Low on Antibodies, Blood Cancer Patients Can Fight off COVID-19 with T Cells

Antibodies aren’t the only immune cells needed to fight off COVID-19 — T cells are equally important and can step up to do the job when antibodies are depleted, suggests a new Penn Medicine study of blood cancer patients with COVID-19 published in Nature Medicine.

Penn Nursing-led Philly Team Awarded $1.4 Million NIH Grant to Expand COVID-19 Outreach

José A. Bauermeister, PhD, and Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, are leading one of 10 new research teams from across the country that received National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants totaling $14 million to extend the reach of the NIH’s Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities. The Philly CEAL team was awarded $1.4 million from the NIH with additional support from Penn Nursing and The University of Pennsylvania, bringing the total for the alliance to $1.53 million.

Rapid COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Delivers Results Within 4 Minutes With 90 Percent Accuracy

A low-cost, rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 developed by Penn Medicine provides COVID-19 results within four minutes with 90 percent accuracy. A paper published this week in Matter details the fast and inexpensive diagnostic test, called RAPID 1.0. Compared to existing methods for COVID-19 detection, RAPID is inexpensive and highly scalable, allowing the production of millions of units per week.

Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to Host Symposium on the Future of Cell and Gene Therapies

Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will host a virtual event on May 6 and 7 that will bring together cell and gene therapy leaders from the two institutions and around the world to discuss the latest achievements in the field, novel strategies, and future developments and applications for chimeric antigen receptor, CAR, T cell therapy and more.

Hormone Drugs May Disarm COVID-19 Spike Protein and Stop Disease Progression

Hormone drugs that reduce androgen levels may help disarm the coronavirus spike protein used to infect cells and stop the progression of severe COVID-19 disease, suggests a new preclinical study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania and published online in Cell Press’s iScience.

Five Years Later: Penn-developed CAR T Therapy Shows Long-lasting Remissions in Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

A significant number of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients in a Penn Medicine-initiated clinical trial continue to be in remission five years after receiving the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy Kymriah™, researchers in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Penn Medicine Opens the Largest Healthcare Sterilization Facility in the Country

Penn Medicine opened its new Interventional Support Center (ISC), the largest instrument processing and surgical supply preparation facility in the country. Located in Southwest Philadelphia, the ISC is the first facility of its kind in Pennsylvania. In this space, staff will both sterilize and package thousands of instruments each day in preparation for surgeries and procedures.

Penn Medicine Partners with Renowned Artist Maya Lin for Art Installation Ahead of 2021 Opening of Hospital on Penn’s West Philadelphia Campus

Penn Medicine’s Pavilion, one of the largest hospital projects underway in the United States and the largest capital project in the University of Pennsylvania’s history, will feature an art installation by renowned artist and designer Maya Lin. The artwork—tentatively titled “DNA Tree of Life”—will be on display in the atrium of the new state-of-the-art facility, set to open later this year.

Mutations Commonly Linked to Breast Cancer Found to Pose No Increased Risk, Population Study Reveals

Several genetic mutations previously linked to breast cancer and included on commercial genetic tests, including direct-to-consumer tests, were found not to increase a woman’s risk of disease, according to a population study of more than 64,000 women published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine from several institutions, including Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine Surgeons Develop Universal Patient-Reported Outcomes Tool to Improve Hernia Care

Penn Medicine researchers have successfully developed, tested, and implemented a first-of-its-kind, patient-informed questionnaire tool for ventral hernia repair surgery patients that could be broadly used to improve the way clinicians care for patients and potentially outcomes.

Post-ICU Interviews Reveal Outcomes Important to Patients, Families

A Penn Medicine study in American Journal of Critical Care offers insights into patients’ and families’ priorities for quality metrics during the ICU stay and postdischarge outcomes. Researchers conducted interviews with individual ICU survivors, as well as family caregivers of patients who survived and of patients who died.

What Fuels the Beating Heart? Study Reveals Nutrients Used by Normal and Failing Hearts

A team led by Penn scientists produced a detailed picture of fuel and nutrient use by the human heart. The study was the first of its kind, involving the simultaneous sampling of blood from different parts of the circulatory system in dozens of human participants, in order to record the levels of related molecules going into and coming out of the beating heart.

