UPMC Physician Resources

7th Annual Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) Symposium Thursday, October 19, 2017

The 7th Annual AKI Symposium will be held Thursday, October 19 at the Starzl Biomedical Science Tower Conference Room S120.

UPMC experts across several divisions and departments will come together to discuss the latest in acute kidney injury research, further collaboration, patient advocacy, and education.

The symposium will include scientific presentations and posters from UPMC faculty as well as keynote speeches from guest faculty.

Registration begins at 7:30 am, and the conference adjourns at 4 p.m.

View the full agenda here.

 

2017 Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting — live surgical presentation on Tuesday, October 10

For those attending the 2017 Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, be sure to visit the Demonstration Theater for a live surgical presentation on Tuesday, October 10, 2:00-2:30 p.m.:

Endoscopic and Endoscopic Assisted Skull Base Surgery

Operating Surgeon: Paul Gardner, MD, UPMC

Moderator: Garni Barkhoudarian, MD

This live surgical presentation is available to 2017 CNS attendees only.

UPMC-Developed Genetic Test Successfully Detects Some Asymptomatic Pancreatic Cancers

A genetic test developed at UPMC proved highly sensitive at determining which pancreatic cysts are most likely to be associated with one of the most aggressive types of pancreatic cancer, UPMC and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists reported in Gut, the journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

The successful results are a critical step toward a precision medicine approach to detecting and treating pancreatic cancer, which has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers.

Pancreatic cysts — small pockets of fluid in the pancreas — are increasingly detected on medical scans by happenstance. For the most part, the cysts are benign. But because some can progress to pancreatic cancer, doctors must determine whether it is surgically necessary to remove the cysts.

“On the one hand, you never want to subject a patient to unneeded surgery. But survival rates for pancreatic cancer are much better if it is caught before symptoms arise, so you also don’t want to ignore an early warning sign,” said lead author Aatur D. Singhi, MD, PhD, a surgical pathologist in the UPMC Division of Anatomic Pathology. “This rapid, sensitive test will be useful in guiding physicians on which patients would most benefit from surgery.”

Singhi and his team at UPMC developed PancreaSeq®, which requires a small amount of fluid removed from the cyst to test for 10 different tumor genes associated with pancreatic cancer. It was the first such prospective study, testing pancreatic cysts before surgery, rather than analyzing cysts after surgery as had been done by previous efforts.

The study, funded in part by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and The National Pancreas Foundation, also was the first to evaluate a test that employed a more sensitive genetic sequencing method called next-generation sequencing and the first to be performed in a certified and accredited clinical laboratory as opposed to a research setting.

“This was important to us,” said Singhi. “If PancreaSeq is going to be used to make clinical decisions, then it needed to be evaluated in a clinical setting in real time, with all the pressures that go with a clinical diagnosis.”

In this analysis phase, the test was not intended to be used as the sole factor in determining whether to remove the cyst or not, so doctors relied on current guidelines when deciding on a course of treatment. A total of 595 patients were tested, and the team followed up with analysis of surgically removed cysts, available for 102 of the patients, to evaluate the accuracy of the test.

The study showed that with 100 percent accuracy, PancreaSeq correctly classified every patient in the evaluation group who had intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) — a common precursor to pancreatic cancer — based on the presence of mutations in two genes, KRAS and GNAS. Furthermore, by analyzing mutations in three additional genes, the test also identified the cysts that would eventually progress to being cancerous lesions, also with 100 percent accuracy. test was less accurate for the less prevalent pancreatic cyst type called mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN) — catching only 30 percent of the cases. Importantly, PancreaSeq did not identify any false positives in either cyst type, making it a highly specific test.

The researchers noted that the results could be biased by choice of which patients had their cysts surgically removed, but plan to monitor those who did not have their cysts removed to continue evaluation of the test’s reliability. An improved version of PancreaSeq that incorporates additional tumor genes associated with pancreatic cancer currently is undergoing rigorous clinical testing, according to Singhi. In the future, the team notes, clinical guidelines will need to be revisited to explore incorporating tests like PancreaSeq.

