Ohio State has experts in every field on campus collaborating to find cures for cancer and solve the toughest medical challenges confronting us today. More than 300 researchers in 11 university colleges are focused on creating a cancer-free world.
Innovative Rotation Surgery Focus of National Media Attention
Joel Mayerson, MD, director of Musculoskeletal Oncology at Ohio State, led a surgical team that performed an innovative surgical procedure on a 13-year-old male with a rare cancer called osteosarcoma. The youth had a large tumor located just above his knee. The surgical team removed the tumor and portions of the upper leg. The team then performed a rotationplasty procedure to rotate patient’s leg, so that the calf muscle now serves as the thigh, and the ankle and foot act as the knee and shin, connecting to a lower leg and foot prosthesis. Mayerson explained in several news reports how this procedure enhances the youth’s mobility and participation in athletic activities such as baseball.
Ohio State Studying How Cholesterol Levels Affect Autism
Researchers at Ohio State are studying whether simple nutritional intervention – adding cholesterol to the diets of children with autism spectrum disorders after a test to see if they need it – can improve core autism symptoms. In excess, cholesterol can be harmful, but a certain amount is crucial for the proper development and maintenance of the brain. So it stands to reason that lower levels of cholesterol, particularly during crucial periods of growth, can lead to mental dysfunction, said principal investigator L. Eugene Arnold, MD, a child psychiatrist at Ohio State’s Nisonger Center who specializes in researching and treating autism.
Findings Could Lead to a Blood Test for Lung Cancer
Researchers have identified characteristic patterns of molecules called microRNA in the blood of people with lung cancer that might reveal both the presence and aggressiveness of the disease, and perhaps who is at risk of developing it. These patterns may be detectable up to two years before the tumor is found by computed tomography (CT) scans. The findings could lead to a blood test for lung cancer, according to a Carlo Croce, MD, professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, and director of the Human Cancer Genetics Program, who helped lead the study. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ohio State Completes Rare Six-Kidney Transplant
A synchronized chain of six kidney transplants at Ohio State resulted in an ideal match for three women and three men. The surgical procedures that resulted in the exchange of kidneys between 12 patients required two days to complete and more than two months to orchestrate. The six-way, single-institution transplant was the first and largest to date in Ohio and one of only a handful that have taken place in the United States. The transplant chain was started with an altruistic kidney donation.
Surgeons Rebuild Pelvis so Patient Can Walk Again
A multidisciplinary team of Ohio State surgeons created a living bone and metal pelvis for a patient who had chondrosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. The surgical team removed the patient’s left leg, hip and pelvis, and used the healthy, living bones from his amputated leg to completely rebuild the connection between his spine and remaining right pelvis to support a high-tech prosthetic leg. The surgeries, which enabled the patient to walk again, involved hundreds of support staff.
Ohio State’s First Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplantation Performed
Ohio State recently joined the ranks of about a dozen medical centers in the nation with a team in place to perform pancreatic islet cell transplantation, a procedure that can dramatically improve the quality of life for people with diabetes. In January, a Columbus-area woman underwent this unique medical procedure, which is expected to eliminate her need to take insulin to control her type 1 diabetes. Ohio State had been preparing for the highly specialized procedure for more than seven years, says Amer Rajab, MD, PhD, a transplant surgeon who led the team. The procedure may ultimately provide a cure for the disease.
Researchers link Zinc to Sepsis
Critical care researchers at Ohio State sought to determine whether zinc is metabolized differently among critically ill adults who became septic within 24 hours of admission to an intensive care unit, and those who were critically ill but not septic. Sepsis is a toxic disease that is the leading cause of hospital deaths. The team, led by critical care specialist Beth Besecker, MD, discovered that the way the human body redistributes zinc, an element vital to physiological function, is predictive of disease severity in those who are critically ill with sepsis. The results were published in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Ohio State Performing Brain Surgery through the Nose
Earlier this year, Tricia Wharton gave birth to a healthy baby girl and underwent successful skull-based surgery to remove a large malignant tumor from her sinus cavity – all within the same week. Even more remarkable – she has no visible scars on her face from the extensive surgery to remove the tumor. The surgical team of experts at Ohio State’s Cranial Base Center worked with Wharton’s obstetrician to carefully monitor both Wharton and her unborn baby as they developed a plan to treat the mother while protecting the baby.
OSU Scientists Discover Second-Oldest Gene Mutation
A new study identified a gene mutation that researchers estimate dates back to 11,600 B.C., making it the second oldest human disease mutation yet discovered. Researchers with the OSUCCC – James led the study and estimate that the mutation arose in the Middle East some 13,600 years ago. Only a mutation seen in cystic fibrosis that arose between 11,000 and 52,000 years ago is believed to be older.
The investigators described the mutation in people of Arabic, Turkish and Jewish ancestry. It causes a rare, inherited vitamin B12 deficiency called Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome (IGS). The researchers say that although the mutation is found in vastly different ethnic populations, it originated in a single, prehistoric individual and was passed down to that individual’s descendents. This is unusual because such “founder mutations” usually are restricted to specific ethnic groups or relatively isolated populations. The findings were published in the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases.
Drug Combination Produces Long-term CLL Remissions
New research at Ohio State shows that a less-toxic combination of a targeted immune-based drug and a chemotherapy drug can produce long-term remissions in some chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. This occurs without increasing the risk of later therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, which can often occur with a three-drug combination used to treat these patients. The study was reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Researchers Identify Molecular ‘Switch’ to Vascular Health
A study led by Ohio State cardiovascular researchers uncovered a key mechanism that controls blood vessel health and is likely to play a role in high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and atherosclerosis. They describe a molecular switch that causes the endothelial cells that line blood vessels to either promote vascular dilation or constriction. The findings may lead to new therapies for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, or improved vascular health in people at risk for cardiovascular disease. The research was published in the journal Nature.
New Gene Therapy Shown to Benefit Those with Parkinson’s Disease
Treatment using a novel gene therapy agent proved to significantly improve motor skills in patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, says Matthew During, PhD, of Ohio State’s Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics. The Ohio State study, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, was the first randomized, double-blind study to provide definitive clinical proof that gene therapy works in the human brain. Patients involved in the study received either a placebo infusion of sterile saline, or the study therapy, which is the glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) gene delivered within a protein shell. GAD makes a neurochemical called GABA that helps restore chemical balance in areas of the brain where Parkinson’s disease causes abnormal levels of activity.
Brain Tumor “Grow-or-Go” Switch Could Impact Care
Cancer cells in rapidly growing brain tumors must adjust to periods of low energy or die. When energy levels are high, tumor cells grow and proliferate. When levels are low, the cells grow less and migrate more. Researchers at Ohio State have discovered the switch responsible for this grow-or-go behavior, and the molecule might serve as a biomarker to predict how long patients with the brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme will survive and may serve as a target to develop drugs to fight these tumors.
Bacterial Enzymes Could Aid Brain Cancer Treatments
New research at Ohio State shows that oncolytic viruses, which are engineered to destroy cancer cells, might be more effective in treating deadly brain tumors if equipped with an enzyme that helps them penetrate the tumor. The enzyme, called chondroitinase, helps the cancer-killing virus clear its way through the thickets of protein molecules that fill space between cells and impede the virus’s movement through the tumor, say researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute who conducted the study. Their findings were published online in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
Personalized Treatment Benefits Lung Cancer Patients
Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan, researchers at Ohio State say lung cancer patients should receive care based on their specific diagnosis, individual genetic makeup and particular tumors. Watch