religious beliefs and practices, only half inquire, even occasionally, about a patient's faith, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the May issue of the journal Medical Care.

April 27, 2006
Leading researcher to establish genomics and systems biology institute at the University of Chicago
Kevin P. White, PhD, a pioneer in combining experimental and computational techniques to understand the networks of factors that control gene expression during development and evolution, has been appointed professor in the departments of human genetics and ecology and evolution and director of the new Institute for Genomic and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, effective July 1, 2006.

April 26, 2006
"Uniquely human" component of language found in gregarious birds
Although linguists have argued that certain patterns of language organization are the exclusive province of humans -- perhaps the only uniquely human component of language -- researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California San Diego have discovered the same capacity to recognize such patterns and distinguish between them in Sturnus vulgaris, the common European starling.

April 25, 2006
New team performs lung transplant at University of Chicago
The lung transplant team, recruited to the University of Chicago in December 2005, completed their first transplant in the new setting on Saturday, April 22, 2006. Allen Leonard, an officer with the Chicago Police Department, received two new lungs in an operation that began at about 10 p.m. on Friday evening and lasted until about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

April 14, 2006
Surgical robot makes prostate cancer removal safe for obese men
The use of a robotic system could make surgery for prostate cancer an option for thousands of obese men who might otherwise be turned down, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the April 2006 issue of the journal Urology.

April 6, 2006
Newly found species fills evolutionary gap between fish and land animals
Paleontologists have discovered fossils of a species that provides the missing evolutionary link between fish and the first animals that walked out of water onto land about 375 million years ago.

March 31, 2006
Medical School, graduate bioscience programs move up in popular national survey
The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine climbed from 19th up to 17th (tied with Vanderbilt) in the latest U.S.News & World Report's ranking of research medical schools. Graduate programs in the biological sciences also gained one notch, moving from 20th to 19th.

March 27, 2006
Prescription flip-side: Guidelines for medication withdrawal
In the March 27, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, four University of Chicago physicians propose the first general framework for withholding or discontinuing medications, adding life expectancy, goals of care, treatment targets, and time until benefit to the usual equation of drug plusses and minuses.

March 23, 2006
Efforts to replicate controversial diabetes therapy bring partial success
An effort by researchers at the University of Chicago to confirm the results of a high-profile study that brought extraordinary hope to diabetes researchers and patients worldwide has met with considerable, but not complete, success. The researchers were able to reverse type-1 diabetes in one-third of mice but were unable to find any evidence of insulin-producing beta cells derived from donated spleen cells, initially thought to be a crucial component of the therapy.

March 16, 2006
Clinical trial measures ability of focused heat treatment to reduce asthma symptoms
The University of Chicago Hospitals is one of about 30 centers around the world, and the only one in Illinois, participating in the Asthma Interventional Research 2 (AIR2) clinical trial, the first U.S. trial of "Bronchial Thermoplasty," an experimental treatment for patients with moderate to severe asthma.

March 15, 2006
Match Day sets course for future physicians March 16
Match Day--an annual rite of spring when medical students across the country simultaneously discover where they will continue their training next year in hospital residency programs.

March 14, 2006
Youngest patient receives minimally invasive treatment for sunken-chest disorder
On Thursday, March 9, 2006, 17-month-old Coreon Kelly of Joliet became the youngest and, at 19 pounds, the smallest patient ever treated with the minimally invasive "Nuss" procedure to repair a common congenital chest-wall deformity called pectus excavatum.

March 9, 2006
Most human-chimp differences due to gene regulation--not genes
The vast differences between humans and chimpanzees are due more to changes in gene regulation than differences in individual genes themselves, researchers from Yale, the University of Chicago, and the Hall Institute in Parkville, Victoria, Australia, argue in the March 9, 2006, issue of the journal Nature.

