Pediatrics In The News
April 24, 2019
Researchers learn how ‘bad cholesterol’ enters artery walls in condition linked to world’s No. 1 killer
UT Southwestern researchers have determined how circulating “bad cholesterol” enters artery walls to cause the plaque that narrows the blood vessels and leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Since low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol entry into the artery wall drives the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and atherosclerosis leads to heart attacks and strokes, future treatments preventing the process may help decrease the occurrence of these life-threatening conditions, said Dr. Philip Shaul, senior author of the study published online today in Nature. Read the full story.
April 23, 2019
Metabolism and Malignancy
A few years ago, Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis began seeing lab results that challenged long-standing scientific thinking about how cancer cells grow.
The UT Southwestern pediatrician and cancer researcher’s tests showed that lung cancer tumors could use a number of nutrients for food – including lactate, formed by the breakdown of glucose (sugar) and long considered just a waste product.
His findings flew in opposition to the so-called Warburg effect. The 1924 theory put forward by the Nobel Prize-winning German scientist and physician Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg postulated that cancer cells generate energy by breaking down glucose. The hallmarks of this process, according to Dr. Warburg, are rapid glucose uptake, reduced pyruvate oxidation, and secretion of lactate as a waste product.
Dr. DeBerardinis published his groundbreaking research in 2016 in Cell. A second study – even more emphatic about cancer’s use of lactate as a fuel source – came out in Cell the following year. Read the full story.
March 28, 2019
White honored with major award in pediatric endocrinology
Dr. Perrin White, Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology and an international authority on disorders of steroid synthesis in the adrenal gland, has been recognized with the Pediatric Endocrine Society’s 2019 Judson J. Van Wyk Prize.
The Van Wyk Prize is the Society’s most prestigious award for outstanding career achievement by a member in the field of pediatric endocrinology. The award honors Dr. Van Wyk, the late pediatric endocrinologist known for scientific excellence, leadership, and dedication to children’s health. Read the full story.
February 28, 2019
Dr. Steven Gray Speaks at University's President's Lecture Series
Dr. Steven Gray and Dr. Eric Olson are both innovators in gene therapy - one of the hottest fields in biomedical research, given it's potential to transform medicine by discovering cures for deadly genetic diseases. They're both on the search for cures for diseases that strike children and young adults. Drs. Gray and Olson discussed "Gene Therapy and Gene Editing: New Hope for Rare Diseases" at the first President's Lecture Series presentation of 2019. Read the full story.
February 20, 2019
Rate of highchair misuse climbs
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports a 25 percent leap in children injured using highchairs – the biggest jump in large-volume categories that included highchairs, strollers, cribs/mattresses, and infant carriers. Dr. Nakia Gaines, an emergency medicine pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health who researches injury prevention strategies, suggests highchairs be used primarily for mealtimes. Read the full story.
January 22, 2019
Hope for Life: Family's Efforts to Save Daughter Lead to Genetric Treatment for Rare Disease
Jocelyn Duff felt a pang of sadness as she looked down at her sleeping daughter, the steady click and hum of the child’s breathing machine triggering memories of how much Talia had lost in a few short years.
UT Southwestern Medical Center is helping the Duff family organize a gene therapy clinical trial to treat Talia’s condition, called Charcot Marie Tooth disease, type 4J (CMT4J). The disease – which shares many of the same symptoms as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – is caused by a gene mutation that prevents the body from filtering cellular waste.
The clinical trial is among several that UT Southwestern’s gene therapy program is organizing for a class of rare neurological diseases largely overlooked by the medical field. By inserting healthy genes missing from patients’ DNA, scientists are looking to develop lifesaving treatments for millions of children who collectively suffer from diseases like CMT4J.
“We’re not looking at this therapy as a cure,” said Dr. Steven Gray of UT Southwestern, noting that some patients may never recoup some of their body function. “But it may be a way to save Talia’s life by treating many of the critical aspects of the disease that would ultimately kill her.”
Dr. Gray, who has pioneered gene therapies for multiple rare diseases, is optimistic that CMT4J will be treatable through genetic means. He said the condition is similar to giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), another deadly disease for which gene therapy is being tested. Early results from that clinical trial have been positive. Read the full story.
Perrin White named 2019 recipient of the Judson J. Van Wyk prize
Perrin White, M.D., the Audre Newman Rapoport Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Endocrinology and Division Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology, was as the 2019 recipient of the Judson J. Van Wyk prize by the Pediatric Endocrine Society. The Van Wyk prize is the Society’s most prestigious award for outstanding career achievement by a member in the field of pediatric endocrinology. Established in honor of Judson J. Van Wyk, M.D., the Award stands in tribute to an outstanding leader whom has displayed a career of scientific excellence, leadership, and dedication to the health of children.
These characteristics also define Dr. White’s long and distinguished trajectory at
UT Southwestern. Dr. White joined UT Southwestern as a Professor of Pediatrics and Division Chief in 1994 after rising to the same rank at Cornell University Medical College, where he was already a world authority on the anomalies of steroid synthesis in the adrenal gland. During his tenure at UT Southwestern, Dr. White has continued his work on congenital adrenal hyperplasia and more recently on the mechanisms and treatment of juvenile diabetes while building one of the best divisions of pediatric endocrinology in the country. His contributions have gained him wide recognition and multiple awards, including a MERIT Award from NIH and the prestigious Mead Johnson Award from the Pediatric Academic Societies. Congratulations, Dr. White, on this outstanding achievement.