As 2015 came to an end, we had the opportunity to look back on our successes at Markey, both fo the patients we treat and in celebration of those we have treated. Whether implementing a research focus to identify clinical trials that best meet the needs of our patient population and advance the science of cancer care, or bringing together the Markey community at an end of the year event to raise funds for our Expressions of Courage Survivor Art Celebration, our faculty and staff proved time and time again that we remain dedicated to the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Because Kentucky ranks among the highest in cancer mortality in the United States, it is critical for us to offer clinical trials that provide patients with additional treatment options when standard therapy is not enough. Our Clinical Care and Research Teams meet regularly to determine what clinical trials are needed to help as many Kentuckians as possible. These meetings cover a range of topics, from current and potential studies, to the patient population, to safety regulations. Thankfully, we have an incredible team in the Clinical Research Office devoted to supporting all clinical trial efforts with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2016) – In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has joined 68 of the nation’s top cancer centers in issuing a statement urging for increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer. The 100 percent consensus among the nation's 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers demonstrates that these institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon the nations’ physicians, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent many types of cancer.
"Although we have made progress in the past several years, Kentucky continues to rank first in the nation for both cancer incidence and mortality," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "We are still in the top 10 nationally for cervical cancer deaths, and increasing the HPV vaccination rates will significantly lower this grim statistic."
National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers joined in this effort in the spirit of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union call for a national “moonshot” to cure cancer, a collaborative effort led by Vice President Joe Biden.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the U.S. Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers. In Kentucky, particularly the Appalachian region of Kentucky, the rates for these cancers are higher than the national average.
Vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with under 40 percent of girls and just over 21 percent of boys receiving the recommended three doses. In Kentucky, roughly 37 percent of girls and just over 13 percent of boys complete the vaccine schedule. Research shows there are a number of barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer.
"It bears repeating that the HPV vaccine can prevent cancer and our low rates of adolescent vaccination in Kentucky can be improved with novel, coordinated community-clinical linkages," said Robin Vanderpool, co-lead on a recent NCI HPV vaccination supplement awarded to Markey and associate professor in the UK College of Public Health. "We have projects on-going throughout the state to improve healthcare provider education and awareness of the vaccine, including working with local pharmacies. Among other initiatives, we also have a comprehensive public awareness campaign spearheaded by the Kentucky Department for Public Health."
To discuss strategies for overcoming these barriers, experts from the NCI, CDC, American Cancer Society and more than half of the NCI-designated cancer centers met in a summit at MD Anderson Cancer Center last November. During this summit, cancer centers shared findings from 18 NCI-funded environmental scans, or detailed regional assessments, which sought to identify barriers to increasing immunization rates in pediatric settings across the country.
The published call to action was a major recommendation resulting from discussions at that summit, with the goal of sending a powerful message to parents, adolescents and health care providers about the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2015) — University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry researchers Edith Glazer, Sean Parkin and students Erin Wachter and Diego Moyá recently published a study showing that specialized compounds containing the metal ruthenium may be able to visualize or damage specific DNA structures relevant for cancer.
Published in "Chemistry - A European Journal," the work was named a "Hot Paper" for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high interest, and was highlighted with the back cover.
The ends of chromosomes and some genes associated with cancer have regions where DNA can form unusual structures known as G-quadruplexes, of which there are several subtypes. For cancer cells to continue growing and dividing, they need to untangle these G-quadruplex structures. Researchers have long thought it would be possible to halt tumor growth if there was a way to lock these G-quadruplex structures in place.
Graduate students Erin Wachter and Diego Moyá synthesized ruthenium-containing compounds they thought might bind and stabilize G-quadruplex structures. They designed these potential drugs to act as “light switches” so they would only give a response when bound to G-quadruplex structures. Using a rapid screening approach, they found two compounds that were exquisitely specific for distinct G-quadruplex structure subtypes. Out of 32 biomolecules they tested, two different G-quadruplexes showed the greatest response to the ruthenium compounds.
In collaboration with Parkin, they used X-ray crystallography — a technique that allows researchers to determine the chemical structure of molecules — to investigate the structural differences in the two complexes that could relate to the differences in selectivity.
"It's pretty rare to have molecules that recognize or damage specific DNA structures," Glazer said. "Most molecules prefer [the more common] double helix DNA and the selectivity within different subclasses of molecules is really unusual."
In the future, derivatives of these compounds may be used to visualize or damage cancer cells.
