(University of Pittsburgh) Researchers have created a machine-learning algorithm that can pick up on subtle signs of osteoarthritis - too abstract to register in the eye of a trained radiologist - on an MRI scan taken years before symptom onset.
(University of Pittsburgh) Researchers created a system that uses CRISPR in a new way. Rather than acting on the genome to create permanent change, their system briefly suppresses genes specific to adenovirus antibody production, just long enough for the virus to deliver its gene therapy cargo unimpeded.
(Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs) Your smartphone can tell when you've had too much to drink by detecting changes in the way you walk, according to a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
(University of Pittsburgh) Devices commonly implanted for chronic pain could expand patient access to prosthetic arms that "feel."
Since cardiovascular disease is the primary cause, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) created a blood pressure home-monitoring program to rapidly detect concerning trends in postpartum women before their situation becomes critical.But right now, only about 66% of new mothers diagnosed with a hypertensive disorder are making it back to the clinic for what is usually a single follow-up appointment around six weeks postpartum."I think this is supported by recent ACOG recommendations and is an opportunity to improve care for high-risk women."If their readings are normal, their one-week follow-up appointment is automatically cancelled, which was the case for 43% of the women.Overall, 83% of participants continued the program beyond three weeks postpartum and 74% continued for four weeks or more."One of the big advantages here is scalability," said senior author Hyagriv Simhan, M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Pitt, and executive vice chair of obstetrical services UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 26, 2019 - Researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provide the first concrete evidence for the long-held belief that sick mitochondria pollute the cells they're supposed to be supplying with power.The paper, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves a causal experiment to kick off a mitochondrial chain reaction that wreaks havoc on the cell, all the way down to the genetic level."I like to call it 'the Chernobyl effect' -- you've turned the reactor on and now you can't turn it off," said senior author Bennett Van Houten, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and chemical biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center."You have this clean-burning machine that's now polluting like mad, and that pollution feeds back and hurts electron transport function."Once you turn the light off, there's no more singlet oxygen anymore, but you've disrupted the electron transport chain, so after 48 hours, the mitochondria are still leaking out reactive oxygen -- but the cells aren't dying, they're just sitting there erupting."That is, until the researchers start looking specifically at the telomeres -- the protective caps on the end of each chromosome that allow them to continue replicating and replenishing.
PITTSBURGH (June 20, 2019) -- Self-driving cars rely on their ability to accurately "see" the road ahead and make adjustments based on what they see.They need to, for instance, react to a pedestrian who steps out from between parked cars, or know to not turn down a road that is unexpectedly closed for construction.New research from the University of Pittsburgh will develop a neuromorphic vision system that takes a new approach to capturing visual information that is based on the human brain, benefitting everything from self-driving vehicles to neural prosthetics.Ryad Benosman, PhD, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who holds appointments in electrical engineering and bioengineering, and Feng Xiong, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, received $500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct this research.Conventional image sensors record information frame-by-frame, which stores a great deal of redundant data along with that which is useful.This excess data storage occurs because most pixels do not change from frame to frame, like stationary buildings in the background.
PITTSBURGH, May 22, 2019 - The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Carnegie Mellon University each have been awarded four-year contracts totaling more than $7.2 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to create an autonomous trauma care system that fits in a backpack and can treat and stabilize soldiers injured in remote locations.The goal of "TRAuma Care In a Rucksack: TRACIR" is to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enabling medical interventions that extend the "golden hour" for treating combat casualties and ensure an injured person's survival for long medical evacuations.Monitors embedded in the suit will assess the injury, and AI algorithms will guide the appropriate critical care interventions and robotically apply stabilizing treatments, such as intravenous fluids and medications.Ron Poropatich, M.D., retired U.S. Army colonel, director of Pitt's Center for Military Medicine Research and professor in Pitt's Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, is overall principal investigator on the $3.71 million Pitt contract, with Michael R. Pinsky, M.D., professor in Pitt's Department of Critical Care Medicine, as its scientific principal investigator.Artur Dubrawski, Ph.D., research professor at CMU's Robotics Institute, is principal investigator on the $3.5 million CMU contract."By fusing data captured from multiple sensors and applying machine learning, we are developing more predictive cardio-pulmonary resuscitation opportunities, which hopefully will conserve an injured soldier's strength.
New Rochelle, NY, August 13, 2018--Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is believed to provide pain relief and help improve joint function in degenerative joint disease, but a new study has shown that it does not act by promoting stem cell proliferation or enhance the cartilage formation capabilities of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).The effects of PRP treatment on cartilage formation and chondrogenesis in the presence of adult human MSCs derived from two different sources are reported in the study published in Tissue Engineering, Part A, peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.Click here to read the full-text article free on the Tissue Engineering website through September 13, 2018.In the article entitled "Effect of Platelet-rich Plasma on Chondrogenesis of Adipose- and Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells," coauthors Jr-Jium Liou, Benjamin Rothrauff, Peter Alexander, and Rocky Tuan, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (PA), used MSCs derived from the fat pad of the knee and from the bone marrow.They showed that high concentrations of PRP treatment for long periods of time actually impaired cartilage formation, making it less likely for chondrocyte differentiation from the MSC to occur."This article presents a systematic study to elucidate the effects of PRP on the chondrogenic differentiation of adult human MSCs and its potential mechanism of action as a therapeutic adjunct for the treatment of joint diseases," says Tissue Engineering Co-Editor-in-Chief Antonios G. Mikos, PhD, Louis Calder Professor at Rice University, Houston, TX.
