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2009 Press Releases

December 22, 2009
Chicago Cancer Genome Project studies genetics of 1,000 tumors
No two tumors are alike, but analyzing the genetics of cancers from different parts of the body may reveal surprising details useful for treatment and prevention.

December 21, 2009
University of Chicago microbiologists prepare for move to new laboratory
On December 1, 2009, the United States Department of Energy notified the University of Chicago Medical Center that it had full approval to “commence research operations” at the newly constructed Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory, operated by the Medical Center to study the organisms that cause infectious disease on land owned by the United States Department of Energy at Argonne National Laboratory.

December 9, 2009
Researchers developing urine test for childhood sleep apnea
A pilot study has found that levels of four proteins in a child’s urine can reliably distinguish between obstructive sleep apnea, which should receive prompt treatment, and habitual snoring, which does not require medical attention.

December 7, 2009
The thalamus, middleman of the brain, becomes a sensory conductor
Two new studies show that the thalamus -- the small central brain structure often characterized as a mere pit-stop for sensory information on its way to the cortex -- is heavily involved in sensory processing, and is an important conductor of the brain’s complex orchestra.

December 4, 2009
University of Chicago’s Donald Steiner named 2009 recipient of major international diabetes prize
Donald F. Steiner, MD, the A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Prize for 2009, the foundation announced this week.

November 27, 2009
Diabetes cases to double and costs to triple by 2034
In the next 25 years, the number of Americans living with diabetes will nearly double, increasing from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034. Over the same period, spending on diabetes will almost triple, rising from $113 billion to $336 billion, even with no increase in the prevalence of obesity, researchers based at the University of Chicago report in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

November 25, 2009
Cells defend themselves from viruses, bacteria with armor of protein errors
When cells are confronted with an invading virus or bacteria or exposed to an irritating chemical, they protect themselves by going off their DNA recipe and inserting the wrong amino acid into new proteins to defend them against damage, scientists have discovered.

November 25, 2009
University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board Honors CBS news anchor Katie Couric at annual Cancer Ball
The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board honored CBS news anchor Katie Couric and raised $700,000 for cancer research at its 43rd Annual Cancer Ball on November 14.

November 19, 2009
Common pain relief medication may encourage cancer growth
Although morphine has been the gold-standard treatment for postoperative and chronic cancer pain for two centuries, a growing body of evidence is showing that opiate-based painkillers can stimulate the growth and spread of cancer cells. Two new studies advance that argument and demonstrate how shielding lung cancer cells from opiates reduces cell proliferation, invasion and migration in both cell-culture and mouse models.

November 13, 2009
Bears QB Jay Cutler to meet with teens affected by diabetes at University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center on World Diabetes Day
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will visit the University of Chicago's Kovler Diabetes Center on World Diabetes Day--Saturday, November 14--from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to share his experience with diabetes with teens affected by the disease and tour some of the world's leading diabetes-research laboratories.

November 11, 2009
Katie Couric to be honored by University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women's Board
The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women's Board is honoring Katie Couric, anchor of the CBS Evening News, for her tireless efforts in the crusade for early detection and cancer awareness. The board will present its Partners in Discovery award to Couric at its 43rd Annual Cancer Ball, Saturday, November 14.

November 10, 2009
Health care accounts for eight percent of U.S. carbon footprint
The American health care sector accounts for nearly a tenth of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to a first-of-its-kind calculation of health care’s carbon footprint.

November 3, 2009
Miniature microscope can improve disease detection, diagnosis and treatment
New imaging technology using one of the world's smallest flexible microscopes enables physicians to look--at the cellular level--at living, moving tissue in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract so they can make a rapid diagnosis or carefully select tissue for biopsy.

November 2, 2009
Medical Center neurosurgery team receives high ranking from University HealthSystem Consortium in mortality
The University of Chicago's neurosurgery service risk adjusted mortality rate was ranked second among 105 academic medical centers, behind only one other academic medical center, in the University HealthSystem Consortium’s (UHC) Clinical Outcomes Report for July 2008 through June 2009.

October 26, 2009
Protein critical for insulin secretion may be contributor to diabetes
A cellular protein from a family involved in several human diseases is crucial for the proper production and release of insulin, new research has found, suggesting that the protein might play a role in diabetes.