This research was funded by the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2016) – Five days before Christmas, University of Kentucky researcher Ying Liang, MD, PhD, received what she described as the best gift ever: a letter of notification that she received a prestigious R01 grant, totaling $1.88 million over five years, from the National Institutes of Health. Not only was it her first such award, she scored at the second percentile, an uncommonly high score indicating that her proposal was nearly flawless.
A glimpse of her CV and her obvious passion for research render the award somewhat less surprising. Liang, assistant professor of toxicology and cancer biology, describes research as “thrilling," and she's dedicated her career to studying a gene that affects stem cell damage from chemotherapy and radiation. She actually helped to discover the gene, called Latexin, about 10 years ago while she was a PhD candidate at UK and member of Dr. Gary van Zant’s lab. When they published their findings in 2007 in the journal Nature Genetics, she was listed as first author.
“It was the first time this gene’s known function in the stem cell was published,” she said.
The Latexin gene, as it turns out, could hold a key to protecting healthy blood and stem cells during cancer treatments, the ultimate aim of Liang’s work. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy target cells that multiply rapidly, as do cancer cells, but healthy cells that rapidly multiply are also damaged in the process. This includes not only hair cells (which is why many cancer patients temporarily lose their hair during treatment), but also blood cells and stem cells in the bone marrow. The damage to these blood and stem cells causes serious short-term consequences, such as bleeding problems and elevated risk of infection, that can drastically increase mortality for cancer patients. Long-term problems loom, too, as cancer therapy-induced stem cell damage can lead to cell toxicity and secondary cancers years later.
Liang hopes that understanding the molecular mechanisms of the gene that affects stem cell vulnerability to cancer therapies could eventually lead to methods to protect these cells during treatment.
“No matter what you study, you have to understand what’s going inside the cell and underlying mechanisms before you can have any kind of drugs or treatments for patients. That’s something I feel really excited about,” she said.
It was this excitement for understanding the why that led Liang away from clinical practice and into the research world 15 years ago. Before moving to the U.S. to pursue her PhD, Liang completed medical training in China at Beijing Medical University and treated patients for three years as a physician. The whole time, though, she couldn’t shake the excitement she’d felt during her limited research experience as a student.
“I had a chance to work in a lab a little bit in the last year of medical school and I really, really liked it. I was kind of thrilled by doing research,” she said. “And when I worked in a hospital for three years I always wanted to be doing research. I was trying to find opportunities to do any kind of research.”
She decided to pursue such opportunities in the U.S., and in 2000 came to UK for a PhD in physiology. She was among the inaugural class of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.The following year she joined Van Zant’s lab, which focused on stem cell biology, genetics and aging. After helping to discover the Latexin gene, publish their findings, and apply for several related patents, she continued to study the gene’s function as a postdoctoral fellow. She then served as a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois from 2009 to 2011 before returning to UK as an assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine.
Coming back to UK “felt like coming home” and quickly presented a significant boost to her research efforts. In 2012, she received a KL2 Career Development Award, from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which offers robust support to foster junior investigators in obtaining independent awards. The program provides salary support for protected research time, didactic coursework, interdisciplinary engagement, and mentored research training. Liang credits the program as crucial in catalyzing her research towards a top-scoring R01 application. She has also received substantial support from the Markey Cancer Center, the departments of internal medicine and toxicology and cancer biology, and the Office of Grant Development.
“I feel so lucky to be supported by this KL2 program because it gave me protected time to really focus on the research project,” she said.
She describes the multidisciplinary mentorship of the program as especially helpful in navigating the challenges of clinical and translational research. Her KL2 mentors included Van Zant; Charlotte Peterson, PhD; Daret St. Clair, Phd; Subbarao Bondada, PhD; Kathleen O’Connor, MD, PhD; Susan Symth, MD, Phd; and Mary Vore, PhD.
“They put in a lot of time and effort, and provided whatever help I ask. Not just about research — whenever I have any kind of problem, I can always go to them. They always help us figure out a problem or who to contact”
Her KL2-supported research focused on identifying the function of the Latexin gene in bone marrow stem cells in both normal and diseased conditions. Specifically, she examined the impact of the gene on human leukemia stem cells that were transferred to mice.
“This is the unique thing about this model — it allows human cells to be grafted into mouse models to observe in vivo changes.”
She found that 80 percent of mice exposed to radiation after the gene was down-regulated survived without stem cells problems and didn’t die from secondary illnesses, compared with only 20 percent that received radiation without inhibiting the gene.
Over the next five years, her R01 grant will build on this research to determine if deleting the Latexin gene makes stem cells more resistant to damage during cancer treatments and to understand the mechanism of the effect. She will also employ human models as well as state-of-the-art molecular and genomic techniques. Vital to the research project are interdisciplinary collaborations with Gerhard Hildebrant, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and Chi Wang, PhD, assistant professor of cancer biostastics.