Offering a Pay-for-Performance Program to Oncology Practices Increases Prescriptions of Evidence-based Cancer Drugs

A pay-for performance program that offers enhanced reimbursement to oncology practices for prescribing high-quality, evidence-based cancer drugs increased use of these drugs without significantly changing total spending on care, Penn Medicine researchers report in a new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Penn Medicine Researchers Receive Prestigious National Institutes of Health Director’s Awards

The NIH selected two researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania to receive its Director’s Awards, part of the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program. Brian Litt was honored with a Pioneer Award, supporting his novel neurodevice research. Gregory Corder was selected as a New Innovator Award winner for research investigating the mechanisms of chronic pain.

Penn Researchers Receive Grant to Use AI to Improve Heart Transplant Outcomes

Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania were awarded a $3.2 million grant from the NIH to enhance research for improving heart transplant outcomes for patients. The four-year grant will fund a project exploring the use of AI-driven analysis to determine the likelihood of cardiac patients accepting or rejecting a new heart.

Gender Parity in Heart Failure Research: More Female Authors Could Mean More Female Participants

Representation of women leading heart failure research remains limited, according to new research led by Penn Medicine. The authors say the findings point to a need to support great gender diversity among researchers to drive diversity among clinical trial participants and even improve patient outcomes.

Penn’s ‘Enhanced Recovery’ Program Significantly Reduces Post-Op Opioid Use

Penn Medicine researchers found that when an “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” protocol was employed—which optimizes patients’ surgical care before, during, and after surgery—the majority of patients did not need opioids for pain management at one, three, and six months after elective spinal and peripheral nerve surgery.

Penn Researchers Identify New Genetic Cause of a Form of Inherited Neuropathy

Inherited mutations in a gene that keeps nerve cells intact was shown, for the first time, to be a driver of a neuropathy known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. This finding is detailed in a study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, presenting a clearer picture of the disease’s genetic underpinnings that could inform the development of gene therapies to correct it.

Steep Decline in Organ Transplants Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

France and the United States have experienced a tremendous reduction in the number of organ donations and transplant procedures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. By early April, transplant centers in both countries were conducting far fewer deceased donor transplants compared to just one month earlier, with the number of procedures dropping by 91 percent in France and 50 percent in the United States.

How Do Commonly Used Blood Pressure Medications Affect Outcomes Among Patients with COVID-19?

A new international trial will evaluate whether the use of medications to treat high blood pressure affect outcomes among patients who are prescribed the medication and hospitalized with COVID-19. Investigators will examine whether ACEI or ARBs help to mitigate complications or lead to worse outcomes.

Measuring the Risk Among Clinicians Who Intubate Patients with COVID-19

Penn launched the U.S. component of a global registry that aims to help protect health care providers who intubate patients with COVID-19 and quantify their risk of developing the disease. The intubateCOVID registry tracks exposures and outcomes among providers who perform intubations, with the ultimate goal of reducing the transmission of COVID-19 to these providers.

Frailty May Be Highly Predictive of Complications, Death in Patients with Mitral Valve Disease

Frailty measurements have become increasingly important in assessing surgical risk in patients with mitral valve disease, and research published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery shows that frailty plays a significant role in outcomes following mitral valve procedures.

How “Pioneer” Protein Turns Stem Cells into Organs

Early on in each cell, a critical protein known as FoxA2 simultaneously binds to both the chromosomal proteins and the DNA, opening the flood gates for gene activation, according to a new study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The discovery, published in Nature Genetics, helps untangle mysteries of how embryonic stem cells develop into organs.

Internationally Recognized Cardiothoracic Surgeon Available for Comment on Aortic Dissection

Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, is Director of the Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program at Penn Medicine, a multidisciplinary program encompassing all aspects of aortic disease, including thoracic aortic reconstruction and Marfan syndrome. He also is Vice Chief of the Division of…

Machine Learning Identifies Personalized Brain Networks in Children

Machine learning is helping Penn Medicine researchers identify the size and shape of brain networks in individual children, which may be useful for understanding psychiatric disorders. In a new study published in Neuron, a multidisciplinary team showed how brain networks unique to each child can predict cognition. The study is the first to show that functional neuroanatomy can vary greatly among kids, and is refined during development.