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2007 News Releases

Microchip-based device can detect rare tumor cells in bloodstream
December 19, 2007 — A team of investigators from the MGH BioMEMS Resource Center and the MGH Cancer Center has developed a microchip-based device that can isolate, enumerate and analyze circulating tumor cells from a blood sample.

Receptor protein appears to be key in breakdown of kidney filtration
December 19, 2007 — MGH researchers have identified a new molecular pathway that appears to be involved in proteinuria, an early-stage kidney disease affects 100 million people around the world and is caused by a breakdown in the kidney's filtering structures.

Molecular pathway appears crucial in development of pulmonary fibrosis
December 12, 2007 — A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers may have found a key mechanism underlying idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a usually fatal lung disease for which transplantation is the only successful treatment.

Increasing growth hormone release reduces abdominal fat accumulation and improves lipid levels in HIV-infected patients
December 5, 2007 — An investigational drug that induces the release of growth hormone significantly improved the symptoms of HIV lipodystrophy.

The Aging Brain: Failure to Communicate
December 5, 2007 — A team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers has shown that normal aging disrupts communication between different regions of the brain.

Looking Through The Eyes Of A Mouse, Scientists Monitor Circulating Cells In Its Bloodstream
December 3, 2007 — A team of researchers from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at MGH has developed an optical device that allows them to peer through the eyes of a mouse and monitor the cells passing through its bloodstream.

Direct-to-consumer advertising for genetic tests concerns physicians and may mislead patients
November 30, 2007 — Direct-to-consumer advertising for commercial genetic testing is on the rise and may present potential pitfalls for patients and physicians, according to an MGH physician.

'Mismatched' prostate cancer treatment more common than expected
November 26, 2007 — More than a third of men with early prostate cancer who participated in a study received therapies that might not be appropriate, based on their pre-existing medical problems.

Brain differences found in people with migraine
November 19, 2007 — People with migraines have differences in an area of the brain that helps process sensory information, including pain.

Massachusetts General Hospital to host premiere symposium for Degos disease
November 6, 2007 — The MGH will host the first ever International Symposium on Degos Disease and Related Vasculopathies.

Economic motivation may affect how often some physicians order imaging studies
October 30, 2007 — Physicians who consistently refer patients to themselves or members of their own specialty for imaging studies, rather than to radiologists, are more likely to order such studies for a variety of medical conditions.

MGH, Cedars-Sinai testing Omega-3s for depression treatment
October 22, 2007 — MGH in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is undertaking a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA as treatments for depression.

MGH researcher receives $4 million grant for smoking cessation initiative
October 18, 2007 — A new research initiative could help millions of children grow up in smoke-free homes, help millions of adults quit smoking, and ultimately, save hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives.

Second phase of HapMap project is completed
October 17, 2007 — Investigators from six countries have completed the second phase of the International HapMap Project, an effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences among populations around the world.

Medical school departments, department heads often have industry relationships
October 16, 2007 — A study from the MGH Institute for Health Policy finds that institutional academic-industry relationships - financial relationships companies have with medical schools or teaching hospitals rather than with individual physicians or scientists - are as common and pervasive as individual relationships.

Study identifies pathway required for normal reproductive development
October 15, 2007 — MGH clinical researchers, in collaboration with basic scientists from the University of California, Irvine, have identified a new molecular pathway required for normal development of the reproductive, olfactory and circadian systems in humans and mice.

Animal study identifies potential treatment for Huntington's disease
October 8, 2007 — MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegererative Disease researchers have identified a compound that may lead to a treatment that could protect against the effects of Huntington's Disease.

Researchers Develop Targeted Approach to Pain Management
October 3, 2007 — Imagine an epidural or a shot of Novocain that doesn't paralyze your legs or make you numb, yet totally blocks your pain. This type of pain management is now within reach thanks to researchers at MGH and Harvard Medical School.

MIT research helps convert brain signals into action
October 2, 2007 — MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm to help create prosthetic devices that convert brain signals into action in patients who have been paralyzed or had limbs amputated. The lead author is also an MGH researcher.

Panic attacks associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and death in older women
October 1, 2007 — Older women who experience at least one full-blown panic attack may have an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke and an increased risk of death in the next five years.

Second pathway behind HIV-associated immune system dysfunction identified
September 30, 2007 — Researchers at the Partners AIDS Research Center at MGH may have discovered a second molecular "switch" responsible for turning off the immune system's response against HIV.

Painful condition affecting kidney failure patients increases risk of death
September 28, 2007 — A painful and debilitating condition that affects patients with kidney failure may be more common than previously believed and appears to be strongly associated with prior exposure to certain contrast agents used in imaging studies.

Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care Marks the Start of Construction in Danvers
September 25, 2007 — The new ambulatory care center being developed in Danvers by North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) officially marked the start of construction today.

Immune system modulation can halt liver failure in animals
September 25, 2007 — MGH researchers have a developed a totally new approach to treating liver failure - manipulating the immune response.