“We want to understand why. Why is that if you inhibit this gene’s activity, you can protect the stem cell from cancer therapy-induced damage?”
Liang hopes that understanding the mechanism of the gene could allow the development of a treatment, before or after radiation, to protect against radiation-induced damage to bone marrow. Such a treatment could benefit the many patients who receive cancer therapy or bone marrow transplants. She’s aware that this pursuit could be a lifelong process, or could even extend beyond her own career, but she’s comfortable seeing herself in the lineage of accumulated research knowledge. In the context of helping to discover the Latexin gene she now studies, she quickly acknowledges the years of preliminary work conducted by other researchers before she even joined the lab.
“I’m the first author (on the paper about the gene’s discovery), but there was years and years of work by people before me. My mentor, Dr. Gary Van Zant, put his whole career into this project. Knowledge and models get passed down, and I’m lucky to be able to continue it. Maybe in my life I’ll just identify part of this gene’s function, and then pass it to someone else. But somehow we have to figure out what’s going on,” she said.
Now as a mentor and professor herself, she’s already working to further the lineage of her research, and knows that cultivating curious and self-motivated students is essential.
“I always ask my students, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ The answer I want is that they’re interested. I always emphasize interest first. Motivation will come. When you have interest, when you have motivation, then it doesn’t matter how hard the work is. Everything has to come from the inside,” she said. “If you’re really interested or want to know whether your stuff works, no matter how hard or how much effort, it doesn’t feel that way. You have to be interested in what you’re doing. Otherwise you’ll suffer.”
Her first mentor, Van Zant, asked her a similar question when he first met her: What do you want to do in the future? She told him that she wanted to continue doing science with good publications. If she wanted a near-perfect score on an R01, she didn’t ask for it directly.
In her fastidiously uncluttered office, only one paper is visible, adhered to the wall just beside her computer. It’s a half-sheet of regular printer paper that Van Zant gave her 15 years ago, and it’s the only thing she’s displayed in each of her offices over the years. The visible holes from pushpins suggest that she’s had about 12 distinct workplaces; otherwise, the page is in surprising good condition for its age.
The paper reads:
Van Zant’s Six Cardinal Questions of Scientific Investigation
1. What is the burning question?
2. Why is it important?
3. How are you going to answer the question?
4. What are the results?
5. What are the conclusions? Can you formulate a model?
6. What do you do next?
She generously passes the gift of this wisdom to the upcoming generation of researchers she works with.
“When I have students in my lab, I give them this. I think it’s really important.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Physicians and other leaders from HMH and the UK Markey Cancer Center – Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center – celebrated the new partnership at the HMH Cancer Care Center in Elizabethtown. In recognition of this higher level of patient care, HMH cancer patients attended the event and hung holiday ornaments in awareness of some of the area’s most prevalent cancers.
“For patients and physicians, cancer treatment is a battle. The UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network is a tremendous opportunity because it brings them new weapons,” said HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson.
As a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network, HMH will be able to conduct Markey-led and some major NCI-led clinical trials because of Markey's position as an NCI-designated cancer center.
"By becoming a member of the Markey Research Network, Hardin Memorial is showing a commitment to helping us conquer cancer in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "Clinical trials represent the latest, best treatment options for most patients, and being able to participate in major national and regional clinical trials right here in Elizabethtown means that patients are able to stay closer to their own support systems at home and under the direct care of their doctors here."
Clinical trials are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and most treatments used today are the results of previous clinical studies. These may include studies in which patients who need cancer treatment receive their therapy under the observation of specially trained cancer doctors and staff. Patients who volunteer for cancer treatment studies will either receive standard therapy or a new treatment that represents the researchers’ best new ideas for how to improve cancer care.
"Cancer care is constantly improving, due in part to the groundbreaking work being done in clinical research," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "Our state has some of the worst cancer incidence and survival rates in the entire country, and we at Markey have an obligation to address this devastating disease. By increasing access to many of our current clinical trials through the Markey Research Network, we have an opportunity to make real progress in improving cancer statistics in Kentucky."
The portfolio of available clinical research studies is targeted, with clinical trials in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancers with the highest incidence and mortality in Kentucky. These include lung, colorectal and cervical cancers.
HMH now is one of four research sites of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. The HMH cancer care team was invited to join the network based on previous performance in research, including a study to identify the best approaches to help cancer patients quit smoking, which will help improve their response to cancer treatments, Johnson said.