October 14, 2009
Comfort food: Chocolate, water reduce pain response to heat
People often eat food to feel better, but researchers have found that eating chocolate or drinking water can blunt pain, reducing a rat's response to a hot stimulus. This natural form of pain relief may help animals in the wild avoid distraction while eating scarce food, but in modern humans with readily available food, the effect may contribute to overeating and obesity.

October 5, 2009
University of Chicago receives $42 million in stimulus funds for biological and medical research
Researchers at the University of Chicago have been awarded more than $42 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, part of a $5 billion boost for medical research from the federal economic stimulus package.

September 30, 2009
Social isolation worsens cancer
Using mice as a model to study human breast cancer, researchers have demonstrated that a negative social environment (in this case, isolation) causes increased tumor growth. The work shows--for the first time--that social isolation is associated with altered gene expression in mouse mammary glands, and that these changes are accompanied by larger tumors.

September 30, 2009
Protein research wins NIH award
A University of Chicago researcher is among the first to win a new award from the National Institutes of Health aimed at supporting research that “has the potential to transform the way we think about and conduct science,” according to NIH Director Francis Collins, PhD, MD.

September 25, 2009
Molecular genetics specialist Malcolm Casadaban, PhD, 1949-2009
A pioneering researcher who developed what are now common techniques to study the effects of specific genes in many disease-causing organisms, Malcolm Casadaban, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and of Microbiology at the University of Chicago, died at the University’s Bernard Mitchell Hospital on Sunday, September 13. He was 60 years old.

September 19, 2009
Rare infection may have caused death of Chicago scientist
A University of Chicago researcher died Sun., Sept. 13, at the Medical Center's Bernard Mitchell Hospital from an infection which may be attributable to a weakened laboratory strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague.

September 1, 2009
Off-label use: Oft not evidence based
In a recent national survey, a substantial minority of physicians erroneously believed that certain off-label uses of prescription drugs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

August 19, 2009
Kidney specialist Adrian Katz, MD, 1932-2009
An internationally recognized authority on how the kidney regulates salt and water, especially the role of sodium pumps in kidney function, and the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, Adrian Katz, MD, professor emeritus of medicine and former section chief of nephrology at the University of Chicago, died in his Hyde Park home from complications of heart failure on August 17. He was 77 years old.

August 18, 2009
University of Chicago Medical Center: Nation's leader in gluten-free foodservice
The University of Chicago Medical Center today announced its kitchens are now accredited gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Food Service Accreditation Program, achieving the nation's highest standards for gluten-free foodservice.

August 14, 2009
Madara to step down as CEO of University of Chicago Medical Center
James L. Madara, MD, will step down from his position as chief executive officer of the Medical Center and Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago on October 1.

August 9, 2009
Unlikely genetic suspect implicated in common brain defect
A genetic search that wound its way from patients to mouse models and back to patients has uncovered an unlikely gene critically involved in a common birth defect which causes mental retardation, motor delays and sometimes autism, providing a new mechanism and potentially improving treatment for the disorder.

August 5, 2009
New director for Institute for Biophysical Dynamics
Tobin R. Sosnick has been appointed Director of The University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Division and Physical Sciences Division Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, an interdisciplinary research center that works at the interface between biology and the physical sciences.

July 30, 2009
Janet Rowley receives Presidential Medal of Freedom for cancer chromosome studies
Janet Davison Rowley, MD, a pioneer in demonstrating that cancer is a genetic disease, will receive the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom the White House announced Thursday. President Barack Obama will award the Medals of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to Rowley and 15 others at a ceremony Wednesday, August 12.

July 16, 2009
Preemies born in poverty four times less likely ready for school
Advances in neonatal care enable two-thirds of premature babies born with respiratory problems to be ready for school at an appropriate age, but those living in poverty are far less likely to be ready on time than their better-off peers, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center report in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.

July 16, 2009
National survey again names University of Chicago Medical Center as one of the best U.S. hospitals
In its annual survey, U.S.News & World Report selected the University of Chicago Medical Center as one of the best hospitals in the United States. In the 2009 "Best Hospitals" issue (on newsstands July 21), the magazine ranked 11 Medical Center specialties among the top such programs in the country, up from 10 last year.

July 8, 2009
University of Chicago launches neighborhood mapping project
University of Chicago researchers and local residents have fanned out into six South Side neighborhoods to begin gathering information for the first detailed maps of all of the area’s resources, businesses, public agencies, churches, social service organizations and health-related facilities.

