Faculty in the News

Neuro-oncologists discover cancer cells can burn acetate for fuel

Dec. 18, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have discovered that brain tumors are capable of burning acetate for fuel, providing a new potential target for halting tumor growth.

Real-time radiation monitor can reduce radiation exposure for medical workers

Dec. 16, 2014 – It’s a sound that saves. A “real-time” radiation monitor that alerts by beeping in response to radiation exposure during cardiac-catheterization procedures significantly reduces the amount of exposure that medical workers receive, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found. 

New liver gives mother of three a life without pain

November 20, 2104 – The itching started when Michelle Linss, now 37, was pregnant with her third child. When she told her obstetrician, they thought it was due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy and would resolve following delivery. But the young El Paso woman was still itching a year later, launching a six-year journey of testing and treatment, worry and waiting, finally leading – with the advocacy of a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician – to a liver transplant in August 2014.

Mrs. Linss’ medical problem was diagnosed as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a disease in which the bile ducts are damaged, causing bile to build up in the liver. She was treated with a round of prednisone and cyclosporine, but neither worked. Discouraged, she decided to look elsewhere for care and discovered that Dr. Marlyn Mayo, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern, specialized in immune-related liver diseases, such as PBC. UT Southwestern also has a liver-disease satellite clinic in El Paso, which would make the logistics of her care easier.

New measurement of HDL cholesterol function provides powerful information about cardiovascular risk

November 18, 2014 – Groundbreaking research from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that cholesterol efflux capacity (cholesterol efflux), which measures HDL cholesterol function, appears to be a superior indicator of cardiovascular risk and a better target for therapeutic treatments than standard measurements of HDL. Current measurement methods reflect only the circulating levels of HDL and not the functional properties of this lipoprotein.

Testing of ER patients for heart attack in absence of symptoms widespread

November 17, 2014 – Emergency rooms are testing many patients for markers of acute coronary syndrome who show no signs of having suffered a heart attack, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Cancer researchers identify gene mutations and process for how kidney tumors develop

November 17, 2014 – Using next generation gene sequencing techniques, cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified more than 3,000 new mutations involved in certain kidney cancers, findings that help explain the diversity of cancer behaviors.

PCI or CABG in Patients with Diabetes and Multivessel CAD

October 2014 – CardioSource News talks with Steven P. Marso, M.D., Director of Interventional Cardiology of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, about the results of the FREEDOM trial and use of PCI or CABG in patients with diabetes and multivessel CAD. This interview was conducted at Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2014 in Washington.

2014 AASLD Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award

October 2014 - William M. Lee, M.D., from the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases will be receiving the 2014 AASLD Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award during the annual AASLD meeting November 7–11, 2014 in Boston, MA. J. Gregory Fitz, M.D., will present the award to Dr. Lee during the meeting. The Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award is given in honor of the sustained service of clinician educators to AASLD or the liver community in general. The award recognizes the skills of outstanding clinicians and educators who have made momentous contributions to hepatology over an extended period. 

Minimally invasive procedures offer hope for elderly patients with heart-valve problems

October 8, 2014 – UT Southwestern physicians perform two types of minimally invasive valve-repair procedures that offer hope for patients like Mrs. Henderson, who have incapacitating heart-valve problems but are too frail to undergo the rigors of open-heart surgeries. 

New ways to treat anemia could evolve from acetate supplement research

Sept. 29, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers seeking novel treatments for anemia found that giving acetate, the major component of household vinegar, to anemic mice stimulated the formation of new red blood cells.

Many patients excluded from lung cancer clinical trials due to prior cancer

Sept. 26, 2014 – Lung cancer clinical trials exclude a substantial proportion of patients due to a history of prior cancer, as shown in an analysis by cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

High insulin levels tied to obesity pathway

August 25, 2014 - UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a crucial link between high levels of insulin and pathways that lead to obesity, a finding that may have important implications when treating diabetes. Researchers with UT Southwestern’s Touchstone Diabetes Center found that giving mice high levels of insulin, which is typically done to counter the effects of diabetes or insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes, also fosters processes that lead to obesity.