Inclusion in the research network is an extension of an existing partnership of HMH and the UK Markey Cancer Center. In 2014, HMH joined the center’s affiliate network, which focuses on sharing new evidence-based findings and access to refer patients to clinical trials.
“Unfortunately, cancer is more prevalent in Kentucky than in any other state, and this disease has touched too many lives in our region,” Johnson said. “We are committed to doing all we can to battle this disease, and we’re honored to join the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network and help bring the most advanced care possible to the communities we serve.”
Since 2013, the Hardin Memorial Cancer Care team has also participated in the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network (KCTN), housed at the UK Markey Cancer Center, which focuses on lung cancer research. The KCTN is a primary initiative of the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program, a joint program of the UK Markey Cancer Center and the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center.
Additionally, the HMH Cancer Care Center has offered clinical trials in Elizabethtown for about two years through a partnership with the Baptist Health Cancer Research Network (BHCRN). Clinical trials through BHCRN may focus on breast cancer, brain cancer, lung, colon, cervical, melanoma and others.
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About HMH. Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) is an integrated system of health care providers throughout a 10-county region of Central Kentucky. HMH is committed to delivering the highest-quality patient-centered health care to the more than 400,000 people it serves. With more than 2,000 medical professionals including 230 first-in-class physicians in over 40 specialties as well as primary care and a 300-bed hospital, HMH provides comprehensive health care close to home for the residents of Hardin, Meade, Nelson, LaRue, Breckinridge, Grayson, Hart, Bullitt, Green and Taylor counties. HMH is a county owned system under a management contract with Kentucky’s Baptist Health, headquartered in Louisville.
About UK Markey Cancer Center. The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise.
In July 2013, Markey was designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to receive research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers. Markey is the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of only 69 in the country.
The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical trials. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2015) – This week, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is hosting an online wreath auction to raise money for their annual Expressions of Courage Celebration in June.
Wreaths will be displayed in the lobby of the Combs Center Research Building Dec. 7-10. During this time, the online auction will be live and will stay open through midnight on Dec. 10. Bids for the wreaths will be in increments of $5 with an opening bid of $25.
Prizes will be given to the designers whose wreaths receive the highest bid, as well as most creative and most heartwarming selected by a panel of judges comprised of Markey patients.
The auction is just one of many fundraising events for Expressions of Courage, a creative exhibit celebrating those who have been affected by cancer. Expressions of Courage began in 2014 and is held in June to coincide with National Cancer Survivorship Month.
“Expressions of Courage is very important to help celebrate an individual’s journey from their diagnosis to their survivorship,” said Amber Silberman, a Markey nurse and member of the Expressions of Courage committee.
Local businesses House by JSD Designs, Patty's Petals in Carlisle, Ky., and Monticello Wayne County Florist, as well as Markey patients and UK employees have donated this year’s wreaths. To make a bid on a wreath, visit ukhealthcare.uky.edu/markey/wreath.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Delzotti, CFRE, CSPG, as new president and chief executive officer. Delzotti will begin his new role in early December.
The UK Markey Cancer Foundation serves as the fundraising arm for the UK Markey Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center serving Kentucky and the surrounding Appalachian area. The Foundation underwent a nationwide search for their new president and chief executive officer this past summer.
Delzotti comes to Markey from the world-renowned and number one-ranked University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he served as senior director of philanthropic resources. There his role focused on two successive $1.25 billion campaigns. He also directed a $60 million campaign focused on discovering novel drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
Prior to Delzotti’s tenure with MD Anderson Cancer Center, he held major leadership positions with Rice University, UCLA and the Special Olympics of Southern California.
“I am honored to have been chosen by the UK Markey Cancer Foundation Board to join them in their effots,” said Delzotti. “This Center has such a distinguished history of providing world-class care for the citizens of Kentucky and producing cutting-edge research for the entire field of cancer care.
“Our number one goal will be to build the relationships necessary to support Dr. (Mark) Evers’s vision of elevating Markey to NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status. This designation is so important because it means additional advanced research and comprehensive care for our patients and their families. The Center and the Foundation have one focus – to care for the patient and cure this disease.”
In his new role with the UK Markey Cancer Foundation, Delzotti will also serve as the Foundation’s chief development officer, focusing on major gift development and corporate and foundation grants, as well as overseeing capital campaign initiatives and all other aspects of the Foundation.
"With government funding for cancer research waning, philanthropy is critical to the continued success of NCI-designated cancer centers," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "I look forward to working with Mike to help support and grow so many of the outstanding clinical and research programs we have here at Markey."
