Faculty and Staff News
IU Precision Health Initiative achieves dramatic results for triple negative breast cancer patient
Five years ago, Jackie Stephens rolled over in bed and felt a horrible pain in her right breast. A subsequent mammogram revealed a large lump and two smaller ones. Her diagnosis: triple negative breast cancer.
Stephens' oncologist prescribed a treatment regimen of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiation. When her treatment was finished in July 2015, she believed she was done with cancer forever. But two short years later, nearly to the day, the 68-year-old woman from South Bend, Indiana, rolled over in bed and experienced the exact pain, in the same spot. Her triple negative breast cancer was back. And she was devastated.
When the recurring cancer didn't respond to two chemotherapies in combination, a third chemotherapy was added: Adriamycin, known as the "red devil," because of its red color and toxic side effects. When that treatment failed, Stephens' doctors ordered a right breast mastectomy, including removal of all right and left breast lymph nodes, where the cancer had jumped. After surgery, doctors tried a barrage of treatments, including yet another chemotherapy. Then a body scan at the end of 2018 revealed that Stephens' cancer had spread to her liver.
Stephens and her husband traveled to Indianapolis to meet with Milan Radovich, PhD, and Bryan Schneider, MD, co-leaders of the IU Precision Health Grand Challenge initiative, which is focused on finding the first targeted treatment for triple negative breast cancer and eventually a cure. Stephens met the criteria and was included in the clinical trial, led by Radovich and Kathy Miller, MD, officially called "An Initial Safety Study of Gedatolisib plus PTK7-ADC for Metastatic Triple-negative Breast Cancer."
Six weeks into the trial, Stephens experienced 52% tumor shrinkage, and a second set of scans revealed further improvement. For more on these remarkable results, visit News at IU.
IU School of Medicine joins TIME’S UP Healthcare initiative
Indiana University School of Medicine has signed on to support a growing network of heath organizations and institutions striving to create safe, fair and equitable workplaces for their employees and trainees. The school has added its signature to a list of health care organizations and medical schools that have all pledged their support to TIME’S UP Healthcare. The newest industry affiliate of TIME’S UP, TIME’S UP Healthcare was founded by a group of health professionals representing a wide spectrum of backgrounds including doctors, nurses, physician assistants and clinical pharmacists.
“As the largest medical school in the United States, Indiana University School of Medicine strives to lead the transformation of health care through quality, innovation and education, and make Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states,” said Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, IU’s executive vice president for university clinical affairs and dean of IU School of Medicine. “The success of this vision demands that we continually work to make our institution as diverse and inclusive as possible. We are pleased to sign on to the TIME’S UP Healthcare initiative, as the goals are fully aligned with our vision and values.”
Support for the effort underscores standards IU School of Medicine is already striving toward, Hess noted, including principles highlighted by TIME’S UP Healthcare:
- A commitment to preventing sexual harassment and gender inequity, and protecting and aiding those who are targets of harassment and discrimination
- A belief that every employee should have equitable opportunity, support and compensation
- An understanding that because a problem cannot be addressed without knowledge of its scope and impact, a commitment to measuring and tracking sexual harassment and gender-based inequities is needed within the institution
You’re invited: Bogdewic retirement celebration is June 19
Celebrate the career and legacy of Stephen P. Bogdewic, PhD, IU School of Medicine executive vice dean, at a retirement reception from 4-6 pm, Wednesday, June 19, in the first floor lobby of Fairbanks Hall, 340 W. 10th St., in downtown Indianapolis. Retiring from IU School of Medicine after 28 years of service, Bogdewic leaves an indelible imprint on IU School of Medicine and those he has worked alongside. Remarks will begin at 5 pm. RSVPs are requested, but not required. Refreshments will be served.
School honors Evansville physician Mark D. Browning with prestigious award
IU School of Medicine honored Evansville physician Mark D. Browning, MD, on Wednesday, May 22, with the prestigious J.O. Ritchey Award, which recognizes individuals who have made enduring commitments to the school in several key areas.
“Mark’s long commitment to IU School of Medicine, to his patients and to the students who form such an important part of the medical community in southern Indiana fits perfectly with the ideals of J.O. Ritchey,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, IU School of Medicine dean and executive vice president for university clinical affairs.
The J.O. Ritchey Award is named in honor of James Oscar Ritchey, who served IU School of Medicine for more than 60 years in capacities ranging from faculty member, to department chairman, to head of the admissions committee. Ritchey also created a trust for his widow that, upon her death, created an endowment at IU School of Medicine to fund its medical library collection.
The J.O. Ritchey Award recognizes individuals who have made enduring contributions to any or all of Ritchey’s areas of commitment—personal efforts on behalf of the School of Medicine, service to medicine as a profession, service to patients, or through a planned gift to the School of Medicine.
Browning, a hematology/oncology specialist, served as a volunteer clinical professor with IU School of Medicine–Evansville for almost 30 years. For more details on Browning’s career, visit the Newsroom.
