Institute of Medicine president to speak at UofL Dec. 10

Leonard Leight Lecture focuses on regeneration of the heart
Institute of Medicine president to speak at UofL Dec. 10

Victor J. Dzau, M.D., president of the Institute of Medicine

The president of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies will present the 2014 Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville.

Victor J. Dzau, M.D., will speak at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 10, at Kornhauser Library Auditorium on the UofL Health Sciences Campus. Admission is free.

Dzau will discuss “Molecular Approaches to Cardiac Regeneration,” an area of research being explored at UofL. Roberto Bolli, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology, and his colleagues have successfully shown in 19 patients who previously suffered a heart attack that their stem cells, after processing, can be re-infused back into the damaged heart muscle and improve its function.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, also headed by Bolli, in the Department of Medicine at UofL’s School of Medicine. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville.

The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established in 1994 and is made possible by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

About Victor Dzau

Dzau assumed the presidency of the Institute of Medicine July 1 after having served as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University, president and CEO for Duke University Health System, and the James B. Duke Professor, Duke University School of Medicine. He was elected to the IOM in 1988 and served on several leadership committees prior to being named president.

He has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering work in the discipline of vascular medicine, and recently his leadership in health care innovation.

His work on the renin angiotensin system (RAS) – a hormonal system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance – paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as therapeutics.

Dzau also helped pioneer gene therapy for vascular disease. His most recent work provides novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, has awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant to the University of Louisville (UofL). This grant is one of 40 infrastructure grants awarded as part of the foundation’s fall grant cycle, totaling more than $2.5 million and surpassing last year’s total awarded during this same period.

The University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation makes approximately 100 new diagnoses per year. One of the primary goals of the division is to offer novel therapies to allow patients to receive treatment within the region and not have to travel elsewhere. This grant will provide support to hire a nurse coordinator for neuroblastoma and sarcoma patients on clinical trials, providing them with additional access to those trials.

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant will help children diagnosed with cancer to receive the best care here in Louisville,” explains Kerry Powell McGowan, M.D., pediatric oncologist at UofL. “With the grant we hope to help more children and their families stay close to home to get the treatment they need.”

The grant to UofL is part of a series of grants that, combined with the more than $24.7 million awarded in July to fund cutting-edge research, brings the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s funding total to more than $27.2 million awarded in 2014. Grants were awarded based on the need of the institution and its patients, anticipated results of the grant and local participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events and activities.

“These grants are critically important to saving children’s lives, and would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and generous donors who believe kids deserve better than medicine is currently able to provide,” said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

To learn how you can get involved visit, and connect with St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and Vimeo


About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide where participants collect pledges to shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer, raising money to fund research. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $154 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, and the new International Scholar grants train researchers to work in developing countries. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit





Art to Beat Cancer features more than 60 works of art

Art to Beat Cancer features more than 60 works of art

"A Horse" by Ekaterina Ziuzina is among the works of art being auctioned at Art to Beat Cancer to benefit the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

More than 60 works of art by 18 national and international artists will be featured at Art to Beat Cancer, Friday, Nov. 23. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at the Green Building, 732 E. Market St.

Art to Beat Cancer benefits research being carried out by the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Created by artist Doyle Glass, Art to Beat Cancer supports the Kim and Doyle Glass Endowment for Developmental Therapeutics. Doyle’s wife Kim is currently battling Stage IV breast cancer, and the Glasses have established the endowment with a goal of raising $1 million to provide critical funding to move new cancer-fighting drugs from the research stage to the clinical setting.

Bidding is currently open for each work of art on the Bidding For Good website. Additionally, for only $50 you can participate in an art ticket raffle for a 1 in 24 chance to win one of 18 paintings, each valued at up to $4,000. People also are welcome to make a cash donation, which will be matched on the Bidding for Good website. Winning bids will be announced at the event.

In addition to Doyle Glass, artists represented at Art to Beat Cancer are Eric Bowman, Jill Carver, J.M. Culver, Glenn Dean, Patrick Donley, Bato Dugarzhapov, Mark Haworth, Joshua Jenkins, Matthew Katz, Kevin Macpherson, Wanda Macpherson, Denise LaRue Mahlke, C.W. Mundy, Antonio Rodriguez, David Schuster, Michele Usibelli, Dan Young and Ekaterina Ziuzina.

For additional information, contact Michael Neumann, 502-852-4642.

The Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, One Year Later

UofL physician notes successes in 'New England Journal of Medicine' follow-up article
The Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, One Year Later

One year ago, Michael Stillman, M.D., and his colleague, Monalisa Tailor, M.D., both physicians with the University of Louisville Department of Medicine, wrote a New England Journal of Medicine “Perspective” article about “Tommy Davis,” their pseudonym-named patient who delayed seeing a doctor because he lacked health insurance.

After spending a year experiencing severe abdominal pain and other symptoms, Davis finally sought care in the emergency room. The diagnosis? Metastatic colon cancer.

“If we’d found it sooner,” Davis said to the physicians, “it would have made a difference. But now I’m just a dead man walking,” a phrase so evocative, the physicians chose it as the headline of their article.

Today, however, Stillman and his colleagues are witnessing what another of his patients terms a “sea change in health care” because of the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Kentucky.