With Kentucky’s status as the nation’s leader for overall cancer incidence and mortality, the UK Markey Cancer Center plays an important role in supporting patients around the Commonwealth. Since achieving NCI-designated status in 2013, the Markey Cancer Center has undertaken several new initiatives in the areas of research, treatment and prevention.
“From the moment the search committee sat down with Mike for the first time, we knew he had so much to offer, said UK Markey Cancer Foundation Board Chair Sally Humphrey. “Mike’s experience at MD Anderson, one of the world’s most respected cancer centers, and his thorough knowledge of healthcare fundraising will allow him to best equip the Foundation to secure financial support for groundbreaking research and ultimately help Dr. Evers and his team to achieve NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status.”
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2015) – Time for Three, a string trio known for defying tradition and reinventing classical music in the contemporary world, will perform four pop-up concerts at UK HealthCare locations and in the Lexington community this week.
Known for their virtuosity and showmanship, Time for Three takes an innovative approach to classical composition by incorporating a variety of musical styles, including country western, Bluegrass and jazz, in their high-energy performances. Violinist Zach DePue, violinist Nick Kendall and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer share a passion for improvisation, composition and arrangement, which are prime elements of their musical ensemble. The classically trained musicians blend Bach with the Beatles, specializing in original mash-ups with hits from artists including Katy Perry, Kanye West and more.
The group went viral on YouTube and debuted as a top-10 album on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. In addition to appearances on the BBC and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the group has performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and at Carnegie Hall. Individual soloists have performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and completed prestigious residences at the Kennedy Center.
Pop-up concerts will be held:
· October 21 at Noon, UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Atrium
· Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m., Eastern State Hospital
· October 22 at 10 a.m., Discovery Education Concert at Keeneland and Keeneland National Anthem
· Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., Ethereal Brewery
The pop-up concerts build momentum to the group’s Oct. 23 performance and presentation at the Singletary Center for the Arts as part of the UK HealthCare Saykaly Garbulinska Performer in Residence Series. The UK Arts in HealthCare program in partnership with the Lexington Philharmonic and the UK School of Music will present Time for Three Music Entrepreneurship Assembly at 1 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
The UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition and music theory.
The UK Arts in HealthCare program's mission is to harness the healing power of art to create a comfortable environment focused on the spiritual and emotional well-being of patients, visitors and employees.
The mission of the Lexington Philharmonic is to foster excellence and innovation in the performance and presentation of great music; to enrich the lives of our diverse citizenry; to educate current and future audience and to bring distinction to our community through the orchestra’s presence and standing.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2015) – UK HealthCare has more than 125 physicians practicing medicine with UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Shriner's Hospitals for Children who appear on the Best Doctors in America list for 2015-16 – more than any other hospital in Kentucky. Only 5 percent of doctors in America earn this honor, decided by impartial peer review.
The Best Doctors in America list, assembled by Best Doctors Inc. and audited and certified by Gallup, results from polling of more than 40,000 physicians in the United States. Doctors in more than 40 specialties and 400 subspecialties of medicine appear on this year’s List.
The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.
2015-16 Best Doctor's List:
Sadiq Ahmed Nephrology
Kenneth B. Ain Endocrinology and Metabolism
Michael I. Anstead Pediatric Specialist
Rony K. Aouad Otolaryngology
Susanne M. Arnold Medical Oncology and Hematology
Henrietta Salvilla Bada Pediatric Specialist
Hubert O. Ballard Pediatric Specialist
Robert J. Baumann Child Neurologist
Louis Bezold Pediatric Specialist
Peter James Blackburn Ophthalmology
Christopher A. Boarman Pediatrics
David C. Booth Cardiovascular Disease
Edwin A. Bowe Anesthesiology
Robert A. Broughton Pediatric Specialist
