In the News
MRSA infections less costly, but still deadly
Staph infections, whether MRSA (resistant to methicillin) or susceptible, are important and deadly. Drug-resistant staph infections continue to be deadlier than those that are not resistant and treatable with traditional antibiotics, but treatment costs surprisingly are the same or slightly less, a new national analysis shows.
“The lower costs for treating drug-resistant infections were a surprise,” said Dr. Trish Perl, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine and a co-author of the study. “The findings are contrary to previous predictions and studies that suggested the treatment costs for drug-resistant infections would be greater.”
Financial strain has major impact on patients’ health care decisions
Financial strain is the single most important factor in making health care decisions for low-income individuals, who often forgo care in favor of basic needs like food and rent, researchers in UT Southwestern’s Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) found.
“Financial strain is the burden that prevents many low-income patients from being able to take better care of themselves,” said lead author Dr. Oanh Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “This financial strain can cause nonadherence to physician recommendations that appear to reflect a patient’s lack of engagement in care. However, this ‘nonadherence’ is actually the result of rational and difficult trade-offs to cope with financial strain.”
Dr. Gerber commentary on clinical trial exclusions
The growing number of exclusions is shrinking the pool of candidates who can participate in trials and causing delays in drug development. Currently, fewer than 2 percent of adult cancer patients in the United States are treated in clinical trials. And research by Dr. David Gerber shows that patients with a history of cancer are excluded in more than 80 percent of lung cancer trials.
Dr. Ambarish Pandey selected Texas Health Resources Clinical Scholar
UT Southwestern cardiologist Dr. Ambarish Pandey has been named a Texas Health Resources Clinical Scholar. Funding from this award will bolster his studies developing novel approaches to prevent heart failure and improve heart failure outcomes at a health system level.
The $750,000 career development award over three years supports Dr. Pandey’s research on screening and prevention of heart failure, particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a difficult to treat form of heart failure.
Dr. Beg leads study to evaluate Wearable fitness monitors usefulness in cancer treatment
Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbits, that measure steps taken per day may be a useful tool to evaluate and help treat cancer patients, researchers at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center have shown.
“This is the first step in understanding how relevant wearable devices are for cancer patients. My hope is that we can use wearable devices in large cancer clinical trials. That way, we can see what the true effect of different cancer treatments are on patients’ physical activity,” said senior author Dr. Muhammad Beg, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care, and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Donald W. Seldin, ‘intellectual father’ of UT Southwestern, dies at 97
Dr. Donald W. Seldin, known as the “intellectual father” of UT Southwestern Medical Center, died Wednesday, April 25. He was 97.
The enduring contributions of Dr. Seldin, Professor and Chairman Emeritus of Internal Medicine, placed him among the most distinguished academic medical educators in the history of internal medicine. Throughout his 67-year career at UT Southwestern, his dedication to educating generations of top medical professionals, as well as his success in transforming a small medical school housed in converted Army barracks into one of the nation’s premier medical centers, are all part of the lasting legacy of this giant of medicine and higher education.
FDA approves new standard of care for kidney cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval to the combination of two immunotherapy drugs, ipilimumab and nivolumab, for the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer. “The approval of this combination immunotherapy is the most significant advance for the treatment of kidney cancer over the last 10 years. Not only is this therapy superior than the current the standard of care, but patients experienced also a better quality of life,” said Dr. Hans Hammers, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Co-Leader of the Kidney Cancer Program at UT Southwestern. “However, serious side effects can occur which require timely diagnosis and expertise in their management.”
Nijhawan to receive 2018 Seldin-Smith Awar
UT Southwestern’s Dr. Deepak Nijhawan became a co-recipient of the 2018 Donald Seldin-Holly Smith Award for Pioneering Research.
Dr. Jain awarded CPRIT funding for Hep C Screening
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded UT Southwestern researchers more than $27 million, including nearly $3 million for two key cancer screening programs in underserved areas, lung cancer screenings and Liver Cancer/Hepatitis C screening. Dr. Mamta Jain, Director of the HIV Research Unit at UT Southwestern, will conduct hepatitis C screening among baby boomers, with the goal of reducing the incidence of liver cancer.
The two-part program involves developing a population-based electronic alert at John Peter Smith Hospital and using a mobile van to screen residents in eight North Texas counties. The program aims to screen more than 20,000 patients through combined efforts at JPS and community outreach programming.
UT Southwestern earns accreditation from the ACHD
In recognition of its expertise in serving adults with congenital heart disease (CHD), UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health℠ have received accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a nationwide organization focused on connecting patients, family members and health care providers to form a community of support and network of experts with knowledge of congenital heart disease.