Stillman has authored a follow-up “Perspective” article in the New England Journal of Medicine this week that notes the changes brought about by the ACA and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion that the act brought about.

One year later, the ACA rollout in Kentucky has been a success, he says. “…Our Commonwealth’s citizens – among the poorest and most (medically) underserved in the country – finally gained broad access to health insurance,” he says. “… allowing us to provide data-driven and thorough care without first considering our patients’ ability to pay.”

The contrast between last year and today is stark, writes Stillman. “Before … Medicaid expansion, the 60 percent of my clinic patients and 650,000 Kentuckians who lacked health insurance received disjointed and disastrous care.” Many avoided routine and preventative care because of worries over cost.

“But during the past year,” Stillman writes, “many of my lowest-income patients have, for the first time as adults, been able to seek non-urgent medical attention.” In Kentucky, 413,000 people gained medical coverage who did not have it prior to the ACA implementation.

The ACA has brought about other unexpected benefits as well. Expanded health care coverage has greatly improved residency training in Kentucky, enabling the doctor to spend more time doctoring and less time serving as a financial advisor.

“One year after the law’s implementation, residents at my hospital can finally provide guideline- and evidence-based care,” without first considering the cost, he writes. “Since 92 percent of our patients are now insured, we no longer receive fretful looks when we recommend laboratory tests; we screen for colorectal cancer with colonoscopies rather than with less sensitive fecal blood cards; and we spend more time examining patients and less time helping them knit together limited public-assistance resources.”

Another unanticipated benefit has been an increase in competition for patients. Before the ACA, patients without health insurance had a limited number of facilities in which they could receive care.

Today, however, “with increased enrollment in Medicaid and commercial (health) plans, these same patients are pursued by medical groups and hospitals and can be selective in choosing their sites of care.”

Stillman notes that the ACA remains threatened, both in Kentucky where its success is verified by data, and in other states throughout the country.

“Some Kentuckians question the adequacy of the newly purchased plans and are concerned that despite being ‘insured,’ people who have bought low-premium, high-deductible plans may (still) wind up accruing substantial medical debt,” he writes.

Also, he notes that 21 states have yet to expand Medicaid eligibility despite the example Kentucky shows of the success in doing so. Physicians, however, can help.

“First, we can challenge our elected officials to do a better job of seeing to their constituents’ needs,” he writes. “Furthermore, we can delineate for our patients the often-subtle links between current affairs and their own health,” including asking them if they are registered to vote and reminding them of candidates’ support of or opposition to the legislation that has palpably benefited them.

“I hope that an increasing number of state legislatures will help their vulnerable citizens receive the services they need and that the next generation of physicians will be shocked that our current efforts at health care inclusion were ever seriously questioned.”


New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

UofL School of Medicine is first in nation to provide core competencies program
New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine will serve as the nation’s pilot site for training future physicians on the unique health care concerns and issues encountered by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD).

“We are very excited to serve as our nation’s learning ground in training the next generation of physicians in meeting the unique health care needs of our LGBT and DSD-affected population,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “Every segment of our population brings its own set of health care issues and concerns. As we strive to provide the highest quality training possible, it is a privilege to model that educational experience for our colleagues throughout the nation.”

UofL will spend the next few months developing the formal curriculum and begin the pilot program in the 2015-16 academic year, with full integration into the curriculum in 2016-17.

People who are LGBT, gender nonconforming or born with DSD often experience challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms. Research shows that these health disparities result in decreased access to care or willingness to seek care, resulting in increased medical morbidity and mortality for LGBT and DSD-affected patients.

All aspects of patient care, from the intake forms and interaction with caregivers in the outpatient office to interactions during critical illness, require an accepting, informed, patient-centered approach from all physicians in order to improve the adverse health outcomes seen in this patient population.

In early November, the Association of American Medical Colleges identified 30 competencies that physicians must master. These competencies fall under eight domains of care critical to training physicians, including patient care, knowledge for practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, interprofessional collaboration and personal and professional development.

This competency-based framework will allow medical educators to integrate the new guidelines into existing curricula more easily and encourage faculty and health care professionals to move away from thinking of patients in these groups as separate from the general patient population.

“As a university, we continue to be a leader in recognizing the importance of understanding our diverse population and working to meet the varying needs,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the LGBT Center at UofL.

UofL School of Medicine will be assisted in this curriculum integration project by two of the primary authors of the competencies, Jennifer Potter, M.D., Harvard School of Medicine, and Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and fourth-ear medical student. Additionally, John Davis, M.D. from The Ohio State University and the AAMC Group on Diversity & Inclusion LGBT Issues Representative also will assist in the project.

UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center discontinues The Julep Ball

The University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center today announced it will discontinue The Julep Ball. The gala has been held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby since 2009.

“While The Julep Ball has over the course of its history provided great visibility for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a wonderful venue for us to thank our supporters, the resources necessary to stage a quality event have grown too great to make it successful as a significant fund-raising effort,” said Michael Neumann, executive director of development for the cancer center.

“We have always worked to make The Julep Ball much more than simply an enjoyable evening for our patrons; it has become the singular premiere Derby Eve ‘Party with a Purpose,’” Neumann said. “Maintaining the standards of quality that we have set for ourselves has required more and more resources, particularly manpower, each year. This means we have to divert those resources away from other projects and activities equally important to our mission to provide world-class clinical care, education and research in the field of cancer.”