Raeford E. Brown, Jr. Pediatric Specialist
Scottie B. Day Pediatric Specialist
Christopher P. DeSimone Obstetrics and Gynecology
Philip A. DeSimone Medical Oncology and Hematology
David J. DiSantis Radiology
John Draus Pediatric Specialist
John H. Eichhorn Anesthesiology
Eric D. Endean Vascular Surgery
Deborah R. Erickson Urology
B. Mark Evers Surgery
John L. Fowlkes Pediatric Specialist
Peter J. Giannone, Jr. Pediatric Specialist
Jacqueline S. Gibson Internal Medicine
Larry B. Goldstein Neurology
Donna G. Grigsby Pediatrics
John C. Gurley Cardiovascular Disease
Wendy Fetterman Hansen Obstetrics and Gynecology
Andrew Hoellein Internal Medicine
Robert Hosey Family Medicine
Joseph A. Iocono Pediatric Specialist
Mary Lloyd Ireland Orthopaedic Surgery
Henry Iwinski Pediatric Specialist
Gregory A. Jicha Neurology
Darren Lee Johnson Orthopaedic Surgery
Raleigh O. Jones Otolaryngology
Jamshed F. Kanga Pediatric Specialist
Dennis Karounos Endocrinology and Metabolism
Edward J. Kasarskis Neurology
Douglas G. Katz Ophthalmology
Philip A. Kern Endocrinology and Metabolism
Stefan G. Kiessling Pediatric Specialist
Mahesh R. Kudrimoti Radiation Oncology
Cheri D. Landers Pediatric Specialist
Philip B. Latham Pediatrics
Steve W. Leung Cardiovascular Disease
Robert W. Lightfoot, Jr. Rheumatology
Richard Lock Anesthesiology
Grace F. Maguire Pediatrics
Scott D. Mair Orthopaedic Surgery
Hartmut H. Malluche Nephrology
Jeremiah T. Martin Thoracic Surgery
Erich C. Maul Pediatrics
Hanna W. Mawad Nephrology
Ronald Charles McGarry Radiation Oncology
Patrick C. McGrath Surgical Oncology
Adrian W. Messerli Cardiovascular Disease
Todd Milbrandt Pediatric Specialist
David J. Minion Vascular Surgery
Amr El-Husseini Mohamed Nephrology
David J. Moliterno Cardiovascular Disease
Alba E. Morales Pediatric Specialist
Peter E. Morris Critical Care Medicine
Timothy W. Mullett Thoracic Surgery
Kevin R. Nelson Neurology
Nicholas J. Nickl III Gastroenterology
M. Elizabeth Oates Radiology
John M. O'Brien, Jr. Obstetrics and Gynecology
Hatim A. Omar Pediatric Specialist
Amit Patel Plastic Surgery
Kevin A. Pearce Geriatric Medicine
P. Andrew Pearson Ophthalmology
Luther C. Pettigrew, Jr. Neurology
Barbara A. Phillips Sleep Medicine
Thomas Pittman Pediatric Specialist
Andrew R. Pulito* Pediatric Specialist
Marcus E. Randall Radiation Oncology
Annette Rebel Critical Care Medicine
Hassan K. Reda Thoracic Surgery
Aru Reddy Pediatric Specialist
L. Raymond Reynolds Endocrinology and Metabolism
Julie Ribes Pathology
Scott A. Riley Hand Surgery
John J. Rinehart* Medical Oncology and Hematology
Kimberly Ringley Pediatrics
William C. Robertson, Jr. Child Neurologist
David W. Rudy Clinical Pharmacology, Internal Medicine
Sarah S. Rugg Cardiovascular Disease
Sibu P. Saha Thoracic Surgery
Sheila P. Sanders Ophthalmology
B. Peter Sawaya Nephrology
Douglas J. Schneider Pediatric Specialist
Jeffrey Bryan Selby Orthopaedic Surgery
Lori Shook Pediatric Specialist
Michael Sekela Thoracic Surgery
John Slevin Neurology
David A. Sloan Surgical Oncology
Charles D. Smith, Jr. Neurology
Mikel D. Smith Cardiovascular Disease
Susan Smyth Cardiovascular Disease
Vincent L. Sorrell Cardiovascular Disease
William Henry St. Clair Radiation Oncology
Carol Steltenkamp Pediatrics
Julia C. Stevens Pediatric Specialist
Stephen Strup Urology
Lisa R. Tannock Endocrinology and Metabolism
Vishwas R. Talwalkar Pediatric Specialist
Alice C. Thornton Infectious Disease
Kathryn M. Thrailkill Pediatric Specialist
Phillip A. Tibbs Neurological Surgery
Dale E. Toney Internal Medicine
Fred Rand Ueland Obstetrics and Gynecology
Joseph Valentino Otolaryngology
Craig Van Horne Neurological Surgery
Woodford S. Van Meter Ophthalmology
John R. van Nagell Obstetrics and Gynecology
Henry C. Vasconez Pediatric Specialist, Plastic Surgery
Lars M. Wagner Pediatric Specialist
Carmel Wallace Pediatrics
Gretchen Lois Wells Cardiovascular Disease
Thomas French Whayne, Jr. Cardiovascular Disease
Michael L. Wittkamp Pediatric Specialist
Thomas L. Young Pediatrics
Khaled M. Ziada Cardiovascular Disease
Joseph B. Zwischenberger Critical Care Medicine, Thoracic Surgery
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 14, 2015) — A University of Kentucky study shows that withaferin A, a component of Withania somnifera (winter cherry) plant extract, may hold promise as a new treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Winter cherry extract was used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years before it caught the interest of Subbarao Bondada, a University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor and researcher for the UK Markey Cancer Center. Because withaferin A shows promise in treating other cancers without the side effects associated with current treatments, Bondada’s laboratory tested it against lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and is known for being particularly aggressive.
