Tag Archive | "miller school of medicine"

Register for March 23 Forum on Zika Virus

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Register for March 23 Forum on Zika Virus


Please note: Registration for the forum on Wednesday, March 23 closes on Monday, March 21. 

The Miller School of Medicine, the Division of Infectious Diseases, the Department of Public Health Sciences and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System will present Zika Forum: State of the Science, Public Health Safety and Ethics, on Wednesday, March 23, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, on the  Coral Gables campus. Miller School and other local and international experts in vector control, infectious diseases, public health, neurology, virology, and bioethics will discuss the state of the science, medical implications, public health concerns, and ethical challenges of the Zika virus.

The forum is presented in partnership with University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Institute of AIDS and Emerging Infectious Diseases, International Medicine Institute, University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade.

The event has been designated for CME/CEU credit, and registration fees apply. The general public and non-credit-seeking attendees may attend at no charge. For additional program details and to register, visit the cvent page.

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DOCS Initiative Hopes to Spread Health Care Model to Underserved Communities Nationwide

Special to UM News

From left, UM President Julio Frenk, Jeri Wolfson, and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt at the launch event for a new initiative that will help spread the DOCS model to other medical schools.

From left, UM President Julio Frenk, Jeri Wolfson, and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt at the launch event for a new initiative that will help spread the DOCS model to other medical schools.

MIAMI, Fla. (March 2, 2016) — In an effort to showcase its innovative educational model of providing quality health care to underserved communities, the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (DOCS) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has launched a new initiative to share its work on the national stage.

Disseminating the Model, a comprehensive website designed to spread the DOCS model to other medical schools, was unveiled at the recent event “Creating Connections: Celebrating New DOCS Initiatives,” which also served as an opportunity to recognize the many DOCS connections in the community. Read the full story

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Patient Marks a Decade of Insulin-Free Living

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Patient Marks a Decade of Insulin-Free Living

Special to UM News

DRICelebrating a significant 10-year milestone, Tallahassee resident Chris Schuh, 64, is grateful to be alive. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 30, Schuh received an islet cell transplant at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), and has been living free from insulin injections for a decade.

On February 11, Schuh met with her DRI doctors for a celebratory post-islet transplant follow-up. She joins other DRI transplant recipients who have been living insulin free, some for more than 10 years, demonstrating that natural insulin production can be restored in diabetes patients.

“The fact that it has worked so long is an incredible delight,” said Schuh. “To not worry about testing my blood sugar every time I walk out the door, or having to test 10 times a day, to not have to deal with the uncertainty of diabetes, it’s just plain old wonderful. I’m extremely grateful to be alive, and the only reason I am is because of the knowledge, care and expertise of the Diabetes Research Institute.”

Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them.

The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes. A pioneer in islet cell transplantation, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure for all people affected by diabetes. To patients like Schuh, this life-changing procedure couldn’t have come soon enough.

“My body became resistant to insulin,” she said. “No matter how strict I was with what I ate, or how detailed I was with the records I kept, it didn’t matter. My blood sugar numbers were always high, which is poison to your system.”

Now retired, Schuh spent her career as an executive of a statewide Florida association that required traveling – something that was too dangerous to do on her own.

“I couldn’t travel alone,” she said. “Stress makes your blood sugar go low, taking too much insulin makes you go low, activity can cause you to go low – I would never know when that was going to happen.”
A low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can be a dangerous condition that can cause fainting, seizure, coma or even death.

Worried that she wouldn’t live to see the age of 50 or even see her daughter off to college, Schuh found a glimmer of hope when she read a small item in the newspaper that was calling for clinical trial patient applications.

“That little three-inch column in the paper helped change my life!” she said.

After checking with her endocrinologist, Schuh applied to be a candidate for the DRI’s islet transplantation clinical trials. Following an intense screening process, she was accepted as a participant and was called for her first infusion of insulin-producing cells.

Although she lived decades of being on a rigid schedule of eating at specific times, which was always matched with insulin intake, Schuh remembered a feeling she had never really felt before shortly after the transplant.