The PancreaSeq test currently is available to patients and ordered through UPMC.

Marina N. Nikiforova, MD, is the senior author on this study. Additional authors are Kevin McGrath, MD, Randall E. Brand, MD, Asif Khalid, MD, Herbert J. Zeh, MD, Jennifer S. Chennat, MD, Kenneth E. Fasanella, MD, Georgios I. Papachristou, MD, PhD, Adam Slivka, MD, PhD, David L. Bartlett, MD, Anil K. Dasyam, MD, Melissa Hogg, MD, Kenneth K. Lee, MD, James Wallis Marsh, MD, Sara E. Monaco, MD, N. Paul Ohori, MD, James F. Pingpank, MD, Allan Tsung, MD, Amer H. Zureikat, MD, and Abigail I. Wald, PhD, all of Pitt or UPMC, or both.

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Annual Assembly 2017 — Oct. 12-15, Denver

The UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Physical Rehabilitation will be well-represented at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Annual Assembly 2017 in Denver, Co. Faculty research will be featured in both oral and poster presentations throughout the conference, including:

Michael Munin, MD

(Preconference Course) Optimizing Outcomes for Patients with Spasticity: Improving Assessment and Maximizing Intervention Options
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 708-712
Wed. Oct. 11 – 8am-5pm

Ultrasound Guidance for Lower Limb Chemodenervation Procedures
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom 4EFThurs. Oct. 12 – 8am-11am

US as an Extension of EMG/NCV
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 702-706
Fri. Oct 13 – 10am-11:15am

Learning Center: Chemodenervation – Chemodenervation of the Upper Limb
Colorado Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
Sat. Oct. 14 – 10:30am-12pm

Ultrasound Guidance for Head and Neck Chemodenercation Procedure
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom 4EF
Sat. Oct. 14 – 2pm-5pm

Jose Ramirez-Del Toro, MD

Regenerative Medicine: Stem Cell Treatment in Osteoarthritis Office-Based Application
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom 4AB
Wed. Oct. 11 – 2pm-5pm

Regenerative Medicine: Stem Cell Treatment in Osteoarthritis Office-Based Application
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom 4EF
Fri. Oct. 13 – 8am-11am

Natasa Miljkovic, MD, PhD

Positioning Physiatry in the Care Continuum, Part 1
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 702-706
Thurs. Oct. 12 – 2pm-3:30pm

Personalized Medicine in Cognitive Rehabilitation: How to Approach Challenging Cases of Delirium, Dementia and Agitation
Colorado Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom 2B
Fri. Oct. 13 – 10am-11:15am

Michael Boninger, MD

Natasa Miljkovic, MD, PhD

Positioning Physiatry in the Care Continuum, Part 2
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 702-706
Thurs. Oct. 12 – 3:45pm-5:15pm

Kentaro Onishi, DO

The Great Debate. What the Evidence Shows in Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 601-603
Thurs. Oct. 12 -9:30am-11am

Advanced Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography – Emerging Technologies Beyond Grayscale Ultrasound
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 601-603
Fri. Oct. 13 – 2pm-3:15pm

Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD

The Cellular and Systemic Effects of Exercise on the Aging Spine and Musculoskeletal System
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 605
Fri. Oct. 13 – 4pm-5:30pm

Marissa Pfoff, MD
Leading in Research: Pain and Spine Medicine Podium Session
Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room 705
Fri. Oct. 13 – 8am-9:15am