Unlike other studies using withaferin A to treat cancer, Bondada’s study, published in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy, is the first to test the chemical against a blood cancer. Previous studies using withaferin A focused on cancers producing tumors that grow as a mass in tissue, more commonly known as solid tumors.
Katie McKenna, a graduate student in Bondada’s laboratory, found that withaferin A prevented the lymphoma cells from dividing and ultimately killed them. Specifically, they found withaferin A directly targeted a signaling pathway in the cancer it needs to survive.
“It may be possible to develop orally administered versions of withaferin A that could be used in lymphoma patients with fewer side effects than current chemotherapy regimens,” Bondada said.
Because withaferin A shows promise in treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Bondada’s team is now testing the chemical on chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
Bondada's group collaborated with University of Louisville Professor Ramesh Gupta, who aided in the isolation of withaferin A. This work was funded by the National Cancer Institute to the UK Markey Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health, Office of Vice President for Research for Core Research facilities and the Sabinsa Corporation and does not necessarily represent the views of these institutions.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, 859-323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2015) – This Saturday, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is hosting its second annual "Tealgate" event before the UK vs. University of Louisiana at Lafayette football game.
The event was created to raise ovarian cancer awareness. UK offers an UK Ovarian Cancer Screening Program, a free program that offers ultrasound screenings to Kentucky women over the age of 50 and women over the age of 25 who have had a family history of ovarian cancer.
Tealgate is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to wear teal, the color that represents ovarian cancer. Parking is free beginning at 5 p.m., but participants must request a parking pass in advance by contacting email@example.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2015) -- An investigational medical device for the treatment of late stage lung cancer, pioneered by researchers at University of Kentucky, has been approved for clinical trials by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). UK is the only site in the country approved to test this new treatment on advanced lung cancer patients.
The Exatherm Total Body Hyperthermia System (Exatherm-TBH) was developed at UK in a public-private partnership with Exatherm Inc. The project is supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The research team includes Dr. Jeremiah Martin, surgical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center’s Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic; and Dr. Kevin Hatton, chief of anesthesiology critical care at UK.
“Cancer cells are more susceptible to damage from heat than normal tissue, so the development of a safe method to deliver heat throughout the body may be a key step forward for advanced lung cancer patients,” said Martin.
Whereas most thermal treatments are specific to the area of the body where a tumor is located, UK researchers are examining total body hyperthermia, a treatment utilizing a perfusion circuit that circulates the blood through the patient’s vascular system at a target temperature.
“Patients with advanced lung cancer, who have completed standard therapy and for whom there are no additional conventional options, are invited to learn more about this trial,” Martin said. “This initial safety trial will lay important groundwork for patients with other tumor types in the future.”
The goal in any cancer treatment is to attack the diseased cells and leave the healthy cells alone. Healthy cells have a signaling mechanism that protects them from increases in body temperature. This mechanism is defective in cancer cells, which the potential new treatment aims to exploit.
The treatment, which lasts approximately four hours under a general anesthetic, uses the Exatherm-TBH System to heat and circulate the blood throughout the body. The device heats the patient’s blood to a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, or about 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because systemic hyperthermia attacks cancer cells throughout the body all at once, the research team hopes the project will lead to a new and safe method for treating patients whose cancer has metastasized through the body.
"If results meet our expectations, the approach would present an advantage over other methods of thermal treatment, particularly in later stages of the disease," said Martin.
Patients who want to find out if they are eligible to participate in this study may visit UKClinicalResearch.com or call the division of UK Cardiothoracic Surgery at 859-323-6494.
Physicians: to refer a patient, contact Dr. Jeremiah Martin through the UK physician referral service toll free at 800-888-5533 or 859-231-9922.
To learn more about participating in research, including current opportunities at UK and across the country, visit http://www.ccts.uky.edu/ccts/participate-research.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, email@example.com; or Mallory Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org
GLASGOW, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2015) – T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, Ky., announced that it has entered into a formal collaboration with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center to further develop its oncology service line.
