In the News

Dr. Vongpatanasin publishes latest study in "Hypertension"


Cardiologists know that when patients use a blood pressure cuff at home, they have a significant head start on managing their heart health risk. Now, researchers have learned the added value for African Americans.

“Our study shows that African American men and women who are taking medications to control their hypertension should monitor their blood pressure at home on a regular basis. These home-taken readings are a more accurate measure of how healthy the heart is than clinic readings when compared to other ethnic groups,” said Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Professor and Director of the Hypertension Section and its Hypertension Fellowship Program. Checking blood pressure in the clinic alone may miss the opportunity to prevent heart disease, especially in high-risk hypertensive black patients, she added.

A promising treatment for ADPKD


potential treatment for polycystic kidney disease – a genetic disorder that causes the kidneys to swell with multiple cysts and can eventually lead to organ failure – has shown promising results in animal testing.

A study describing the drug’s development and testing appears today in Nature Communications. The study shows an approximately 50 percent reduction in kidney size in afflicted mice following treatment. The drug is now in early clinical trials in human subjects, said Dr. Vishal Patel, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.

Dr. Zigman explores the potential of LEAP2 hormone


The hormone LEAP2, which naturally blocks the “hunger” hormone ghrelin, is elevated in people with obesity, especially after eating – raising hopes for a treatment that could one day more effectively reduce appetite and, hence, obesity.

Researchers at UT Southwestern and the Imperial College London evaluated how LEAP2 levels in the blood change in response to metabolic challenges. The new study, involving people enrolled in weight loss studies, showed that LEAP2 levels increase proportionately to body mass index and other markers of obesity.

The research points to LEAP2, a hormone produced in the liver and small intestine, as a natural brake on obesity and overeating, said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and co-senior author of the paper. As LEAP2 levels go up with obesity, ghrelin levels go down. On the other hand, LEAP2 drops after weight loss from dieting or weight loss surgery.

Study from Dr. Singal shows liver death reduction from hepatitis C drugs


A new study from the UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrates that antiviral drugs for hepatitis C reduce liver-related deaths by nearly 50% in patients with a history of liver cancer.

The finding builds on a December 2018 study by the same researchers who found that antiviral drugs do not increase the risk of liver cancer recurrence, as was previously feared.

Dr. Amit Singal’s study was published in the journal Gastroenterology on July 30. Dr. Singal is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Medical Director of the UT Southwestern Liver Tumor Program, and Clinical Chief of Hepatology. He collaborated on these studies with Dr. Caitlin Murphy, Assistant Professor of Population and Data Sciences and Internal Medicine. They are both members of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Levine's space research helps patients on Earth


With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are publishing heart-related space research that helps us to understand the problem of low blood pressure. The study, now in Circulation, is the first to examine this condition – called orthostatic intolerance – during daily activities when the astronauts returned home. The researchers found that exercise regimens during space flight, followed by saline injections after landing, were sufficient to prevent the condition from occurring.

Cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Levine led the study and has worked in space research for three decades. Dr. Levine is a Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and Director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a collaboration between UT Southwestern and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Dr. Won Lee honored as 'outstanding' educator


Dr. Won Lee, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and a Distinguished Teaching Professor, has been recognized with the UT System’s highest educational honor – the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award – for his academic prowess and mentoring talent.

UT Southwestern now has more than 50 faculty members who have been honored with the Regents Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching, mentoring, and personal commitment to students and the learning process.

Read More about the 2019 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards.


Remembering Dr. Eugene P. Frenkel


Dr. Eugene P. Frenkel, an internationally recognized cancer researcher and admired clinician and educator who pioneered UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Hematology and Oncology, died June 21, 2019. He was 89.

Dr. Frenkel was a National Cancer Institute Investigator known for discoveries linking vitamin B12 metabolism and cancer, and he remained committed to translational cancer research throughout his career. He also was revered for his compassionate bedside care and was highly respected as an academic mentor who supported the career development of countless students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty during a remarkable 57-year career at UT Southwestern. Dr. Frenkel, Professor of Internal Medicine and Radiology, was a Master of the American College of Physicians, a distinction bestowed for the excellence and significance of contributions to the science and art of medicine.

Read More about Dr. Frenkel's life and career at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Johnson Inducted into 2019 Giants of Cancer Care


Fifteen world-renowned leaders in hematology and oncology whose research has improved and extended the lives of millions of patients make up the 2019 class of Giants of Cancer Care. This year's recipients include physician–scientists who have conducted groundbreaking clinical trials, made important discoveries in cancer genetics, and who are developing cutting-edge therapeutics to provide personalized patient care. Dr. David H. Johnson, Chair of Internal Medicine was named the winner in the Lung Cancer category.

View the video in the UTSW Newsroom

Recent study published in JAMA Cardiology by Dr. Khera and team


What if your blood donation held clues to a dangerous genetic cholesterol condition that could also affect the health of your loved ones?

Cardiologists know that familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a condition that causes extremely high levels of cholesterol at an early age, is genetic. When one person is diagnosed, other family members can be identified. However, only an estimated 10 percent of those with FH are diagnosed, leaving many others at risk.

“For someone with FH, the risk of heart disease is higher because their clock started early. They’ve been bathed in high cholesterol since birth. At the same time, they may not know their kids are at risk,” said preventive cardiologist Dr. Amit Khera, Principal Investigator for the study and Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Sometimes by identifying one patient with FH, we find as many as eight or 10 more family members who are at risk.”

2019 Career Awards for Medical Scientists


Congratulations to Dr. Rodney Infante an Assistant Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition as well as the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, on being one of the recipients of the 2019 Burrough Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists (CAMS). The CAMS is a highly competitive program that provides $700,000 awards over five years for physician-scientists who are committed to an academic career to bridge advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training and the early years of faculty service.