Applying new cholesterol guidelines to a patient population reduces heart attacks, strokes

August 18, 2014 – A study from UT Southwestern researchers found that recently introduced cholesterol guidelines would significantly reduce new cardiovascular events, when compared to treatment based on previous cholesterol guidelines.

Ten UTSW researchers among 2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds

July 28, 2014 – Ten UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are among the most highly cited researchers in the U.S., earning them a place on Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Researchers uncover new brain pathways for understanding Type 2 diabetes and obesity

July 25, 2014 – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified neural pathways that increase understanding of how the brain regulates body weight, energy expenditure, and blood glucose levels – a discovery that can lead to new therapies for treating Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

UT Southwestern cardiologists among elite group awarded millions to prevent heart disease 

July 22, 2014 – Researchers and clinicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center are among a small, select group at U.S. universities to receive inaugural funding from the American Heart Association (AHA) for work that takes aim at heart disease and stroke. The funds, totaling $15 million nationally, will launch Strategically Focused Prevention Research Centers around the country.

MyChart use skyrocketing among cancer patients

July 9, 2014 – There has been a sharp increase in the number of cancer patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center using MyChart, the online, interactive service that allows patients to view laboratory and radiology results, communicate with their health care providers, schedule appointments, and renew prescriptions.

Sitting too much, not just lack of exercise, is detrimental to cardiovascular health

July 7, 2014 – Cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that sedentary behaviors may lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels. New evidence suggests that two hours of sedentary behavior can be just as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.

Inflammation in fat tissue helps prevent metabolic disease

June 18, 2014 – Chronic tissue inflammation is typically associated with obesity and metabolic disease, but new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center now finds that a level of “healthy” inflammation is necessary to prevent metabolic diseases, such as fatty liver.

Common blood pressure medication may pose risk to older adults

June 16, 2014 – Adults over 65 who have recently begun thiazide diuretics are at a greater risk for developing metabolic-related adverse events, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Antibiotic Lowers Death Risk for Elderly Patients With Pneumonia: Study

June 3, 2014 – U.S. News & World Report – The antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) significantly lowers older pneumonia patients' risk of death but slightly increases their risk of heart attack, a new study indicates.

Cyclists on cancer mission roll through Dallas on way to Alaska

June 3, 2014 – The Dallas Morning News  It has been almost 18 months since 23-year-old Matthew Atwell learned he would bike from Texas to Alaska — a trip of 70 days and more than 4,500 miles.

Atwell, an aerospace engineering graduate from the University of Texas, is part of an annual cancer awareness ride, the Texas 4000, which rolled through Dallas on Wednesday morning from Austin, bound for Alaska. He and 78 other cyclists are dedicating their miles to cancer victims and survivors.

International collaboration highlights new mechanism explaining how cancer cells spread

May 28, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer researchers have identified a protein critical to the spread of deadly cancer cells and determined how it works, paving the way for potential use in diagnosis and eventually possible therapeutic drugs to halt or slow the spread of cancer. 

Liver cancer screening highly beneficial for people with cirrhosis

May 5, 2014 – Liver cancer survival rates could be improved if more people with cirrhosis are screened for tumors using inexpensive ultrasound scans and blood tests, according to a review by doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Researchers granted funding to explore novel lung cancer strategies

May 1, 2014 – Two UT Southwestern doctors have received more than a half-million dollars in grants from the Department of Defense for innovative studies on lung cancer pathways and to test the effectiveness of a potentially less expensive drug therapy.

Authority on heart’s response to space flight, high altitude, and aging chosen for AAP membership

April 28, 2014 – Dr. Benjamin Levine, Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been elected to membership in the prestigious Association of American Physicians (AAP). Dr. Levine leads the country’s largest human physiology clinical research program, investigating how the heart and blood vessels adapt to space flight, high altitude, and aging.

