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1999 News Releases

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Study identifies new tumor suppressor gene in Li-Fraumeni syndrome
CHK2 gene has similar effects to p53, may be part of same DNA repair pathway

December 23, 1999 A research team based at the Massachusetts General Hospital has identified a novel gene that is mutated in some families that have Li-Fraumeni syndrome or a closely related condition but do not have mutations in p53, the gene most closely associated with Li-Fraumeni.

 

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MGH study identifies new inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis and growth
December 20, 1999 A research team based at the Massachusetts General Hospital has shown that a natural factor called thrombospondin-2 (TSP-2) inhibits the development of certain tumors in a mouse model by preventing the development of blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis.

 

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Harvard affiliates launch cancer collaborative to accelerate development of new therapies
Center is largest private cancer research effort in the nation

December 9, 1999 — Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, four of its other affiliated hospitals, and Harvard School of Public Health have launched a series of overlapping collaborations to create the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). The institutions conduct more than $235 million in cancer-related research each year.

 

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MGH research shows gene therapy may be able to reverse heart failure
Cellular study identifies protein target for new therapeutic approaches

December 7, 1999 — Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have for the first time shown that gene therapy may be able to reverse heart failure, one of the major causes of death and disability in North America and Europe.

 

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MGH researchers first to identify genetic malfunction in type 1 diabetes
Focus on autoimmune reaction may lead to new preventive or therapeutic approaches

November 24, 1999 — A research study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified a gene malfunction that appears to be central to the development of type 1 diabetes.

 

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Few physicians counsel adolescents about smoking
November 3, 1999Despite the fact that most smokers take up the habit as adolescents, few U.S. physicians counsel their young patients about the health risks of smoking, according to a study appearing in the Nov. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

 

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Key developmental genes identified, linked to rare syndrome
Genes also may have role in cancer

November 2, 1999 — MGH researchers  have identified two genes that are crucial to a key step in embryonic development and also have shown that the human version of one of these genes may be associated with a rare immune deficiency syndrome.

 

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Telemedicine can be used for accurate diagnosis of stroke symptoms
High-tech diagnosis may save lives through faster, more accurate treatment

October 8, 1999 —  In a study in the October issue of Stroke, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital show that new telemedicine technologies can be used to shorten the time required for an accurate stroke diagnosis, especially for patients in locations distant from major medical centers.

 

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Researchers find elevated cholesterol is risk factor for preeclampsia
Result may lead to ways to prevent dangerous condition of pregnancy

October 1, 1999A research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s (BWH) hospital has found that elevated cholesterol levels appear to be a risk factor for preeclampsia, a condition of pregnancy that can have dangerous consequences for both the mother and child.

 

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Enrollment process for first human study of Endostatin™ protein begins today
September 28, 1999 The enrollment process for the first clinical trial of EndostatinProtein, an angiogenesis inhibitor that seeks to reduce tumors by cutting off their blood supply, will begin today at 8:00 a.m. Patients seeking to participate in the Phase I study, which is designed to assess the drug’s safety and proper dosage not its effectiveness, may call a hotline at 617-632-5100.

 

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MGH researchers identify angiogenesis inhibitor in gallbladder cancer
September 27, 1999 — Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered that a cellular growth factor called TGFb1 has a previously unsuspected role in regulating the growth of blood vessels associated with metastatic gallbladder cancer.

 

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Double transplant frees patient from need for immunosuppressive drugs
Patient treated successfully for both kidney failure and multiple myeloma

August 24, 1999 While organ transplants have been one of the great success stories of 20th century medicine, one of the downsides of the lifesaving procedures has been the requirement that organ recipients take powerful drugs to suppress their immune system for the rest of their lives. Now for the first time, physicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have deliberately induced a state of immune tolerance in a transplant recipient, enabling the patient to discontinue drug treatment without rejecting a transplanted kidney.

 

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Treatment for ADHD appears to reduce risk of substance abuse
Study allays concerns that stimulant use may lead to future drug problems

August 2, 1999 — Boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHDH) who are treated with medications – usually stimulant drugs like Ritalin – are one-third as likely to develop substance abuse or dependence as are boys with ADHD who receive no treatment, according to a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The report in the August issue of Pediatrics contradicts a common fear that stimulant treatment could open the door to future drug abuse.

 

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Scientists clear hurdle in effort to destroy experimental brain cancers with viruses
Curbing immune system's antiviral response allows anticancer agent to reach, attack brain tumors

July 27, 1999Teaming tumor-attacking viruses with an approved chemotherapeutic drug may be more effective than either agent alone for treating multi-site brain cancers, reports a team of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers.

 

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New computer model supports the importance of annual mammograms
Frequency of screenings appears critical to preventing breast cancer deaths

July 26, 1999 – The fact that a woman has had a mammogram "within the past few years" is not sufficient to protect her from breast cancer, says a group of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In a study published in the August issue of Radiology, the MGH investigators show that the interval between mammograms may be the most critical factor for reducing the breast cancer death rate.

 

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Researchers find missing spring in circadian clock of mammals
July 22, 1999 – Humans, like all organisms – including other animals, plants, bacteria, and molds – have an internal biological clock that drives them to be active during certain phases of a 24-hour period and to rest at others. In the current issue of Cell, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report the identification of an exciting piece in the puzzle for our understanding of the cellular machinery that makes mammals, including humans, tick.

