On May 15, Research!America hosted a forum, “Neglected Tropical Disease Research in Louisiana: Saving Lives and Creating Jobs.” The forum, featuring leading NTD experts from the region, was held at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.
Pierre Buekens, MD, PhD, dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, made opening remarks. He set the scene for the day, reminding us that there is a false divide between global and domestic health. Dr. Buekens pointed out that borders don’t matter when we share climates and that NTDs can affect people in all corners of world, including New Orleans. He argued that the US is not doing enough to address the threat of NTDs and said that it is “really time to wake up, we really can’t tell other countries what to do if we don’t address it at home.”
The first panel focused on NTDs and NTD research in the U.S. and Louisiana in particular. The panel was moderated by Dean Buekens and featured the following panelists: Patricia Dorn, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences at Loyola University New Orleans; John B. Malone, DVM, PhD, Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at Louisiana State University; Raoult C. Ratard, MD, State Epidemiologist at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Dawn Wesson, MS, PhD, Associate Professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. Continue reading →
A group of scientists at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) — a Research!America member — recently announced that it had successfully generated cloned embryonic stem cells from skin cells of an adult and an unfertilized human egg. Like other stem cell technologies, these cloned stem cells may one day be used for therapeutic purposes — replacing failed organs or damaged nerves.
Research into this area had been ongoing for several years; until now, scientists’ efforts were unsuccessful. Continue reading →
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is marking a week-long observance of Women’s Health. In a statement about 2013’s National Women’s Health Week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points to the role of women as health care decision-makers in their families. Mothers, wives and daughters are often the first and primary care giver when a family member falls ill, and yet many women may overlook their own personal health. Continue reading →
Research!America and Global Health Experts Focus on the Economic and Health Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the U.S.
Leading researchers discuss emerging health threats at panel discussion
During a panel discussion today at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, hosted by Research!America, several researchers and leading public health experts said the nation must increase public awareness and research to address the emergence of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the U.S.
NTDs, commonly associated with the developing world, have recently been identified in many parts of the country including Louisiana. Factors such as increased globalization, trade, migration, urban sprawl or climate change have been cited as potential underlying causes for the emergence of NTDs in the U.S. Chagas disease, which can cause heart failure, affects more than 300,000 people across the nation and costs the U.S. an estimated $1 billion in health care and lost productivity each year. Researchers at Loyola University New Orleans identified the first locally acquired case of Chagas disease in Louisiana. Continue reading →
By ASTMH Executive Director Karen A. Goraleski
The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is an international organization comprised of scientists, clinicians and program professionals who work to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious diseases. ASTMH recognizes that global health is America’s health and America’s health is global health. It is vitally important for the broad research community – from basic through implementation and evaluation – to actively support a vibrant and innovative research enterprise. Everyone benefits from a strong U.S. investment in research. Continue reading →
In 2012, months before sequestration was enacted, scientists were already pressed to find jobs. Take the example of “Rebecca,” whose story was featured in a recent Huffington Post article. She had completed her PhD in chemistry and was working in an academic research laboratory. When her lab didn’t get a new grant to allow her to continue the research, she ended up unemployed. In an already tough financial environment, she spent three months looking for employment in research, hoping to utilize her hard-earned doctoral degree. Continue reading →
A Presidential Proclamation in 1989 launched National Stroke Awareness month which is celebrated every May. Strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain is clogged or bursts, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching an area of the brain. A number of factors can increase someone’s risk of stroke; including lifestyle choices that affect our cardiovascular health. But there are more complex factors including an individual’s genetic composition, age and gender. And risk factors for women can be different from those for men. You can learn more about these risk factors from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Continue reading →
Based on their name, you might think that neglected “tropical” diseases (NTDs) aren’t something American physicians would encounter often. While that may have been true in the past, there is a growing threat of tropical illnesses spreading through the U.S. Many factors may contribute to the rise in incidence, but the bottom line is a very real health threat that the American medical community may not be prepared to face.
Take the story of Maira Gutierrez, for example. A resident of the U.S. for over 30 years, she found out she was infected with Chagas, a neglected tropical disease, after she donated blood. For years, no medical professional could provide more than cursory information about her disease, nor prescribe a treatment. Just like her diagnosis, she felt “neglected” by the medical community. Gutierrez and other patients will be featured in a video as part of our upcoming Neglected Tropical Diseases Forum at Tulane University in Louisiana on May 15. Continue reading →
Recent research from Johns Hopkins Medicine that received government support shows that stem cells isolated from a patient’s own fat may be able to deliver new treatments directly into the brain to fight an aggressive brain tumor. The work, done in the laboratory of Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD, is a proof-of-principle study that tests the ability of a particular type of stem cell, mesenchymal stem cells, to locate damaged or cancerous cells.
Cancer cells, particularly those in glioblastomas, the most common type of brain tumor, often break away from the main tumor and relocate to another area of the body. While neurosurgeons like Quinones-Hinojosa can carefully remove these tumors, radiation and chemotherapy are often insufficient to kill these run-away cancer cells. The promising results from this basic science study suggest that in the future, mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the patient’s own fat tissue can be modified and put back into the body to seek out and destroy isolated cancer cells in the brain after surgical removal of the tumor. Continue reading →
The Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government, is charged with protecting the public health. Under this mandate, it regulates drugs and medical devices for their safety and effectiveness. But is it a failing mandate? It’s been argued that the FDA’s long and costly approval processes stifle innovation and keep life-changing treatments from the market. When it comes to public health, is it ever OK to sacrifice safety for speed?
Research!America has asked that same question in polling over the years; most recently in August 2012. We asked 1,052 likely voters whether FDA should move more quickly despite the risks or proceed more cautiously, even if it meant delaying treatments to patients. Thirty-five percent said the FDA should move more quickly, while 25% said the opposite. (Twenty-four percent said neither, and 16% said they weren’t sure.) Continue reading →
Research into rare premature aging disorder praised as a model of “what’s right” in biomedical research
Recently, a group of scientists, clinicians and patients gathered in a suburb of Washington, DC to discuss scientific progress in the study of a rare premature aging disorder. This disease, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome—often referred to as HGPS or simply progeria—is one you may not have heard of, yet. But the Progeria Research Foundation and families of progeria patients have been working hard to increase awareness and raise funds for research into this rare disease that results in death at an average age of only 13. Among the list of speakers at the conference was the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, MD, PhD and researchers from a number of Research!America member organizations. Continue reading →