Slaughter receives Distinguished Medical Alumni Award
The IU School of Medicine Alumni Association presented its Distinguished Medical Alumni Award to Mark S. Slaughter, MD, an internationally renowned heart surgeon and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the alumni association. The award, along with several others, was presented during the 72nd annual Strawberry Shortcake Luncheon, part of the school’s Medical Alumni Weekend, on Saturday, May 18.
This year’s other honorees are:
- Early Career Achievement Award: Jennifer Walthall, MD, MPH, secretary of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration
- Glenn W. Irwin Jr., MD, Distinguished Faculty Award: Richard B. Gunderman, MD, PhD, professor of radiology at IU School of Medicine
- George W. Sorrells Jr., MD, Community Physician Award: Sumeet Bhatia, MD, president of Community Hospital Oncology Physicians
“These award recipients have all had an extraordinary impact on the field of medicine, and we are proud to recognize them as shining examples of the important work IU School of Medicine alumni conduct regularly in our state, throughout the nation and around the world,” said Yung Nguyen, MD ’95, RES ’99, president of the IU School of Medicine Alumni Association. “Their achievements are also meaningful reminders of the power of physicians to improve lives, lessen suffering and advocate for those in need.”
Learn more about the recipients and view their award videos, in this Newsroom article.
Research study finds link between kidney injury, neurocognitive impairment in children with malaria
More than 200 million children around the world are at risk of failing to meet their developmental potential, and the risk is highest for children in sub-Saharan Africa.
In that part of the world, severe malaria is a leading cause of acquired neurodisability—leaving many children with developmental delays even years after recovery. Scientists don’t fully understand how malaria impacts the developing brain in children, but a study led by IU School of Medicine researchers is the first to link malaria-related acute kidney injury (AKI) to long-term neurocognitive impairment.
Led by Chandy John, MD, Ryan White Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics, IU researchers partnered with the Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, to conduct a large clinical study evaluating the long-term impact of AKI on children with severe malaria. They found that AKI is not only a common complication of severe malaria, but is linked to long-term adverse health outcomes.
The project followed hundreds of Ugandan children with severe malaria between the ages of 18 months to 12 years. It confirmed an earlier study from John’s team that suggested AKI is a more common complication of severe malaria than previously believed—occurring in about one-third of children with severe malaria. Their data provides novel evidence that AKI during severe malaria is associated with neurological deficits in children—such as developmental delays in speech and motor skills—which are persistent for up to two years.
Importantly, the study also found that children with severe malaria and AKI were at a higher risk for prolonged hospitalization, mortality and chronic kidney disease. Because chronic kidney disease affects about one-fifth of the Ugandan population, the study provides some insight on how severe malaria during childhood may contribute to the widespread burden of chronic kidney disease in adults.
The full Newsroom post includes additional details.
Clinical trial improves treatment of genetic rickets; findings published in Lancet
A new study shows a drug developed in conjunction with investigators at IU School of Medicine to alleviate symptoms of a rare musculoskeletal condition is significantly more effective than conventional therapies. The findings are published in Lancet.
X-linked hypophosphatemia, or XLH, is a phosphate-wasting disease that causes rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, and can cause short stature, bowed legs, dental abscesses and bone pain. This rare, genetic disease affects about 1 in every 20,000 people.
Researchers recruited 61 children between the ages of 1 and 12 at 16 centers around the world, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Korea. The children were randomly assigned to either receive Burosumab, a biweekly injection that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2018, or conventional therapies of taking oral phosphate and active vitamin D several times a day. The primary outcome was improvement in rickets on X-rays, as scored by radiologists that were unaware of which treatment group the participant was in.
The children were observed for 64 weeks, and by 40 weeks of treatment, researchers found 72 percent of the children who received Burosumab achieved substantial healing of rickets, while only 6 percent of those in the conventional therapy group saw substantial healing. Burosumab also led to greater improvements in leg deformities, growth, distance walked in a six-minute test and serum phosphorus and active vitamin D levels.
Read the Newsroom post for more details.
Researchers develop electric field-based dressing to help heal wound infections
IU School of Medicine researchers have found a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity. Work conducted in the laboratories of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering, Chandan Sen, PhD and Sashwati Roy, PhD has led to the development of a dressing that uses an electric field to disrupt biofilm infection. Their findings were recently published in the high-impact journal “Annals of Surgery.”
Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device, such as a catheter, is placed in the body. These bacteria generate their own electricity, using their own electric fields to communicate and form the biofilm, which makes them more hostile and difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 65 percent of all infections are caused by bacteria with this biofilm phenotype, while the National Institutes of Health estimates that number is closer to 80 percent.
Researchers at IU School of Medicine are the first to study the practice of using an electric field-based dressing to treat biofilms rather than antibiotics. They discovered the dressing is not only successful in fighting the bacteria on its own, but when combined with other medications can make them even more effective. This discovery has the potential to create significant changes in the way physicians treat patients with bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. The dressing can also help prevent new biofilm infections from forming in the future. The dressing electrochemically self-generates 1 volt of electricity upon contact with body fluids such as wound fluid or blood, which is not enough to hurt or electrocute the patient.