2017 AAPM&R Resident Posters

Resident(s) Collaborator Title
Geoff Henderson Amanda Harrington, MD New Onset Upper Extremity Weakness in a Woman with Pre-Existing Paraplegia: A Case Report
Geoff Henderson Andrew D. Althouse, PhD, Kelly Allsup, BS, and Daniel E. Forman, MD Is Cardiac Rehabilitation Useful for Cardiovascular Disease Patients Who are Frail?
Mark Linsenmeyer Gary Galang, MD Disorders of Consciousness due to Anoxic Brain Injury: a Case Series of 8 Patients
Mark Linsenmeyer Julie Lanphere, DO Management of Severe Autonomic Instability in a Patient with Multiple System Atrophy and a Concurrent Blood Pressure Cap: a Case Report
Marissa Pavlinich William Anderst, PhD, Tom Gale, MS, Kris Gongaware, Michael Schneider, PhD DC Intervertebral Kinematics in the Cervical Spine Before, During and After High Velocity Low Amplitude Manipulation
Brittni Micham Julie Lanphere, DO Anton-Babinski Syndrome Diagnosed During Inpatient Rehabilitation: A Case Report
Brittni Micham Amanda Harrington, MD Heterotopic Ossification Treated with Etridronate for Eight Years: A Case Report
Alyssa Neph John Horton, MD Spinal Dural Arteriovenous Fistula- a Diagnostic Dilemma
Allison Schroeder Kentaro Onishi, DO Utility of Dynamic Sonographic Examination and Intervention in the Management of Proximal Tibiofibular Joint Osteoarthritis in the Context of Partial Fibulectomy: A Case Report
Steph Schaaf Dr. Sowa/Dr. Cortazzo Association of Clinical Characteristics and Response to Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections in Subjects with Axial Low Back Pain
Steph Schaaf Dr. Stepanczuk Vertebral Artery Dissection and Stroke in a Female Marathon Runner

2017 UPMC Lung Transplant Conference — Oct. 4-6

The UPMC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Division of Lung Transplant/Lung Failure) and Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, along with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are hosting the 2nd Annual UPMC Lung Transplant Symposium from Wednesday, Oct. 4, to Friday, Oct. 6. The conference will include a mini ECMO simulation lab, a donor heart/lung procurement wet lab, and didactic sessions led by a variety of lung transplant experts.

Join us at the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower beginning at 8 a.m. on Oct. 4.

UPMC Presbyterian University Hospital
Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Topics Will Include

• 2,000 Thoughts on 2,000 Lung Transplants

• Latest Developments in Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion

• Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as Bridge to Transplant

• Patient Perspective

• Post-Operative Challenges

• Special Populations

Registration

Register at https://ccehs.upmc.com/liveFormalCourses.jsf. For more information, visit UPMC.com/LungTransplantConference or contact the Conference Coordinator, Angela Kinnunen, via email at kinnunenae@upmc.edu or by telephone at 412-648-6342.

Partnership for Public Service Honors VA Pittsburgh/Pitt Researcher with ‘Oscar’ of Government Service 2017 Service to America Medal honors Dr. Rory Cooper as “America’s best in government”

The Partnership for Public Service will honor Rory Cooper, PhD, research scientist at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, with a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie) on Sept. 27 for his work as director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratory (HERL).

Cooper will receive the Sammie in the Science and Environment category for developing adaptive wheelchairs at HERL, a collaboration between Pitt, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and UPMC. Cooper is HERL’s founding director and its VA senior research career scientist.

An Army veteran, Cooper was cited in his nomination for designing innovative wheelchairs and other assistive technologies that have markedly improved the mobility and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of veterans and other people with disabilities. He led projects that include development of a wheelchair with robotic arms and hands that can grasp objects, personal vehicles that enable people to access terrain their wheelchairs can’t traverse and manual wheelchairs with more comfortable and adjustable seats.

Cooper and six other winners were chosen from 26 finalists and more than 440 nominees by a selection committee that includes leaders from government, business, the foundation and nonprofit community, academia, entertainment and the media. The entire awards ceremony will be streamed live from Washington, DC, and viewable on the Partnership for Public Service’s Facebook page beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

“The federal government is a unique instrument for our country. The 2017 Service to America Medal recipients represent the best in government, the unsung heroes who quietly work behind the scenes to serve their country and the public good,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “It is important, especially in these uncertain times, to celebrate and recognize the Sammies honorees and their colleagues throughout the government who are making a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Cooper is the FISA Foundation/Paralyzed Veterans of America chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He also serves as the school’s associate dean for inclusion and a distinguished professor, as well as a professor of bioengineering, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and orthopaedic surgery.

