Research yields possible new cancer therapy

Research yields possible new cancer therapy

Dr. Wael ElShamy's quest to cure cancer now includes a patent.

The patent covers a method to diagnose and treat several types and subtypes of cancer. It has worked in the lab on triple negative breast cancer samples and ElShamy is working to get it to clinical trial for patients.

The patent covers several cancers that overexpress, or have too much, geminin and a protein called c-Abl in the cell nucleus. Drugs already approved for use against one cancer can keep the nuclear c-Abl from enabling overexpressed geminin.  Too much geminin promotes tumor growth. When geminin levels fall, the cancer growth stops and cancer cells die.

"Geminin overexpression is seen in several aggressive cancers," said ElShamy, associate professor of biochemistry and director of the UMMC Cancer Institute's Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program. "Geminin overexpression converts normal cells to cancer cells."

The key was in finding what activated the overexpressed geminin to act as a tumor inducer.  He found the errant message-sender in a protein called c-Abl. This protein can exist outside or inside a cancer cell nucleus. ElShamy found that when it's outside the nucleus, it had little effect on geminin. When he found it inside the nucleus, geminin was always overexpressed.

His patent covers c-Abl inhibitor use in therapies for breast, liver, ovarian, colon, brain, lung and prostate cancer. "The patent licenses the idea for us," ElShamy said. If a patent generates payment, it helps support research at the Medical Center.

The patent is exciting, but ElShamy is more enthusiastic about work to start a clinical trial to test the idea in triple negative breast cancer patients.

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Giving patient safety a voice

Several years ago, registered nurse Kaye Nations spoke up when she thought a patient's vital signs didn't look quite right just minutes before he was to undergo a gastrointestinal procedure at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

While some might have hesitated to share their concerns with the doctor, Nations did not.

"I didn't feel like we needed to proceed," Nations said. "I had sedated the patient the day before, and I knew his baseline. He'd come in for a repeat procedure, and I was concerned about his airway. I told the attending physician that I was concerned, and he agreed and we didn't start the procedure."

As it turned out, the patient had suffered a pulmonary embolism. "Had we proceeded, he could have died or ended up in intensive care," Nations said.

She's one of almost 3,000 UMMC employees who have undergone required training to keep their individual workplace safe and free of errors or other actions that can result in harm to patients. It's part of a cultural evolution and shift in thinking designed to prevent harm from happening in the first place.

That's being achieved by creation of a no-fear zone in which all are free to ask questions or voice concerns regarding patient safety -- and where employees welcome being questioned by others.

Although a specific error wasn't in the making when Nations brought her patient's vital signs to the attention of his physician, Nations did what's being emphasized in error prevention training. She spoke up because she was concerned for the patient's safety, and she felt comfortable doing it.

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Giving patient safety a voice

Medical Center celebrates distinguished alum, Hall of Famers

Medical Center celebrates distinguished alum, Hall of Famers

Dr. Claude Brunson, senior advisor for external affairs to the vice chancellor for health affairs, was saluted Saturday as the sixth recipient of the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award.

With about 100 people in attendance, the Medical Alumni & Friends awards dinner in Jackson also paid tribute to five other eminent alumni - the latest inductees into the Medical Hall of Fame.

Brunson, who completed his residency in anesthesiology and earned a master's degree in clinical health sciences at UMMC, said that without his training at the institution, "I would not be the physician I am today.

"The world is a better place, I believe, because of the University of Mississippi Medical Center."

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Nurse educator, assistant dean and UMMC's aspiring leaders earn achievements

A UMMC assistant dean earns Fellow status, a nurse educator's abstracts garners selection and leaders of the future learn all about business.

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Nurse educator, assistant dean and UMMC's aspiring leaders earn achievements

ED, peds, physiology add to faculty roll

ED, peds, physiology add to faculty roll

The Medical Center is proud to announce the following additions to its faculty and leadership staff:

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