Neumann added that The Julep Ball and its predecessor, the Mint Jubilee, have generated over $1.5 million over the past decade to support the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The resource requirements involved in attracting celebrity guests and providing top-quality entertainment, food and drink in a gala setting, however, has continued to grow as other Derby Week events have mushroomed.

“When we began more than a decade ago, the field of Derby Week parties was quite limited,” he said. “We believe that our success encouraged and even helped give birth to other parties organized by individuals and groups who do not have the mission we do and with whom The Julep Ball now competes.”

Events organized by others in support of the cancer center will continue to receive assistance from university faculty and staff, he said. Art to Beat Cancer is traditionally held each fall and will be held Nov. 21 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Green Building, 732 E. Market St. The Twisted Pink Masquerade Ballsupports metastatic breast cancer research at the cancer center and will be held Feb. 7, 2015, at The Gillespie, 421 W. Market St. Hats for Hope traditionally kicks off the Derby season and will be held April 16, 2015, at the Triple Crown Conference Center.

“We look forward to continuing to support these events in every way we can, and explore new events proposed by our supporters,” Neumann said.

He added that the university has retained ownership of the name and brand of The Julep Ball.

“The Julep Ball grew to become a wonderfully festive Derby Eve gala, and for that, we thank each of the many volunteers over the years who helped it thrive,” Neumann said. “We hope they continue to support the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in the months and years to come.”


About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. For more information, visit our web site,




Second protein associated with common cause of kidney failure identified

Blood test should reduce need for kidney biopsies
Second protein associated with common cause of kidney failure identified

An international team of researchers including Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Merchant, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville has identified a protein that turns a person’s immune system against itself in a form of kidney disease called membranous nephropathy (MN). The findings are published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This is the second protein associated with MN and the development of an autoimmune response.

Through the identification of this second protein, a new blood test can be developed to diagnose this common form of kidney disease.

Unchecked, MN can lead to kidney failure, or end stage renal disease. In 2011, more than a million people worldwide suffered from kidney failure annually, with more than 570,000 in the United States. Approximately 14 percent of those cases are the result of glomerulonephritis of which MN is a common cause.

“Five years ago this team initially discovered a protein that has led to a blood test identifying between 70 and 80 percent of people with MN,” said Klein, vice dean of research at UofL’s School of Medicine. “We now have found another protein that impacts up to another 5 percent of patients with MN. Once a blood test is available, we will have been able to reduce the number of kidney biopsies necessary for disease detection and to assess the response to treatment by up to 85 percent.”

Membranous nephropathy occurs when the small blood vessels in the kidney that filter wastes from the blood become inflamed and thickened. As a result, proteins leak from the damaged blood vessels into the urine. For many people, loss of these proteins eventually causes signs and symptoms known as nephrotic syndrome.

In 2009, Klein and this team reported the discovery that antibodies to kidney expression of phospholipase A2 receptor 1 (PLA2R1), were diagnostic for MN. That work, also reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, led to an FDA-approved test to diagnose MN. The PLA2R1 antibody test is positive in 80 percent of patients with MN. This week’s disclosure is related to the protein THSD7A. Researchers examined the blood of people known to have MN. Of the 154 people studied, 15 had antibodies to THSD7A, but not PLA2R1.

“This is significant because it provides us with another marker of identification and enables us to lessen the physical burden on our patients and ultimately will decrease the need for kidney biopsy. These MN antibody tests also allow us to monitor disease activity without kidney biopsy as we treat the patient. This allows a more rapid approach to developing new therapies for MN,” Klein said.

As pointed out by senior author Gérard Lambeau, Ph.D., director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne and team leader at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (Sophia Antipolis), “This week’s disclosure is related to the discovery of the protein THSD7A and the corresponding anti-THSD7A autoantibodies in a group of about 10 percent of MN patients who did not have anti-PLA2R1 autoantibodies.”

“The discovery of this second antigen-antibody system in membranous nephropathy will allow clinicians to diagnose this new form of primary (autoimmune) membranous nephropathy and provides a new method to monitor the disease activity in this subgroup of patients,” said co-lead authors Nicola Tomas, M.D. of University Medical Center Hamburg–Eppendorf and Laurence Beck, M.D., Ph.D., of Boston University School of Medicine.

Catherine Meyer-Schwesinger, M.D., Barbara Seitz-Polski, M.D., Hong Ma, Ph.D., Gunther Zahner, Ph.D., Guillaume Dolla, M.S., Elion Hoxha, M.D., Udo Helmchen, M.D., Anne-Sophie Dabert-Gay, Ph.D., Delphine Debayle, Ph.D., David J. Salant, M.D., and Rolf A.K. Stahl, M.D., are part of the research team.

In addition to the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine, the findings recently were presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2014 in Philadelphia.

Kentucky receives $7 million to lead first-of-its-kind collaboration to reduce burden of lung cancer

University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Lung Cancer Alliance lead effort with grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
Kentucky receives $7 million to lead first-of-its-kind collaboration to reduce burden of lung cancer

On Nov. 12, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and Lung Cancer Alliance announce the Kentucky LEADS (Lung Cancer. Education. Awareness. Detection. Survivorship) Collaborative, a project that will focus on reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky.  Kentucky has more cases of lung cancer than any other state and its lung cancer mortality rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.