To learn more about the Sammies, visit servicetoamericamedals.org.

The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Announces Leadership Changes

Print Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has announced new leadership appointments in its Heart Institute and Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

Jacqueline Kreutzer, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is now appointed as chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

An internationally recognized leader in interventional cardiology, Kreutzer currently is serving as director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Children’s Hospital. She completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship and training in interventional cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and is board-certified in pediatric cardiology and adult congenital heart disease. Kreutzer joined Children’s Hospital in 2005.

Kreutzer has been a clinical champion for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, distinguished in the field of interventional cardiology innovation, bringing new techniques to Children’s Hospital. She has served as the institutional investigator on numerous clinical trials for investigational devices and currently is the national principal investigator for the Melody transcatheter pulmonary valve post-approval study.

Kreutzer has authored more than 80 publications and serves as editor and reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. She has lectured extensively and served in numerous academic positions such as for the American Board of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention.

Vivek Allada, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Pitt School of Medicine, has been appointed executive director of the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital.

Allada completed his pediatric cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in non-invasive imaging. He has served as the clinical director of pediatric cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics since 2006 and as the interim division chief since 2012. He is recognized nationally, having co-chaired the Committee on Pediatric Echocardiography Laboratory for the American Society of Echocardiography. Allada has distinguished himself as a clinical leader with outstanding administrative talents while leading the Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the Heart Institute. Along with his new role overseeing the Heart Institute strategic plans, he will continue as clinical director for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

“Drs. Kreutzer and Allada have been instrumental in the development and success of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the Heart Institute,” said Terence Dermody, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Pitt School of Medicine, and physician-in-chief and scientific director at Children’s Hospital. “Under their leadership, many new clinical initiatives have been developed, resulting in the highest quality ratings and substantial growth for the overall cardiology program.”

In addition to Kreutzer and Allada, Children’s Heart Institute is co-directed by Victor Morell, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery. Under Morell’s leadership, Children’s pediatric cardiovascular surgery program has outcomes that are among the highest in the nation. Children’s had one of the lowest overall four-year surgical mortality rates among all high-volume programs with a mortality rate under 2 percent and was awarded a 3-Star rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (2012-2016), one of only eleven programs to receive this distinction. Nationally, the average mortality rate for all pediatric cardiovascular programs was 3.1 percent during the same reporting period.

To learn more about the Heart Institute, please visit www.chp.edu/heart.

Distinguished Researcher Named Director of Aging Institute and Beckwith Professor of Translational Medicine at UPMC and Pitt

UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh today announced the appointment of Toren Finkel, MD, PhD, a world-renowned aging researcher, as director of the Aging Institute of UPMC and Pitt and the inaugural holder of the G. Nicholas Beckwith III and Dorothy B. Beckwith Chair in Translational Medicine.

The endowed chair, made possible through a $2.5 million gift by UPMC Chairman G. Nicholas Beckwith III and his wife, Dorothy, will fund a distinguished faculty member focusing on translational medicine and is being made in recognition of UPMC’s commitment to teaching, research, clinical care and community service.

“We are fortunate to have a physician-scientist of Dr. Finkel’s stature join UPMC and Pitt. His discoveries going forward will have a meaningful and favorable impact on the community, and Dotty and I are pleased to support his efforts in translational medicine through this gift,” said Beckwith.

Finkel most recently served as chief of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will succeed Charles F. Reynolds III, MD, at the helm of the Aging Institute.

A collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, the Aging Institute brings together the expertise of clinical researchers, scholars and clinicians to identify and implement innovative care models for older adults and to support western Pennsylvania’s population with resources for seniors and their caregivers.

“We are delighted that Dr. Finkel, an exceptional clinician and researcher, has chosen to join our pursuits of advancing discovery and treatment,” said Steve Shapiro, MD, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC. “His expertise will move us forward in transforming discoveries in the field of aging from the lab to patients.”

“Under Dr. Finkel’s innovative leadership, we will focus on fundamental research and therapies that target the aging process, with the ultimate goal of extending healthspan — essentially a long life free of disease,” said Arthur S. Levine, MD, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.

