News from UVM

POSTED on September 8, 2013

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Environmental Exposures and Breast Density

Recent research by Brian Sprague, Ph.D., University of Vermont assistant professor of surgery, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, sheds light on a potential correlation between chemicals commonly found in the environment and mammographic breast density, which is associated with a higher risk for breast cancer.
“We wanted to find out if people with different exposure levels had signs of higher or lower risk,” explains Sprague, who works in UVM’s Office of Health Promotion Research and is a member of the Vermont Cancer Center.
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Transatlantic Team Examines Nerve Activity and Brain Blood Flow

UVM Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pharmacology, Dr. Mark Nelson and collaborator Anne Joutel, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Paris head a network of excellence to study “Pathogenesis of Small Vessel Disease of the Brain” thanks to a multi-million dollar grant from the LeDucq Foundation. The network is condicting scientific research to identify the genes driving a rare genetic disorder involving the brain’s small blood vessels called CADASIL – an acronym for Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy.

In reality, explains Nelson, the number of people suffering from the disorder, which causes multiple small strokes and leads to cognitive impairment and dementia, is relatively small (about one in 50,000 people are affected). However, non-genetic causes of small vessel disease (SVD) account for about 25 to 30 percent of ischemic strokes and are a leading cause of cognitive decline and disability. In studying small vessel physiology and pathophysiology in CADASIL, specifically the molecular mechanisms responsible for local control of blood flow in the brain, the team’s work will provide a window into the common denominators shared by all blood vessel problems in the brain, including hemorrhagic stroke, and the more common SVD.

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Clinical Trials for a New Cholera Oral Vaccine at UVM

Absent for more than 100 years in the U.S., cholera continues to challenge public health officials worldwide, causing an estimated three to five million cases and a reported 100,000 to 120,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The University of Vermont Vaccine Testing Center aims to help combat this worldwide threat by launching a new clinical trial to test an oral cholera vaccine, and hopes Vermonters will engage in the effort to control this global disease of poverty.

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New Anti-Cancer Drug

Anti-cancer drug discovered from a collaborative research effort by The University of Vermont’s College of Medicine and the Department of Chemistry gains market access in France. Cell Therapeutics, Inc. today reported that the Transparency Commission (Commission de la Transparence or CT) of the French National Health Authority (Haute Autoritede Sante or HAS) has granted market access for the medicinal product PIXUVRI (pixantrone) as a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with multiply relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (patients with aggressive B-cell NHL who failed 2 or 3 prior lines of therapy). The next and final step in France’s pharmaceutical reimbursement process is inclusion on the list of medicines approved for hospital use and subsequent publication in the Journal Officiel in France, which CTI now intends to pursue.

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[Part of the Fall 2013 Newsletter, See More in the Archives.]

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