July 1, 2009
Janet Rowley awarded Gruber Genetics Prize for chromosome studies
Janet Davison Rowley, MD, a founder in the field of cancer cytogenetics and a leader in molecular oncology, will receive the 2009 Genetics Prize of The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation for her research on recurrent chromosomal abnormalities in leukemias and lymphomas--discoveries that have revolutionized how cancer is understood and treated.

June 25, 2009
Vitamin-A derivative provides clues to better breast cancer drugs
Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, could lead researchers to a new set of drug targets for treating breast cancer, researchers from the University of Chicago report in the June 26, 2009, issue of the journal Cell.

June 18, 2009
University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital named among 'America's Best' by U.S.News & World Report
The University of Chicago Comer Children's hospital has again ranked in the 2009 edition of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals, to be published in U.S.News & World Report. This is the second year in a row that Comer Children's Hospital has appeared on the survey. The magazine lists the 30 top-ranked hospitals in general pediatrics and six specialties. Comer is ranked in two pediatric specialties: endocrine and diabetes (#22); and neonatal care, the care of critically ill or very premature newborns (#30).

June 18, 2009
Stunning new medical research building opens at University of Chicago
The University of Chicago Medical Center announces the grand opening of the Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, a 330,760-square-foot, 10-story, glass-walled building that provides a state-of-the-art home for research programs in diabetes, pediatrics, genomics, cancer and other medical specialties. Researchers at the new facility will translate fundamental scientific discoveries made by biologists and other scientists into better care for patients.

June 18, 2009
Frederick P. Zuspan, MD, 1922-2009
recognized authority in the field of maternal-fetal medicine, Frederick P. Zuspan, MD, former chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Chicago and an expert on preeclampsia, a dangerous form of pregnancy-induced hypertension that can place both mother and unborn child in serious danger, died of prostate cancer on Sunday, June 7, 2009, in Bloomington, MN.

May 27, 2009
Renowned physician celebrates turning 100, including 74 years on U. of C. faculty
Colleagues and friends of Joseph B. Kirsner, MD, PhD, a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago Medical Center since 1935, will celebrate the prospect of his turning 100 at a special event, Friday, May 29, sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association’s Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition.

April 28, 2009
University of Chicago Medical Center first in nation to implant unique cardiac lead
Following FDA approval, cardiologists at the University of Chicago Medical Center are the first in the U.S. to implant the thinnest lead body for left-heart leads into a patient. Approved earlier this month by the FDA, the device makes improved treatment possible for certain patients with heart failure.

April 23, 2009
Pritzker School of Medicine continues climb in rankings
The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine tied for 13th in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the nation's best graduate schools, up from 22nd in 2004. Pritzker is the fastest rising medical school in the top 50 over the last five years.

April 20, 2009
Grapefruit juice boosts drug's anti-cancer effects
In a small, early clinical trial, researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center have found that combining eight ounces of grapefruit juice with the drug rapamycin can increase drug levels, allowing lower doses of the drug to be given. They also showed that the combination can be effective in treating various types of cancer.

April 15, 2009
Medical physics pioneer Lester Skaggs, PhD, 1911-2009
A pioneer in the use of radiation to treat cancer, Lester Skaggs, PhD, professor emeritus in the Departments of Radiology and of Radiation and Cellular Oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, died from complications of renal failure on Friday, April 3, at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago. He was 97.

April 6, 2009
Research links evolution of fins and limbs with that of gills
The genetic toolkit that animals use to build fins and limbs is the same genetic toolkit that controls the development of part of the gill skeleton in sharks, according to research to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 23, 2009, by Andrew Gillis and Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago, and Randall Dahn of Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

April 3, 2009
Researchers unravel role of priming in plant immunity
Scientists have discovered a naturally occurring compound that triggers a plant’s immune system, thereby protecting the plant from a secondary bacterial infection. The patent-pending discovery could lead to an effective, inexpensive and environmentally safe way to improve plants’ resistance to disease, according to research to be published in Science on April 3, 2009.

April 3, 2009
University of Chicago Medical Center and Holy Cross Hospital establish clinical collaboration
The University of Chicago Medical Center and Holy Cross Hospital will launch a collaboration to provide hospital care for patients in several clinical specialties, beginning in April 2009.

April 1, 2009
Flashes of Hope lets seriously ill pediatric patients be the star of their own photo session
Gracey Melon spends most of her time at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital receiving chemotherapy as she fights acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It has not been fun in the hospital for her and her family, except for a few days when she was in the spotlight as the star of her own photo shoot.