Oxygen diminishes the heart’s ability to regenerate, researchers discover

April 24, 2014 – Scientific research at UT Southwestern Medical Center previously discovered that the newborn animal heart can heal itself completely, whereas the adult heart lacks this ability. New research by the same team today has revealed why the heart loses its incredible regenerative capability in adulthood, and the answer is quite simple – oxygen.

Elmquist receives ADA’s 2014 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award

April 23, 2014 – Dr. Joel Elmquist, Director of the Center for Hypothalamic Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been awarded the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award, the organization’s top honor for an early-career scientist.

Depressed? Researchers identify new antidepressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches

April 22, 2014 – A team of physician-scientists at UT Southwestern has identified a major mechanism by which ghrelin (a hormone with natural antidepressant properties) works inside the brain. Simultaneously, the researchers identified a potentially powerful new treatment for depression in the form of a neuroprotective drug known as P7C3.

Website information on colon cancer too complex, fails to address key concerns, researcher finds

April 14, 2014 – Popular web information on colorectal cancer is too difficult for most lay people to read and doesn’t address the appropriate risks to and concerns of patients, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center gastroenterologists suggests.

NCI award supports access to national clinical trials to test new treatment for adults

April 9, 2014 – The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center is among only 30 U.S. cancer research centers to be named a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Site, a prestigious new designation by the National Cancer Institute. It is the only Cancer Center in North Texas to be so designated.

Potential new therapeutic target identified to control high blood sugar

March 19, 2014 – A UT Southwestern Medical Center study has identified a new potential therapeutic target for controlling high blood sugar, a finding that could help the estimated 25 million Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Cardiologists define new heart failure symptom: Shortness of breath while bending over

March 18, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists have defined a novel heart failure symptom in advanced heart failure patients: shortness of breath while bending over, such as when putting on shoes.

Unger wins international Luft Award

March 17, 2014 – Roger Unger, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been awarded the 2014 Rolf Luft Award for his identification of glucagon as a pancreatic hormone that raises blood sugar levels, having the opposite effect of insulin.

Post-heart attack biological events provide cardioprotection

March 13, 2014 – Heart attack and stroke are among the most serious threats to health. But novel research at UT Southwestern Medical Center has linked two major biological processes that occur at the onset of these traumatic events and, ultimately, can lead to protection for the heart.

New hepatitis C drugs offer hope for effective treatment, fewer side effects

March 11, 2014 – Patrizia Cazzaniga had heard the horror stories about early treatments for hepatitis C – multiple daily pills and weekly shots for up to a year, side effects that could be debilitating, and a cure rate of only about 40 percent.

FDA approves lipodystrophy drug metreleptin

Feb. 25, 2014 – Dwanna Swan has a lean, muscular physique many women would envy. Inside, however, a rare metabolic disease called lipodystrophy was wracking her body, resulting in severe diabetes, high blood pressure, and dangerously elevated triglyceride levels that could kill her.

UT Southwestern launches Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

February 17, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center has been funded to establish a Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research that supports and conducts high-quality research comparing the outcomes and effectiveness of different strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions to improve patient care.

Finding the best altitude for athletic training

February 1, 2014 - Athletes and researchers have long known that living at high altitudes can potentially improve athletic performance. New findings now suggest that there is an ideal elevation for living – between 2,000 and 2,500 meters – that can enhance sea-level performance in competitive athletes.

Gastric banding patients should closely monitor nutrition following surgery

Jan. 30, 2014 – Patients who have had bariatric surgery may need to take dietary supplements and pay closer attention to their nutritional intake, a UT Southwestern Medical Center study suggests. The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, tracked a group of gastric banding patients and found that despite nutritional counseling over a three-month period, most still did not meet recommended daily requirements for important nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, and calcium.

Beth Levine, M.D., receives 2014 Korsmeyer Award

Jan. 22, 2014 – Beth Levine, M.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Director of the Center for Autophagy Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has received the 2014 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). The award recognizes Dr. Levine’s fundamental contributions to the understanding of autophagy – literally, “self-eating” – a housecleaning process in which cells destroy damaged proteins and organelles.