The Kentucky LEADS Collaborative is a first of its kind project that brings together an interdisciplinary team of community partners and lung cancer prevention and control experts to assess novel approaches for identifying lung cancer earlier to improve survival. The project will also develop and evaluate interventions to improve quality of life and survivorship for individuals with lung cancer and their caregivers. These efforts are supported through a $7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative.

“As Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer mortality rates, we must step up to be a leader in finding solutions toward preventing, curing and coping with this destructive disease”, said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.  “I strongly support this collaborative, wide-ranging effort as it coincides with this administration’s KyHealthNow goals of reducing statewide cancer and smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019.  By working together, we can and will find a way to diminish the burden of this crisis in Kentucky."

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and kills more Americans than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. In Kentucky, the burden of this illness is even more dramatic and will take over 3,500 lives this year alone.

"Historically there's not been a lot of research or effort put into lung cancer survivorship because, unfortunately, there hasn't been much survivorship," said Jamie Studts, PhD, associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky and director of the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative. "This project is an effort across several domains to help providers, patients, caregivers and health care programs do the best job possible to achieve better care and increase lung cancer survivorship."

One in two patients diagnosed with lung cancer will die within a year. After five years, only 16 in 100 patients will be alive. "Those are sobering statistics,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “The timing of diagnosis is critical. Patients diagnosed at Stage 1 have a 57 percent chance of achieving five-year survival. That drops to 4 percent when patients have a late-stage diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of lung cancer, combined with education and patient support, is key to increased survival for patients living with lung cancer.”

The first component of the program, provider education, led by Connie Sorrell of the Kentucky Cancer Program West and Dr. Goetz Kloecker at the University of Louisville, will review the practice patterns and factors affecting referral and treatment of lung cancer patients across the state. Primary care providers play a key role in the management of lung cancer, and this component of the project will familiarize them with best practices in caring for patients who are at high risk of developing lung cancer or are diagnosed with the disease.

“It is our goal to help primary care providers throughout Kentucky to identify people at high risk of lung cancer and be aware of the significant improvements in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” Kloecker said. “We will give providers evidence-based information that enables them and their patients to receive the best possible care. An important part of this is the detection of cancer at an early stage. Once the cancer is diagnosed it is important for patients to receive the most effective treatments in order to have the best chance of cure, survival and quality of life.”

Studts will lead the second component of the project, which will develop a lung cancer-specific survivorship program that promotes quality of life and well-being for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer, as well as their caregivers, throughout the continuum of the disease. This will include care that addresses a combination of acute and late or long-term effects of the illness and treatment.  Studts and his team will also develop a training program for lung cancer navigators and mental health providers to sustainably administer the survivorship program to patients and caregivers statewide.

Lung cancer screening guidelines have recently changed, creating a unique opportunity to implement rigorous, statewide screening programs that can save lives. The third component of the project, led by Dr. Timothy Mullett and Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight at the University of Kentucky, will therefore promote evidence-based prevention and early detection of lung cancer. Lung cancer is often diagnosed too late to treat because symptoms tend to emerge only after the disease has spread. For this reason, increasing high-quality lung cancer screening is critical to reducing deaths from the disease.

Lung Cancer Alliance will partner with UK on the survivorship and screening components of the project, contributing to program design, administration, communications support and dissemination.

“We are so thrilled and proud to be a partner in this unprecedented public health coalition intent on bringing heartfelt support and life-saving services to Kentucky citizens impacted by lung cancer,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance president & CEO.  “Such ‘can do’ attitude not only will lead to a first-ever coordinated plan of action to reduce lung cancer’s foot print in Kentucky – but will stimulate other states to follow in its shoes in the months ahead. It is truly a momentous time worth celebrating.”

Additional collaboration on this project comes from the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network, the Markey Cancer Foundation, the Kentucky Cancer Foundation and a broad range of community-based stakeholder groups, collaborators, partnering organizations, and healthcare systems throughout Kentucky and nationally.

About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. For more information, visit

About University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center

The Markey Cancer Center is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare enterprise.  In 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 68 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. For more information, visit

About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance is the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Recently rated as the highest lung cancer organization in the nation by Charity Navigator, Lung Cancer Alliance offers free personalized support, information and referral from professionally trained and caring staff; advocates for increased research funding and access to treatments and diagnostics; conducts national awareness campaigns about the disease, risk and early detection. For more information, visit

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes around the world for patients disproportionately affected by serious disease. Focusing on southeastern U.S. states that have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates in the country, the Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative seeks to transform community-based care and support for lung cancer.  For more information, visit

Next UofL Beer with a Scientist program examines Ebola on Nov. 12

Next UofL Beer with a Scientist program examines Ebola on Nov. 12

Against the Grain Brewery at 401 E. Main St. is host to monthly Beer with a Scientist events.

Separating the science from the sensational is the goal of the November Beer with a Scientist program, “Ebola! What is it, how is it treated and should we be worried?” on Wednesday, Nov. 12, beginning at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.

Speaking will be Jeremy Camp and Rachael Gerlach of University of Louisville Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Colleen Jonsson’s laboratory. The basic and translational research from this lab examines highly pathogenic RNA viruses – those capable of causing disease – including investigations of hantaviruses, influenza viruses, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus known as SARS-CoV and retroviruses.