April 1, 2009
Comer Children's Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital bring renown pediatric epilepsy care to suburbs
A partnership between the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital and Adventist Hinsdale Hospital is making it possible for children and teenagers from the suburbs who have epilepsy to stay close to home and be monitored by top national experts.

March 31, 2009
Study unravels why certain fishes went extinct 65 million years ago
Large size and a fast bite spelled doom for bony fishes during the last mass extinction 65 million years ago, according to a new study to be published March 31, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

March 19, 2009
Prtizker School of Medicine graduates take their next steps as doctors
It was time to celebrate when 110 students from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine found out this week where they will do their medical residencies.

March 16, 2009
Selected men with low-risk prostate cancer have good clinical outcomes without immediate treatment
A multi-center study of prostate cancer patients appearing in today's Journal of Urology recommends that for some men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, opting not to initially receive treatment can be safe if they are closely monitored.

March 9, 2009
Vokes appointed chairman of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center
Everett E. Vokes, MD, an international authority on the treatment of head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and drug development, has been appointed chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, effective March 9.

March 4, 2009
Platform One and Kings of Leon support Comer Children's Hospital
The Kings of Leon, one of today's most popular new rock bands, has helped make possible a generous $75,000 donation from Platform One Entertainment to the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital to help discover new treatments and cures for children and teens with cancer. Part of that donation, $25,000, was given by the Lisa Klitzky Foundation.

March 4, 2009
'Our Daughters, Our Duty' forum to focus on cervical cancer and HPV vaccine
Parents will have a valuable opportunity to learn more about prevention of cervical cancer and the new human pappillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at a free town hall meeting offered by Community Engagement Seeking Solutions (CECOS) and the Kennedy-King College Nursing Program. CECOS is a program of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center.

February 26, 2009
Blackhawks score with sports fans at Comer Children's Hospital
Breaking from their winning season, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Aaron Johnson and left wing Andrew Ladd made children and teens feel like All-Stars during a visit to the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

February 23, 2009
2009 DeLee Humanitarian Award goes to Marshall Lindheimer, MD, of the University of Chicago
An authority on kidney disease and hypertension during pregnancy, Marshall D. Lindheimer, MD, of the University of Chicago, will receive the 2009 Joseph Bolivar DeLee Humanitarian Award from the Board of Directors of Chicago Lying-in Hospital, part of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

February 9, 2009
Chicago BioMedicine takes next steps in reorganization
Chicago BioMedicine is taking the next steps in a planned reorganization that will advance its medical and academic missions while lowering overall costs and allowing for a strong and focused response to the economic downturn.

January 26, 2009
Aron A. Moscona, PhD, 1921-2009
A renowned developmental biologist who was one of the first to show how cells recognize each other and interact, Aron A. Moscona, PhD, the Louis Block Professor Emeritus of molecular genetics and cell biology and of pathology at the University of Chicago and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, died from heart failure January 14 in Manhattan. He was 87.

January 22, 2009
Roadkill study could speed detection of kidney cancer
Large-scale data mining of gene networks in fruit flies has led researchers to a sensitive and specific diagnostic biomarker for human renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. In the journal Science, published early online January 22, a team based at the University of Chicago shows that the biomarker known as SPOP is produced by 99 percent of clear cell renal cell carcinomas but not by normal kidney tissue.

January 9, 2009
Valerie Jarrett to leave University of Chicago posts for White House
Valerie Jarrett, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago and Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago Medical Center, has resigned both positions as she assumes her new role as Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison.

January 9, 2009
Susan Sher, vice president for legal and government affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, to join Obama administration
Susan S. Sher, vice president for legal and governmental affairs and general counsel of the University of Chicago Medical Center, will be leaving her position to join the Obama administration as associate counsel to the president.

January 9, 2009
Michelle Obama resigns position at University of Chicago Medical Center
Michelle Obama has resigned her leadership post at the University of Chicago Medical Center as she prepares to take on her new role at the White House as First Lady.

January 7, 2009
Lecture series for non-scientists to spotlight stem cells, new blood cancer therapies
Learn about how the frontiers of science are being used to find new treatments for blood cancers during a series of eight free lectures beginning Jan. 10 that will be given by a University of Chicago expert. Named for the Nobel Laureate, the seventh annual Charles B. Huggins Lecture Series will feature Wei Xu, a PhD candidate in the Committee on Cancer Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, who will share how breakthrough research is being used to find better treatment for blood cancers.

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