“I finally felt hungry,” she said. “Something as simple as eating food became a whole new experience.”

Schuh was insulin-free for a short time following the first transplant but needed another infusion of cells. Since that second transplant, she has been free of insulin injections for 10 years, which is a significant benchmark.

“I feel alive and vibrant,” Schuh said. “Nothing is holding me back. I’ve taken master gardening classes. I rode a mule into the Grand Canyon. I’ve traveled the world without worry. I swam with dolphins.”
Schuh had never thought she would make it past 50, due to the severity of her diabetes and hypoglycemic reactions.

“One thing I want parents, kids, and all others affected by diabetes to know is that the cure is coming. Do not dismay. It will happen in our lifetime,” said Schuh, who firmly believes in and supports the Diabetes Research Institute’s singular mission – to find a biological cure for diabetes.

Building on these promising outcomes, the DRI is developing the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity.

To learn more about clinical trials or the work of the Diabetes Research Institute, call 1-800-321-3437 or visit the DRI website.

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Meet the Docs Presentation: Facts vs. Fiction Surrounding Medical Marijuana on March 2

The Miller School of Medicine’s Jeffrey S. Block, M.D. ’82, a board-certified anesthesiologist and highly recognized horticulturist and botanical medicine expert, will review the cannabis plant’s documented ethnobotanical co-evolution with human beings on Wednesday, March 2, at 8 p.m. in the Cox Science Center, 1301 Memorial Drive, room 145.

Block will discuss the new bioethical considerations confronting marijuana’s controversial contemporary use and abuse in light of recent discoveries and federal prohibitions. The event is part of the University’s Friends of the Gifford Arboretum “Meet the Docs” series of talks, which are free and open to all Coral Gables residents.

Please call 305-284-4904 for more information.

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Researcher Fights Cancer in the Lab and on the Run

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Researcher Fights Cancer in the Lab and on the Run

Special to UM News

Pierre-Jacques Hamard

Pierre-Jacques Hamard

“Being a cancer researcher is not only a job, it’s also a commitment to patients and the community,” says Pierre-Jacques Hamard, Ph.D., an associate scientist in the laboratory of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. “That is why I am doing the 5k run at this year’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge.”

On a regular day in the lab, Hamard is studying the mechanisms driving leukemias, which are blood cancers. He’s particularly interested in a gene called PRMT5, what role it plays under normal conditions, and what it does in cancer cells. Eventually, he and his colleagues want to use PRMT5 as a target for new precision therapies because the gene has been shown to be over-expressed in a number of cancers. “The idea is, if we inhibit PRMT5 or the resulting protein with a small molecule, perhaps we can kill the cancer cells that depend on that gene to function,” he said.

The laboratory Hamard works in collaborates with a number of biotech companies to identify compounds that target this protein. “We already have small molecules that we can test in the lab on different systems and we have preliminary data showing that these compounds can slow down the proliferation of cancer cells,” he said. “Obviously, this is very preliminary and we need to confirm our findings in different systems, but it is very encouraging.”

Hamard is a co-author of a 2015 scientific paper that described the role of PRMT5 in normal, non-cancerous cells. “We found that PRMT5 is a very important gene for blood production in the body,” he said. “The question now is how can we treat leukemia patients without affecting the role PRMT5 plays in normal blood production?” Since PRMT5 is over-expressed in leukemia, scientists believe that cancer cells could be more dependent on this gene than normal cells, which might render them more sensitive to PRMT5 inhibitors, offering the clinicians a therapeutic window for targeting PRMT5.

This kind of research taking place at Sylvester is possible partly because of the funds received from the DCC. “I’m doing what I’m doing because of the patients and I want to discover new and better cures and therapies,” said Hamard, who also rode in last year’s DCC. “I love to show people that even we scientists, who have dedicated our lives to research, are also involved in events like the DCC. We are not only ‘lab rats;’ we are also passionate community members and we want to tackle cancer once and for all.”

To register for the DCC, which will take place on Saturday, February 20, please visit TeamHurricanes.org.

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