Among his other research accomplishments, Finkel and colleagues provided the first demonstration that molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) –– originally thought to be damaging byproducts of chemical reactions in cells –– can act as molecular signals that control how cells and tissues function. An entirely new field of research known as redox signaling emerged from this discovery, which focused on the role of ROS signals in normal disease and aging.

His laboratory added major contributions to the understanding of aging over the past decade, including identifying how a specific class of enzymes known as sirtuins are key regulators of aging and how cellular energy pathways are involved in the maintenance of stem cells in the body. In the future, he plans to explore how the immune system and inflammation are connected to aging. His research over the years has involved both animal models and human participants, bridging clinical medicine and basic science.

“I am incredibly excited to lead the Aging Institute that was so ably directed by my predecessor, Chip Reynolds, and honored to be the inaugural holder of the Beckwith Chair in Translational Medicine. I firmly believe that understanding aging biology will alter how we approach a myriad of diseases and fundamentally change how we treat the vast majority of our patients,” said Finkel.

Finkel has published nearly 200 studies in high-impact journals, including Science, Nature, and The New England Journal of Medicine. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited more than 48,000 times; he currently ranks as the 12th most highly cited author in aging and the 11th most highly cited author in cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Finkel has served on numerous editorial boards, including 10 years as an associate editor for Circulation Research and currently as a member of the board of reviewing editors for Science.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Maryland and his MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School in 1986, Finkel completed a residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1992, he joined the NIH as an investigator within the NHLBI intramural research program. He later served as chief of the Cardiology Branch and chief of the Translational Medicine Branch. In 2010, he assumed the position of chief of the Center for Molecular Medicine at NHLBI, which he held before joining Pitt and UPMC.

Neuro-Oncology Researcher at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Receives Grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation

PrintGary Kohanbash, PhD, a neuro-oncology researcher at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, has been awarded a scholar grant of $298,000 from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.

These grants provide resources to institutions to conduct more research and enroll more children in ongoing clinical trials. Kohanbash and his team will look at improving immunotherapy for ependymomas, the third most common kind of brain tumor in children.

“As a scientist and a father, I am driven to help save kids from brain cancers, so I am very excited about the potential of immunotherapy. Unimaginable advances within the last 10 years are enabling us to create new, safer and more effective treatments,” said Kohanbash, who also is an assistant professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “With this funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, I am hopeful that we can bridge the gap between lab research and clinical care for kids with ependymomas.”

Kohanbash’s team has identified three peptides that might activate immune cells to specifically fight one of the more lethal types of ependymoma. He will be testing these peptides in the lab and also is looking at how immunotherapy could help fight all six types of ependymoma that affect kids.

“We are thrilled Dr. Kohanbash is receiving this grant based on his experience and accomplishments in the field of brain tumor immunology and his ongoing work to translate findings from the lab into promising treatments for children with ependymomas,” said Ian Pollack, MD, chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children’s Hospital.

The grant is supported by the St. Baldrick’s Henry Cermak Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research.

For more information, please visit www.chp.edu.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Ranked Among Top Pediatric Hospitals in the United States

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has once again been recognized as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, earning a spot on this year’s U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.

It is the 8th consecutive year Children’s Hospital has appeared on the Best Children’s Hospitals list, which was released today.

“We are proud to be consistently recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “It is rewarding for our physicians, nurses and support staff, who every day work together with skill and passion to provide the best care for children and adolescents with the most complex medical conditions.”

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight the top 50 US pediatric hospitals in each of 10 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology.

Children’s is ranked 9th on the honor roll and is ranked in all 10 of the specialties.

The 2017-18 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings will be released online today and will be published in the “Best Hospitals 2018” guidebook, available in September.

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings open the door to an array of detailed information about each hospital’s performance.

The other hospitals named to the Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals for 2017-18 are:

1. Boston Children’s Hospital
2. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
4. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
5. John Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore
6. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
7. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
7. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
9. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
10. Children’s National Medical Center, Washington D.C.

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