March 8, 2006
Scientists provide new evidence for cellular cause of SIDS
University of Chicago researchers and colleagues have found strong support that a disturbance of a specific neurochemical can lead to sudden infant death syndrome, the primary cause of death before age 1 in the United States.

March 6, 2006
Scan of human genome reveals evidence of more than 700 recently evolving genes
By scanning the entire human genome in search of genetic variations that may signal recent evolution, University of Chicago researchers found more than 700 genetic variants that may be targets of recent natural positive selection during the past 10,000 years of human evolution.

February 28, 2006
University of Chicago Hospitals tops national survey
The University of Chicago Hospitals has been named as one of the top 100 hospitals in the country by Evanston, IL-based Solucient, a healthcare information company.

February 22, 2006
Healthcare tips for one-year-olds
As the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago celebrates its first year, we have put together 10 tips for your child's healthcare as he or she turns one. These recommendations were developed with Joel Schwab, MD, and other leading pediatricians at Comer Children's Hospital.

February 21, 2006
Over-the-counter decongestant equals popular prescription drug in relieving hay fever symptoms
There is no significant difference between an over-the-counter decongestant and a prescription medication that costs almost four times as much in relieving hay fever symptoms, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery.

February 20, 2006
University of Chicago lung transplant program approved
The University of Chicago's new lung transplant program has been approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and will begin placing patients on the lung transplant waiting list this week. UNOS also approved the University's application for a heart/lung transplant program.

February 10, 2006
$25 million gift from Jules and Gwen Knapp will help build 10-story medical research facility at the University of Chicago
Jules and Gwen Knapp of Chicago have donated $25 million toward construction of a 330,760-square-foot, 10-story, state-of-the-art facility that will provide a new home for translational research programs in children's health, cancer, and other medical specialties at the University of Chicago.

February 8, 2006
Searle family to fund biomedical research in Chicago
The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust has made a grant of $5 million to the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), a collaboration of Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

February 2, 2006
Gene variation increases SIDS risk in African Americans
About five percent of deaths from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) in African Americans can be traced to defects in one gene, and half of those deaths result from a common genetic variation that increases an infant's risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm during times of environmental stress, a research team based at the University of Chicago reports in the February 2006, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

January 25, 2006
Record gift will transform specialty care at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago
Gary C. Comer, founder of the Lands' End clothing-catalogue company, and his wife, Frances, have made a $42 million donation to the University of Chicago to create the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care--a four-story, 122,500 square-foot facility adjoining the recently opened Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago--and to recruit leading physician-scientists and build programs providing state-of-the-art care and advancing the forefront of pediatric medicine.

January 24, 2006
Erectile dysfunction may warn of heart disease
Erectile dysfunction may provide a warning sign of significant coronary heart disease, researchers from the University of Chicago report in the January 23, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Although recent studies suggest an association between erectile dysfunction and atherosclerotic vascular disease, this is the first study to link ED with abnormal results on cardiac stress testing, including evidence for severe coronary artery blockages and markers of a poor cardiovascular prognosis.

January 5, 2006
Abdominal chemo boosts survival in ovarian cancer patients
Women with Stage III ovarian cancer given a combination of intravenous and intraperitoneal chemotherapy following surgical debulking of tumor had a median survival nearly 16 months longer than women who received IV chemotherapy alone, according to a study published in the January 5, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

January 5, 2006
Artist immortalizes atrium at University of Chicago Hospitals
On January 6, 2006, New York artist Audrey Ushenko, a member of the National Academy of Design and a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Ft. Wayne, IN, will put the finishing touches on her large-scale oil painting of the three-story atrium of the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals and the staff, patients, and visitors who pass through it.

January 4, 2006
Chemical signaling helps regulate sensory map formation in the brain
Researchers from the University of Chicago have uncovered an important mechanism used by the developing brain to pattern nerve connections in the part of the brain that interprets visual signals. In the process, they have provided the first experimental evidence for a decades-old model of how nerve cells establish distant connections in a way that can consistently relay spatial information.

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