Jaff named medical director of the MGH Vascular Center
September 24, 2007 — Michael R. Jaff, DO, a national and international leader in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease, has been named the first full-time medical director of the MGH Vascular Center.

Research program to improve battlefield medicine slated for elimination by Department of Defense
September 18, 2007 — Federal funding for the Medical Free Electron Laser Program, which develops advanced laser and optical applications for use in the military and on the battlefield, has been marked for elimination by the Department of Defense.

NIH Director Invests in Innovation, New Investigators
September 18, 2007 — NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., is making a major investment in the future of science with five-year grants totaling more than $105 million to 41 exceptionally innovative investigators, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers.

Skin as a living coloring book
September 6, 2007 — The question of how melanin is delivered to appropriate locations may have been answered by a study from researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cutaneous Biology Research Center (CBRC).

Annual flu shot cuts need for doctors' visits, hospitalization among children
September 4, 2007
— Children under the age of 5 who receive an annual flu shot have a greatly reduced risk of needing to see their doctor or be admitted to the hospital because of flu-related illness.

MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
August 15, 2007
— Two MGH scientists have develop a way of creating novel enzymes that, for the first time, does not require prior understanding of exactly how the enzymes work.

Novel candidate biomarker for heart failure also predicts risk of death
August 6, 2007
— A potential new biomarker for heart failure may be more powerful than established measures in identifying patients at increased risk for death from several causes.

Molecular mechanism of common forms of kidney disease identified
August 1, 2007
— MGH researchers have identified a key mechanism underlying proteinuria - excess protein in the urine which signifies a breakdown in the kidney's filtering process.

Mass General Hospital testing new epilepsy therapy device
August 1, 2007
— The MGH Epilepsy Service is participating in a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a responsive brain stimulation device in reducing the frequency of uncontrolled seizures.

MGH researchers confirm that bone marrow restores fertility in female mice
July 31, 2007
— A new study from MGH researchers confirms that female mice that receive bone marrow transplantation after fertility-destroying chemotherapy can have successful pregnancies throughout their normal reproductive life.

Massachusetts General Hospital nurses inducted into American Academy of Nursing
July 25, 2007
— Two MGH nurses - Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nurse; and Diane Carroll, RN, PhD, nurse researcher - have been named fellows of the American Academy of Nursing.

New joint replacement material developed at MGH put to first clinical use
July 23, 2007
— MGH surgeons have performed the first total hip replacement using a joint socket lined with a novel material invented at the hospital. The new material may be applied in replacements for a wider variety of joints in a more diverse group of patients.

Study confirms that NSAIDs treatment can reduce colorectal cancer risk
July 23, 2007
— A study of Medicare patients with osteoarthritis provides additional evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Novel genetics research advances possibility of HIV vaccine
July 5, 2007
— A pioneering collaborative study has discovered how the HIV virus mutates to escape the body's immune system.

Most middle-school boys and many girls play violent video games
June 29, 2007
— A new study from the MGH Center for Mental Health and Media dispels some myths and uncovers some surprises about young teens and violent video and computer games.

Chronic conditions in children will pose future health and welfare challenges
June 26, 2007
— The increased incidence of chronic conditions among American children predicts serious strains on health care and social welfare systems in the future, caution investigators from MGH and Harvard School of Public Health.

Mass. General, Butler Hospitals testing SAMe for depression treatment
June 26, 2007
— MGH, in collaboration with Butler Hospital in Providence, is currently undertaking a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of the nutritional supplement SAMe as a treatment for depression.

Study identifies novel Parkinson's disease drug target
June 21, 2007
— Researchers at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease have identified a potential new drug target for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and possibly other degenerative neurological disorders.

Bone marrow microenvironment can contribute to blood cell disorder
June 14, 2007
— Disorders of blood cells may begin in the biological environment where the cells develop, not just with the cells themselves, according to a study from MGH and Australian researchers.

Study outlines how stroke, head injury can increase risk of Alzheimer's disease
June 6, 2007
— Researchers from the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders have discovered how the death of brain cells caused by a stroke or head injury may cause generation of amyloid-beta protein - the key component of senile plaques seen in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

A twist of fate - Reprogrammed fibroblasts resemble embryonic stem cells
June 6, 2007
— Stem cell biology takes another exciting leap forward as scientists report that normal tissue cells can be reprogrammed to exhibit many of the properties characteristic of embryonic stem cells.

Genetic variations may predispose some men to suicidal thoughts during treatment for depression
June 4, 2007
— Genetic variations may help explain why some men with depression develop suicidal thoughts and behaviors after they begin taking antidepressant medications, while most do not.

Study reveals aspirin's colorectal cancer prevention mechanism
May 23, 2007
— Aspirin therapy's ability to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer appears to depend on the drug's inhibition of the COX-2 enzyme, the action that underlies aspirin's usefulness for treating pain and inflammation.

Patients with "bleeding" strokes less likely to get prevention treatment
May 10, 2007
— Patients with a hemorrhagic (“bleeding”) stroke are significantly less likely to receive medications and counseling to prevent recurrent strokes compared to patients with an ischemic (clot-caused) stroke.