The Beer with a Scientist program is now in its seventh month and is the brainchild of University of Louisville cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to Louisville’s Against the Grain brewpub for exactly what the title promises: beer and science.

Beverly created the monthly series as a way to connect with people who don’t have scientific backgrounds but want to know about scientific topics. “We lose sight of the fact that most people have never even met a Ph.D., never talked to one,” he said. “(However) whenever I go someplace, if I strike up a conversation at a bar and I tell someone what I do for a living, they always have questions. It leads to a whole conversation.”

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged. Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

UofL Trover Campus wins national academic medicine award

Madisonville, Ky., campus addresses need for rural health care providers
UofL Trover Campus wins national academic medicine award

Williams J. Crump, M.D.

The Trover Campus at Baptist Health Madisonville of the University of Louisville School of Medicine will receive the 2014 Shining Star of Community Achievement award from the Group on Regional Medical Campuses of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The award will be presented today (Friday, Nov. 7) during the AAMC Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

The award is presented to a regional academic medical program that has a positive impact on the community it serves and shows success in achieving a part of the medical school’s social mission.

Begun in 1998 by UofL and the Trover Health System (now Baptist Health Madisonville) under the leadership of William J. Crump, M.D., the Trover Rural Track has several components, all with the same goal: to address the shortage of physicians in medically underserved rural areas.

More than two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties – 81 out of 120, and nearly all of them rural – are officially designated health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) for primary care by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Nationally, only about one-fourth of the United States’ 3,082 counties are wholly designated as primary care HPSAs.

Baptist Health hosts the Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., serving a population of 300,000 in 12 counties with a group practice of more than 75 physicians in more than 25 specialties; a 410-bed hospital with 100 physicians on staff; up-to-date diagnostic and treatment technologies; a comprehensive cancer treatment facility and more.

“The idea is simple,” said Crump, who is associate dean for the Trover Campus and co-directs the campus with Steve Fricker, director of rural health/student affairs. “The best way to get doctors to small towns is to get medical students from small towns. Our program strives to provide first-class, individualized clinical training in an environment that allows students to experience the benefits of small-town life.”

The Trover Campus sponsors High School Rural Scholar and College Rural Scholar programs that help students from the region gain admission to medical school. Summer programs in Madisonville held after students’ first year of medical school in Louisville help them stay connected to the region. A student-led free clinic at the campus provides primary care services to the area’s low-income and uninsured population while giving students valuable training as part of their medical school curriculum.

The Trover Campus’ newest component reached an important milestone in May when Ashley Jessup of Benton, Ky., became the first graduate of its Rural Medical Accelerated Track. This track enables students to finish medical school in three years, reducing both the cost and length of their education and training.

“I cannot think of a group that has developed more innovative and comprehensive programs that have positively impacted the community they serve than the Trover Campus at UofL,” said David L. Wiegman, Ph.D., associate vice president for health affairs at UofL, in making the nomination for the award. “In fact, this program that originated at a regional rural campus is now being looked at for implementation here in Louisville with a focus on the urban uninsured.”

Crump sees the goal of increasing the numbers of physicians in rural areas as challenging but achievable. “Most of the counties in Kentucky that are underserved are only underserved by an average of 1.5 full-time equivalent positions,” he said. “This means that placing just one more physician permanently in a county may move it from being an underserved to an adequately served county.”

October ‘Beer with a Scientist’ program looks up at the stars

October ‘Beer with a Scientist’ program looks up at the stars

Gerard Williger, Ph.D.

The October Beer with a Scientist program invites participants to look up at the night sky with a discussion on “How and where did stars form in the distant past?” presented by Gerard Williger, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Louisville. The program gets underway at 8 p.m., Oct. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville.

Williger also is a visiting professor at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England; an adjunct faculty member in astrophysics at the Institute for Computational and Astrophysical Sciences at Catholic University of America, Washington; and a guest lecturer at the Observatory de la Côte d'Azur, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.

Beer with a Scientist is a relaxed presentation of scientific information in language that any non-scientist will understand. The program is sponsored by Louisville Underground Science, an informally organized group made up of people who are “passionate about disseminating all things science to the general public of Louisville.”

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged. Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information, contact Beer with a Scientist founder and organizer Levi Beverly, assistant professor, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology & Toxicology, at 502-852-8968 or


UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Data to be presented at national pediatrics meeting Oct. 10
UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Using a portable or bedside ultrasound machine in the pediatric emergency room has been proven to lessen the length of stay in the ER and to provide images equal in accuracy to x-ray or CT scan without exposing children to potentially harmful radiation.

A third-year medical student at the University of Louisville has now led a group of researchers from five universities in determining that bedside ultrasound is cost-effective as well.

With colleagues from Columbia University, Northwestern University, George Washington University, Jefferson Medical College and UofL, Alexander Thai will present results from the study, “Cost Effectiveness of Implementation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in a Pediatric Emergency Department,” at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.

Thai will make his presentation at the pre-conference Section on Emergency Medicine on Friday, Oct. 10, at 3:45 p.m. PDT.

The clinical value of bedside ultrasound – known as “point-of-care ultrasound” or POCUS – has long been established. What Thai and his colleagues, including In K. Kim, M.D., of UofL’s Department of Pediatrics Emergency Medicine Division, found is that the high-tech equipment does not have to drain resources but can, in fact, generate positive operating revenue.