The researchers used an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector to deliver to the mouse pancreas two proteins, Pdx1 and MafA, which reprogrammed plentiful alpha cells into functional, insulin-producing beta cells."This study is essentially the first description of a clinically translatable, simple single intervention in autoimmune diabetes that leads to normal blood sugars, and importantly with no immunosuppression," says senior study author George Gittes of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine."A clinical trial in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics in the immediate foreseeable future is quite realistic, given the impressive nature of the reversal of the diabetes, along with the feasibility in patients to do AAV gene therapy."Approximately 9% of the world's adult population has diabetes, which can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease.One fundamental goal of diabetes treatment is to preserve and restore functional beta cells, thereby replenishing levels of a hormone called insulin, which moves blood glucose into cells to fuel their energy needs.But in patients with type 1 diabetes, beta-cell replacement therapy is likely doomed to failure because the new cells might fall victim to the same autoimmunity that destroyed the original cells.
PITTSBURGH, July 13, 2017 - The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has entered into an agreement with three world-renowned French research institutions, the University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités in Paris, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm); and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), to focus on collaborative research and education in the fields of medicine and biomedical sciences.The agreement will enable researchers of all four institutions to cooperate on fundamental research, development of novel therapeutics, and clinical trials, with an initial focus on ophthalmology, vision and neuroscience.Along with joint research, the agreement also emphasizes exchange of academic personnel, joint academic conferences, and exchange of scientific, educational and scholarly materials.The agreement, signed on July 12 at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., highlights an important partnership between Pitt and the French institutions that was spurred by the recent recruitment of José-Alain Sahel, M.D., one of the world's top experts in retinal diseases, as the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt's School of Medicine, director of the UPMC Eye Center, and the Eye and Ear Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology.Sahel retained his connections to Paris as the founder and director of the Institut de la Vision in Paris and as a professor at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie of the Sorbonne Universités (which co-incidentally also is referred to by the acronym UPMC), a top ranked medical school and the largest scientific and medical complex in France.Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, is the only public research institution solely focused on human health and medical research in France and a leading medical research agency worldwide; and CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research is the largest governmental research organization in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe.
As a part of this process, the stringent controls on things like copying and repairing DNA start to break down.As a result, tumors often contain chromosomal rearrangements, which are places where genes are cut and pasted back together in ways that they shouldn’t be.In some cases, the breaks bring two genes together in a way that causes what are called "driver mutations," forming a fusion protein that pushes the cells further along the road to malignancy.A group of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine just took advantage of this specificity by targeting the fusion genes to attack cancer cells and take them down.This break should trigger the cell's repair pathway to fix that single stranded nick, so the researchers hijacked this system by providing it with DNA to use in the repair.With the DNA supplied by the researchers, the repair system inserted an enzyme into the location of the gene fusion.
A non-invasive technique that stimulates a part of the brain known to be involved in depression could have major benefits for people with the disorder, a recent study has found.The technique involves having a person observe the activity of their own amygdala, and consciously try to increase that activity by recalling positive memories.Kymberly Young, the leading author of the new study and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says the experiment, while small, yielded promising results.For the study, Young divided 36 adult volunteers with depression into two groups — one that did the neurofeedback on their amygdalas and a control that did a fake neurofeedback exercise on a part of the brain not involved in emotional processing.People in both groups had their brains scanned by an fMRI to pinpoint the location of either their amygdala or the control region of the brain.The researchers then showed the participants a signal from the part of the brain being measured and had the participants try to regulate the strength of that signal by recalling happy moments.
Usually, those stealthy viral invaders are completely innocuous—decidedly unnoteworthy.But sometimes they inadvertently set off a lifetime of haywire immune responses and disease, according to a new study published Thursday in Science.More specifically, the virus primes their immune systems to shut down regulatory cells that hold back overly aggressive immune responses.Then, when they eat gluten—a group of proteins found in wheat and other grains, such as barley and rye—their immune systems mistakenly treat the proteins as toxic and mount a damaging inflammatory response, leading to discomfort and gastrointestinal problems.In an accompanying editorial on the study, gastroenterologists Elena Verdu and Alberto Caminero of McMaster University in Canada go further: “The implications… expand beyond food sensitivities and celiac disease to possibly other autoimmune disorders where the triggering agent is still unknown,” they write.To unravel the mechanism behind celiac disease, researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine teamed up with colleagues to tease apart the immune minutia.