 

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Hospital study shows more patients could qualify for free-care coverage
Most bad-debt writeoffs involve patients poor enough to qualify for state reimbursement

July 12, 1999 — Practically all patients whose care in Massachusetts hospitals is reimbursed out of state free-care funds have incomes within the guidelines for such care, according to a report in the July/August issue of Health Affairs. However, contrary to a common belief that many patients whose expenses are written off as bad debt are able to pay their bills, the study of 1996 data found that the great majority of bad-debt patients had incomes that would have made them eligible for state-sponsored free care or Medicaid.

 

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MGH study shows mitral valve prolapse not a stroke risk factor
June 30, 1999 — Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital report that mitral valve prolapse, an abnormality of a heart valve, does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of stroke among young people.

 

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New technique induces growth across spinal cord injury
Animal study may change understanding of barriers to regeneration

May 24, 1999 – Using a totally new approach, researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have for the first time induced the growth of severed adult mammalian spinal cord fibers across the site of the injury. The animal study appearing in the May issue of Neuron is the first to report repairing such an injury without the use of implanted cells or tissues to bridge the severed fibers.

 

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Less toxic bone marrow transplant technique may have more powerful anti-cancer effect
Researchers induce "chimeric" immune system in lymphoma patients

May 20, 1999 – A research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has shown that it is possible to transplant bone marrow successfully from mismatched human donors without the usual pre-transplant destruction of the patient’s own bone marrow.

 

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EntreMed, Inc. announces Phase I human clinical trial sites for recombinant human Endostatin™ protein
Sites Named at 35th Annual Meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncologists

May 17, 1999 – The first Phase I clinical trial to begin human safety testing and evaluation of Endostatin™ protein will be through Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, the joint-venture between Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospitals in Boston.

 

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Researchers identify molecule that may be key in pheromone processing
May 3, 1999 – A research team at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard University has identified a molecule that may be key to the process by which the chemical signals called pheromones are turned into nerve impulses travelling to the brain in rodents.

 

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Five MGH employees recognized for practicing family-oriented care
April 20, 1999 — The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Pediatrics Service presented its annual Family-Centered Care Awards at a March 19 reception at the hospital.

 

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Advertising may influence physicians’ choice of blood pressure drugs
Ten-year review shows marked increase in ads for newer, more expensive drugs

April 16, 1999 – The increase in the use of calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension – a 10-year trend that is not supported by research studies or national treatment guidelines – has been paralleled by a marked increase in advertising such drugs to physicians, says a research group from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

 

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Er:YAG laser has advantages over CO2 laser for wrinkle removal
MGH study is first to compare treatment modalities

April 14, 1999 – The erbium:YAG (Er:YAG) laser can be as effective as the standard CO2 laser for the removal of wrinkles with fewer side effects, according to a study from the Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

 

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Two New Programs Will Train Medical And Nursing Faculty In End-Of-Life Care
Stanford and Harvard Receive Grants for Innovative Programs

April 5, 1999 – Two ground-breaking programs to train doctors and nurses in providing better care for the dying are being launched by universities on opposite sides of the country. Stanford University and Harvard Medical School will start their programs to train medical and nursing faculty with funds from the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

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Partners HealthCare And Millennium Establish Broad Strategic Research Collaboration
March 23, 1999 Partners HealthCare System, Inc. and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: MLNM) today announced the formation of a five-year research collaboration. The alliance combines Partners' medical and research expertise with Millennium's genomics-based drug discovery and development expertise and integrated science and technology platform.

 

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New JAMA Study: Managed Care Competition Affects Ability of Medical Schools, Teaching Hospitals to Conduct Research
Separate Task Force Report Reveals NIH Provides Inadequate Support of Direct and Indirect Costs of Research Conducted at Academic Health Centers

March 23, 1999 Despite significant growth in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, new analyses have found that medical schools and teaching hospitals in highly competitive markets are experiencing difficulty in conducting research and securing federal research grants.

 

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NHLBI Clinical Trial Stopped Early: Successful Ventilator Strategy Found for Intensive Care Patients on Life Support
March 15, 1999 – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health today announced that a large clinical trial of mechanical ventilator use for intensive care patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) has been stopped early.

 

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Most who lose Medicaid have trouble finding health insurance
February 16, 1999 – A study of Massachusetts residents who lost Medicaid-funded health coverage shows that most were unable subsequently to find sufficient health insurance for themselves and their children. Those who remained uninsured reported difficulty receiving needed services, even though most of them had access to a health care provider.

 

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BACKGROUNDER HIV/AIDS RESEARCH at MGH

 

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Gene knockout prolongs ovarian lifespan in mice
January 30, 1999 – A research team based at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that inactivation of a single gene in female mice can sustain ovarian function into advanced age.

 

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Lowering the cesarean delivery rate: Weighing the risks
January 6, 1999 – Four Harvard physicians are strongly recommending a moratorium on efforts to further reduce the national cesarean section delivery rate until the safety of mothers and babies can be assured. The four obstetricians suggest that economic forces, rather than the well-being of patients, may be driving the US government’s goal of reducing the cesarean section rate.

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