Analyzing Medicaid data from Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Thai and his colleagues found that annual average costs of obtaining and using POCUS in the emergency setting total $75,240. The annual average revenue realized from the use of POCUS is $115,969, resulting in a net annual operating revenue of $40,729.

The researchers found that this net revenue can be realized using POCUS for four common pediatric procedures for which the device is indicated: examination after trauma injury, known as Focused Assessment for Sonography in Trauma or “FAST” exam; evaluation of abscesses; use of ultrasound for guidance in draining abscesses; and use of ultrasound for guidance in performing a femoral nerve block as a local anesthetic prior to surgery.

The group based their analysis on the perspective of physician fees, not facility reimbursement fees. “Facility reimbursement rates are not always consistent,” Thai said. “This is another area of interest for our team, and we are already working on it in another multi-center study.”

“It's highly unusual for a medical student to be presenting a platform presentation,” Kim said. “Approximately 90 abstracts are submitted to the section of pediatric emergency medicine each year, and only 14 are accepted for platform presentation. It's a great honor for a faculty member or fellow to be accepted at the platform level. I can't remember seeing a medical student on the platform in the past 15 years, and I don't think a medical student has ever presented who is leading a multi-center collaboration.”

Thai – who also is a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force – is enrolled in the UofL School of Medicine’s Distinction Track in Business and Leadership. Directed by Kim and Brad Sutton, M.D., the Distinction Track in Business and Leadership prepares medical students with a vital set of economic and business skills along with their medical education, integrating business instruction with the medical curriculum throughout the four years of medical school.

“Health care is a complex and dynamic field with many stakeholders and much uncertainty. Now, more than ever, health systems and providers are realigning with a renewed focus on cost reduction and improved outcomes,” said Sutton, who is assistant professor of medicine and assistant dean for health strategy and innovation and holds an MBA degree from the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University. “What’s more, health providers are increasingly held accountable for outcomes and processes that are only partly in their control.”
“Historically, formal business training at the medical student level was lacking, leaving new medical school graduates ill-equipped to address the economic challenges of practicing medicine today,” said Kim, who also holds an MBA degree from UofL. “The UofL Distinction Track in Business and Leadership answers this need by providing a fundamental knowledge base that explores the intersection of business and medicine, and arms trainees with a vital skill set to succeed in our health economy.”

Working with Thai in the study from UofL in addition to Sutton and Kim are Dave McLario, M.D., Keith Cross, M.D., Fred Warkentine, M.D., and fellow medical student Nathan Wiedemann, all from the School of Medicine, and Benjamin Foster, Ph.D., professor of accounting from the College of Business.

Also part of the research team are David O. Kessler, M.D., Columbia University; Russ Horowitz, M.D., Northwestern University; Alyssa Abo, M.D., and Joanna Cohen, M.D., both of George Washington University; and Cheung Kim, M.D., of Jefferson Medical College.

UofL president honored for leadership in employee health management

Ramsey given Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award by Health Enhancement Research Organization
UofL president honored for leadership in employee health management

UofL President James Ramsey, center, accepts the Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey has won a national award for his dedication to improving health and corporate performance.

Ramsey received the award Sept. 30 at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) forum and meeting in San Diego. The HERO Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award was given to Ramsey because his “personal and professional dedication to health exemplifies what this award seeks to honor” according to Noyce, president and CEO of HERO.

The Executive Health Champion Award recognizes a person of senior leadership status who has made outstanding contributions toward the advancement of employee health management within their company. According to HERO, the award was developed to acknowledge the significant role leadership plays in establishing and maintaining a culture of health in the workplace.

Ramsey is credited with driving year-over-year success for the University’s employee wellness program, “Get Healthy Now,” which has more than 4,000 participants and has been used as a model for a statewide strategic wellness initiative called “Get Healthy Kentucky.”

“Our job as leaders is to do what is right for our employees,” Ramsey said in his acceptance speech. “This is fundamental to effective leadership. Regardless of what our financial statements say, our employees are our most valuable assets.”

Under Ramsey’s leadership, “Get Healthy Now” has helped the university reduce health care claims by $4.3 million, with program participants realizing an average claims savings of $1,300 per person (in 2012). Four years into the program, the University achieved a benefit-to-cost ratio, or return on investment, of 7.16:1.

Ramsey has also used his leadership and influence to drive improvements and growth across campus. For example, the university graduates nearly 1,000 more students each year (a 60 percent increase in its graduation rate), and has become one of America’s fastest-growing research universities, as measured by National Institutes of Health funding.

In addition to driving positive health and academic results for the University of Louisville, Ramsey’s leadership has helped UofL secure several awards and recognitions, including the Business First’s Healthiest Employer of Louisville Award, the American Heart Association Platinum Start! “Fit-Friendly employer,” and the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Worksite Wellness Award.

Ramsey was nominated for the award by Patricia Benson, director of UofL’s Get Healthy Now program. Benson credits Ramsey for the success and growth of UofL’s health and fitness initiatives for its employees—more than two thirds of the school’s employees are enrolled in the Get Healthy Now program.  “The campus community is very familiar with President Ramsey’s healthy, competitive spirit and the ripple effect it has on his closest advisors and every member of the Cardinal family,” wrote Benson is her nomination letter.