For more details on the research, visit the Newsroom.
Faculty and Staff News
Faculty preceptors urgently needed for June 12-13 intersession activities
IU School of Medicine Medical Student Education seeks faculty preceptors for intersession activities on Wednesday, June 12, and Thursday, June 13, at the Indianapolis campus for the following sessions:
Behavioral Health & Communication
Topics for June will include Shared Decision Making (June 12) and Requesting and Providing Feedback (June 13). These sessions take place from 8-10 am on both days, and facilitator materials will be available for review by Saturday, June 1.
Reflective Practice (formerly Ethics)
Topics for June will include the 5 Chairs of Ethics and OUCH – Ownership, Understanding, Curiosity, Healing (a perspective-taking exercise). These sessions take place from 10:15 am-12:15 pm each day, and facilitator materials will be available for review by Saturday, June 1.
“Finding a Path Forward” well-being event is July 10
“Faculty Well-Being: Finding a Path Forward,” a workshop focused on managing environmental and personal drivers of burnout and poor health, will be held from 8:30-10 am, on Wednesday, July 10. Featured speaker Stuart Slavin, MD, MEd, will explore strategies and approaches to improve the clinical and learning environment, as well as strategies and tools that faculty can use to enhance their ability to manage work stresses and demands. Slavin is senior scholar for well-being at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Register for the event, which will be held in Fairbanks Hall (FS), Room 1112.
Saturday is deadline to nominate colleagues for faculty awards
Time is running out to submit nominations for several IU School of Medicine faculty awards. The following awards, including a new award recognizing volunteer faculty, honor individuals for outstanding teaching, research and service:
Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at the links above. Deadline to submit nominations is Saturday, June 1.
Indy Pride Parade is June 8; sign up to walk with IU School of Medicine
Put on your IU School of Medicine swag and walk with friends of the school during the Indy Pride Parade, part of the city’s celebration of the LGBTQ community, on Saturday, June 8. Step off is scheduled for 10 am near 765 Massachusetts Ave. All faculty, staff, learners and friends of IU School of Medicine are invited to participate. Rainbow flags will be provided to all walkers. Sign up.
On the website: Learn more about Ramadan
Take time to explore the history and traditions of Ramadan before the year’s official observance ends on Wednesday, June 5. Information posted by IU School of Medicine Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity includes details about why the Muslim community celebrates Ramadan. Here are few facts:
- Ramadan is considered the holiest month of the year for Muslims. This month-long celebration commemorates Allah, the Arabic name for God, giving the first verses of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, to the Prophet Muhammad in the year 610 A.D.
- In Ramadan, Muslims fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude and compassion for those less fortunate.
- Ramadan is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time reading the Quran and performing special prayers.
Funding available for research on alcohol use disorders; LOIs due July 1
The Indiana Alcohol Research Center is soliciting proposals for pilot projects from investigators who want to develop research on alcohol use disorders. Applications pertinent to basic mechanisms and genetic underpinnings of alcohol preference or compulsive drinking and tolerance are welcome. Previous experience in research on alcoholism is not required. Letters of intent are due Monday, July 1, and full applications are due Sunday, September 1. Eligibility and submission details are available.
Apply by August 1 for Indiana CTSI (Bloomington) research equipment funds
The Indiana CTSI (Bloomington) Research Equipment Program supports purchase of commercially available research equipment to be used by groups of investigators, working together or separately, on innovative projects to enhance externally funded research and the mission of the Indiana CTSI. An applicant must be an IU Bloomington faculty member, but applicants may include interested researchers at CTSI partner institutions. Full details are available. Application deadline is Thursday, August 1.
Save the date: Clinical medical ethics conference is September 27
The 2019 IU Health Fairbanks Conference on Clinical Medical Ethics will be held on Friday, September 27, in Hine Hall on the IUPUI campus. The daylong conference is designed to connect participants to clinical ethics in a variety of ways and will include presentations on emerging work in clinical ethics at IU Health. The keynote panel will discuss “Perspectives on Extended-Stay Patients.” Registration is now open, and more details are available.
IUPUI Campus Health earns award for immunization clinic
IUPUI Campus Health has received an Indiana Immunization Star Partner Award from the Indiana Immunization Coalition. The campus health center received the award for its role in planning and organizing a large-scale immunization clinic held for IUPUI students at the IUPUI Campus Center on October 3, 2018. During the clinic, 784 doses of flu vaccine, 500 doses of meningitis B vaccine and 378 doses of HPV vaccine were given to students.
IUPUI Campus Health collaborated with these organizations, which also received Star Partner Awards, to facilitate the immunization clinic: IU Environmental Health and Safety, IU Emergency Management and Continuity, IUPUI Registrar’s Office, IU School of Nursing, IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Division Unit of Emergency Preparedness and the ISDH Immunization Division.