New mechanism identified for resistance to targeted lung cancer drugs
April 26, 2007
— An international research team, led by investigators from the MGH Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has found a new way that some lung tumors become resistant to treatment with targeted therapy drugs like Iressa and Tarceva.

Genomic tour de force for diabetes
April 26, 2007
— Scientists today announced the discovery of three unsuspected regions of human DNA that contain clear genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes and another that is associated with elevated blood triglycerides.

Physician ties to drug industry stronger than ever
April 25, 2007
— Despite the potential for conflict of interest, virtually all practicing physicians in the U.S. have some form of relationship with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

HIV infection appears to increase the risk of heart attack
April 24, 2007
— MGH researchers have found that infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is also associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Overcrowded hospitals may risk adverse events on busiest days
April 23, 2007
— Hospitals that operate at or over their capacity may be at increased risk of adverse events that injure patients, suggesting that efforts to meet two challenges facing hospitals today - reducing costs and improving patient safety - may work against each other.

Molecular signature may identify cisplatin-sensitive breast tumors
April 19, 2007
— Researchers at the MGH Cancer Center have identified a subgroup of hard-to-treat breast cancers that may be sensitive to the drug cisplatin, rarely used in the treatment of breast tumors.

Redstone Commits $105 Million to Fund Cancer and Burn Recovery Research and Patient Care
April 18, 2007
— Sumner M. Redstone announced a commitment of $105 million in charitable grants to fund research and patient care advancements in cancer and burn recovery at three major non-profit healthcare organizations.

Massachusetts General Hospital Announces Sale Regarding ENBREL®
April 18, 2007
— Massachusetts General Hospital today announced that it has sold to entities managed by Drug Royalty Corporation Inc. its future right to receive royalties on the sale of the drug ENBREL® outside North America.

Treatment costs fall and quality improves when patients use self-treatment tools
April 16, 2007
— Encouraging patients to become involved in providing their own care can reduce the cost and improve the quality of long-term medical treatment, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research team identifies additional genetic risk factors for Crohn's disease
April 15, 2007
— An international research team has identified several novel genetic variations associated with the risk of Crohn's disease and found that a previously unsuspected biological pathway may be involved in Crohn's pathology.

Growth-factor antibody may treat chronic lung disease affecting premature infants
April 2, 2007
— MGH researchers, in collaboration with scientists from the Genzyme Corporation, have identified a potential treatment for a chronic lung disease affecting premature infants..

Study Sheds Light on Medication Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder
March 28, 2007
— For depressed people with bipolar disorder who are taking a mood stabilizer, adding an antidepressant medication is no more effective than a placebo.

Blocking immune cell action increases Alzheimer's-associated protein deposits
March 27, 2007
— The immune system's response against amyloid-beta, the protein that forms plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, appears to protect the brain from damage in early stages of the devastating neurological disorder.

Long-term aspirin use associated with reduced risk of dying in women
March 26, 2007
— Women who take low to moderate doses of aspirin have a reduced risk of death from any cause, and especially heart disease–related deaths.

Study confirms imaging compound identifies amyloid-beta in human brain
March 12, 2007
— A team of investigators has confirmed that the imaging agent Pittsburgh Compound B binds to the protein in amyloid plaques that characterize Alzheimer's disease in the human brain.

Healthcare Inequities Underscore Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer
March 12, 2007
— Improving access to and utilization of the healthcare system may benefit African-American prostate cancer patients more than educational or motivational interventions, according to a new study.

MGH research award helps women establish scientific careers
February 26, 2007
— A program that provides modest research funding to women initiating careers in medical research has produced significant results in helping recipients both stay in academic research and establish groundwork for securing future research funding.

Cholesterol in Stroke Patients Exceeds National Guidelines
February 26, 2007
— Many stroke patients have cholesterol higher than national guidelines recommend that, if managed, may have prevented the stroke from happening.

Study shows how patients and therapists are 'wired to connect'
February 13, 2007
— Empathy is well known to be an important component of the patient-therapist relationship, and a new study has revealed the biology behind how patients and therapists 'connect' during a clinical encounter.

Study finds how common anesthetic may induce cell death and generation of Alzheimer's-associated protein
February 6, 2007
— A new study has found how one of the most commonly used anesthetics may produce Alzheimer's-like changes in the brain.

Researcher receives prestigious scholarship
January 30, 2007
— Bradley Bernstein, MD, PhD, of the MGH Department of Pathology has received a Charles E. Culpeper Scholarship in Medical Science.

New angiogenesis inhibitor has promise for treating deadly brain tumor
January 16, 2007
— Researchers from the MGH Cancer Center have found that AZD2171, a new angiogenesis inhibitor, can significantly reduce the size of the brain tumors called glioblastomas and may improve the effectiveness of other therapeutic techniques.

MGH Cancer Center researchers find new gene associated with Wilms tumor
January 4, 2007
— Researchers at the MGH Cancer Center have discovered a novel gene mutation associated with Wilms tumor, the most common pediatric kidney cancer.