University of Louisville institute focuses on sustainable health and optimal aging

The societal phenomenon known as the Baby Boom has impacted every aspect of life since it first burst on the scene following World War II. As these people reach what had been called their senior years, their effect on aging and expectations of older citizens is no less dramatic.

Understanding these societal implications, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees recently created the UofL Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging.

“Through this institute, the University of Louisville will grow the knowledge base related to the aging process, not just biologically, but also in terms of function, environment, culture and socio-economic aspects,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “The need for multi-disciplinary approaches to examine issues that our aging population faces is significant because no issue stands on its own; all are inter-related from a health, social science, legal and policy perspective.”

As envisioned, the institute likely will include faculty, staff and students from nearly every school and college comprising the University of Louisville, including arts and sciences, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, public health and social work.

The growth in the population over 65 years of age is significant with more than 40 million people in the United States over the age of 65 at the time of the 2010 census. This is a 13.3 percent increase from 2000. However, that number is expected to reach nearly 72 million by 2030, an 80 percent increase over 2010. In Kentucky, the numbers are nearly as dramatic. The Commonwealth is predicted to see a 56 percent increase in people 65 and older by 2030, reaching just more than 900,000.

No less than seven national senior care companies are headquartered in Louisville. Additionally, UofL houses the Commonwealth’s only fellowship program in geriatrics and has a nationally recognized polypharmacy in the elderly education program.

“Louisville is becoming the epicenter of business activity related to the aging population and this offers significant opportunities for collaboration and partnering for the university to address education, research and advocacy programs for the elderly,” Dunn said.

Further, UofL officials have had collaborative discussions with researchers at other leading universities including Duke University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, among others.

PRIDE Blood Drive nets needed units plus call for changes in blood donation policy

PRIDE Blood Drive nets needed units plus call for changes in blood donation policy

The numbers tell the story: 25, 45, 56, 188.

Helping local blood banks rebuild their critical supplies while also drawing attention to the FDA’s lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM77), was the goal of the Health Sciences Center PRIDE Blood Drive.

During the event, the goal of 25 units was greatly surpassed with 45 units of blood provided by 56 donors, and 188 people signed a petition to abolish the FDA MSM77 blood donation deferral policy. The event was organized by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), Student Government Association, UofL LGBT Center and the American Red Cross.

SPHIS Dean Craig Blakely, Ph.D., offered remarks and was the first to sign the petition. “As a leading institution of public health, we want to continuously evaluate national public health policy to optimize the ability to provide exceptional health for all of our citizens with maximum participation in the process.

“The concern and initiative that the students of the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville have shown on the MSM 77 lifetime deferral policy is an excellent example of a diverse grass-roots effort to change government policy to improve health in the United States,” Blakely said.

“This lifetime deferral unfairly stigmatizes and discriminates against a large portion of the LGBT community, and keeps many healthy would-be donors from giving blood – creating a negative impact on the nation’s blood supply,” said Dustin Scott, event organizer and a student in the SPHIS master’s in public health program. “The FDA policy, established in 1983 after the onset of the AIDS epidemic, is outdated and needs to be abolished.”

Scott gave blood on a regular basis until his status as an MSM prevented him from continuing to do so.

“My parents were once in a car accident and donated blood saved their lives. This is why I am so passionate about blood donation, and I encourage friends, colleagues, family, and even strangers to donate blood in my place,” Scott said.

Scott plans to present research along with the signed petition to the FDA. He is working with medical student Mellad Khoshnood and Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Bioengineering George Pantalos, Ph.D., to provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the MSM blood donation ban.

The team has contacted the 20 countries that spend the most on health care per capita, and has asked for their stance on the MSM donor policy, prevalence of HIV, demographics of those affected, frequency of transfusion of HIV infections, blood screening processes and changes made to their MSM donor policy in the past 10 years.

“We are learning that countries such as the United Kingdom have modified bans, meaning that after an individual engages in risky sexual activity, they are deferred from donating blood for one year to allow for diseases that have prolonged dormant periods to present. We support that,” Scott said. “Our petition to the FDA asks them to rescind the lifetime deferral policy for a more reasonable policy that will permit healthy gay men to contribute to the needs of our society as blood donors.”

“At the LGBT Center, we love connecting students, faculty and the community around us to emerging health issues like this one, and bridging classroom topics with real-world issues. The HSC PRIDE student group expands our capacity to raise awareness and make novel connections to health issues spanning our various disciplines. I’m excited to see them fostering such interprofessional connections and engaging the community,” said Stacie Steinbock, director, LGBT Center Health Science Center satellite office.


Duo explores ‘Storytelling, Cancer and Compassion’

A novelist and a scientist will combine their expertise for “Storytelling, Cancer and Compassion: A Duet Talk and Conversation” at the University of Louisville Oct. 9.

The free, public event at 11 a.m. in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, will feature Cornell University couple Helena Viramontes, English professor and award-winning author, and Eloy Rodriguez, James Perkins endowed professor of environmental studies.

They will discuss how storytelling is universal among cultures and over time as well as being the conduit across generations for scientific and medicinal information. Viramontes refers to curative, medicinal plants helping characters in her short story “The Moths” and novel “Under the Feet of Jesus”; as a scientist, Rodriguez found that most of those references, common in Chicano culture, extend from Aztec plant knowledge and continue to be medically viable.