“At T.J. Samson we have wonderful medical professionals that are excellent at providing individualized treatment options. By collaborating with the Markey Cancer Center, we have just provided them a whole new world of resources to offer their patients locally,” Bud Wethington, CEO/President of T.J. Regional Health.
Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation. By working with Markey, T.J. Samson is committed to providing top-notch care for its cancer patients. The hospital is considered a candidate member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN) and is making steps toward becoming a full affiliate member.
As part of the formal collaboration, the UK Markey Cancer Center will assist T.J. Samson in preparing for their American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer accreditation, which is the quality standard for all MCCAN sites.
"We are excited to work with T.J. Samson in building a strong oncology program," said Dr. Timothy Mullett, medical director of the MCCAN. "Our state unfortunately ranks at the top in terms of cancer incidence and mortality, but by working together with hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer prevention and care."
T.J. Samson currently provides oncology services at the T.J. Health Pavilion under the direction of Dr. Donald Goodin. Goodin is board-certified in hematology/oncology and works closely with Dr. William Tyree at the Barren River Regional Cancer Center, a joint venture between T.J. Samson Community Hospital and The Medical Center of Bowling Green. Tyree is board-certified in radiation oncology and has been practicing in southcentral Kentucky since 2013.
These physicians, along with their highly trained staff, provide complex oncology services including diagnostic imaging, surgery, radiation, palliative care and chemotherapy close to home. The new relationship with Markey will strengthen patient navigation, psychosocial support, survivorship and rehabilitation services.
“I look forward to being able to expand the scope of services at T.J. Samson Community Hospital,” Goodin said. “Our specialized physicians desire to provide opportunities for their patients to participate in clinical trials through a collaborative affiliation with a nationally recognized program such as the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.”
The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise. Markey functions as a multi-faceted, multidisciplinary complex whose mission is to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality through a comprehensive program of cancer education, research, treatment and community engagement.
The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical research studies. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital. Attending Physicians affiliated with the Center are board certified in their respective oncologic specialties, and its research scientists are generously funded by nationally prominent funding agencies, including the National Cancer Institute.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2015) – The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded a $750,000 grant to University of Kentucky researcher Fredrick Onono to study the potential link between obesity and breast cancer.
Obese women are four times more likely to develop treatment-resistant breast cancer, but the exact mechanism for this observation is still largely a mystery. The link between high-fat diets and cancer development provides a clue that fats themselves may somehow be responsible for causing cells to malfunction.
Onono, who recently became an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, will work with fellow UK researchers Andrew Morris, Ashwini Anand Professor of Cardiology; Dr. Susan Smyth, Jeff Gill Professor of Cardiology; Kathleen O’Connor, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; and Andrew Lane, professor of toxicology and cancer biology.
This research is made possible by an award from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1K01CA197073-01 and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The University of Kentucky's Dr. John D'Orazio recently received grant funding totalling $375,000 over three years to further his research on melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Three organizations provided an equal share of the funding: the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research; the Markey Cancer Foundation; and DanceBlue, the University of Kentucky's student-run fundraiser for pediatric cancer. Additionally, much of the preliminary data used in the MRA grant application was facilitated by pilot funding from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.
D'Orazio's research focuses on the hormonal pathways that protect the skin from sun damage and how efficiently the skin's DNA may be able to repair itself. In a previous study, D'Orazio's team discovered a genetic defect in the melanocortin1 receptor (MC1R) leads to a reduced ability to repair DNA, making people more susceptible to developing melanoma.
The new project will focus on the specific hormones that appear to "turn off" MC1R signaling, also leading to an increased likelihood of developing the cancer.
Melanoma of the skin is one of the most common cancers in the United States and among the top 10 causes of new cancer cases. In the United States each year, more than 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, and it is one of the most common cancers for young women. While the overall five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with melanoma is high at 92 percent, the survival rate decreases dramatically once melanoma spreads to other parts of the body.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2015) – Jennifer Bradley, the Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, has been nominated for a Buffalo Trace Distillery Eagle Rare Life Honor for her hard work and devotion to Markey's Jin Shin Jyutsu program.
Buffalo Trace Distillery recognizes and honors those who share a passion for excellence with their Rare Life Award. The nominee in each of five categories who receives the most public votes will win $5,000 for the charity of their choice and the top overall winner receives $50,000.
Bradley became interested in Jin Shin Jyutsy after seeing how the practice helped two of her own family members who had been diagnosed with cancer. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. Studies have shown that it can help to reduce the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Jin Shin Jyutsu has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009.
Voting for the award is open through December and you may vote up to once each day.
View the 2015 annual report (PDF, 5.6 MB) »