The event kicks off a discussion series that inaugurates the chemistry department’s Targeting Excellence: Hispanic-Latino Student Initiative to support opportunities for students. The chemistry and English departments are sponsoring campus visits by prominent Hispanic-Latino scientists and writers, supported by UofL’s Brown & Williamson endowment for distinguished speakers.

Viramontes won the 1995 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and numerous fellowships from groups including the National Endowment for the Arts. She is former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association and a founder of the Southern California Latino Writers and Filmmakers.

Rodriguez has been director of the National Chicano Council for Higher Education’s science fellowship program and founder of the organization Kids Investigating and Discovering Science. His research interests include plant biology, chemical ecology, medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology.

Also while at UofL, Rodriguez will speak at a chemistry seminar and Viramontes will lead a creative writing seminar.

For more information, contact GB Hammond at 502-852-5998 or

Bone marrow drive nets more than 1,100 registrants

Vote online through Sept. 29 to help group compete for $50,000 grant

More than 1,100 University of Louisville students, faculty, staff and friends turned out last week to register as bone marrow donors, and both participants and non-participants in the drive can continue to support the effort.

Sharing America’s Marrow (SAM) conducted the event earlier this month on both the Health Sciences Campus and the Belknap campus, and 1,153 donors were registered as potential bone marrow donors.

“This is by far the biggest number SAM has seen in a three-day event,” said Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D., senior associate dean, statewide initiatives and outreach, School of Medicine. “We are sure many patients fighting blood cancer will have a second chance at life thanks to this effort.”

The event was held to highlight the ever-present need for bone marrow donations for patients such as Owen McMasters, the 15-year-old son of Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UofL Department of Surgery. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) three years ago, Owen now needs a bone marrow transplant to fight the disease, requiring a donor with similar genetic composition.

“I know our success was very special and inspiring to the McMasters family while Owen continues his search for a match,” Dunn said.

She added that SAM has been named one of the Top 10 finalists to compete for a $50,000 grant from National Geographic. The magazine’s “Expedition+Granted” contest highlights deserving nonprofit efforts. The public is invited to vote for the effort they believe is the most deserving, with the winner receiving the grant.

“A grant such as this would give SAM the support to produce more drives like the one at UofL across the country, and save even more lives,” Dunn said.

One vote per person per day through Sept. 29 is allowed at

For more information on the bone marrow donation process, visit or contact

For information about Owen and his fight against ALL, “like” the Owen’s Wish page on Facebook at



Tse named director of bone marrow transplantation division at University of Louisville

Tse named director of bone marrow transplantation division at University of Louisville

Williams Tse, M.D.

William Tse, M.D., associate professor of medicine and eminent scholar in hematologic malignancies research at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, has been named the new director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. Tse will join UofL Nov. 1.

Tse will hold the Marion F. Beard Endowed Chair in Hematology Research and become a member of the cancer center’s Developmental Biology Program.

“Dr. Tse is emerging as one of the thought leaders in bone marrow transplantation,” said Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the JGBCC. “He has trained and worked at several of the leading blood cancer programs in the nation. We look forward to his leading our program at UofL.”

Tse has been at West Virginia since 2009, where he also is the co-leader the Osborn Hematologic Malignancies Program. Prior to joining West Virginia, Tse was on the faculty at the University of Colorado Denver, where he was the director of translational research program for bone marrow transplantation and hematologic malignancies. He also previously was with Case Western Reserve University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington Medical Center.

Tse is active in national organizations, serving in several capacities with the American Society of Hematology, including section chair for the annual meeting’s Oncogene Section and bone marrow transplantation outcome section, as well as the American Society of Clinical Oncology as an annual meeting abstract reviewer and the section chair on geriatric oncology. Tse also serves leadership roles on several editorial boards including as the senior editor of the American Journal of Blood Research, stem cell biomarkers section editor for Biomarker Research, senior editor of the American Journal of Stem Cells and the academic editor of PLoS One.

A graduate of the Sun Yat-Sen University School of Medicine in Guangzhou, Guangdong, in China, he did a thoracic surgical oncology residency at Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou before completing postdoctoral research fellowships in medical biophysics, immunology and cancer at the Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute and the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada. He completed clinical pathology and internal medicine residencies at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital before undertaking a senior medical fellowship in clinical research and medical oncology divisions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington Medical Center.

UofL ribbon-cutting ceremony official opens renovated medical school instructional building

Ushering in a new era in medical education, officials with the University of Louisville School of Medicine formally celebrated the completion of a $9 million renovation of the school’s 40-year-old instructional building.

“How we educate our future physicians today barely resembles the methods we used four decades ago,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D, UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “Instruction now is much more interactive, peer-to-peer and technologically driven. While we have made ad hoc changes through the years, today we celebrate an intensive transformation of a facility that affords each of our students the opportunity to be successful in earning the privilege of providing health care to the people of Kentucky and beyond.”

“The improvements in how we educate our students demanded a significant change in our instructional spaces,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “While needing new state-of-the-art lecture halls that support active learning, we also needed smaller study spaces the that allow for small-group learning and interaction.”

In addition to creating teaching environments to support the changing instructional techniques of the program that is focused on student-led dialogue, the renovated facility makes uses of an integrated audio-visual infrastructure that allows for the seamless sharing of information from instructor to student and also from student to instructor. The smaller group study rooms have been configured to support the School of Medicine’s six internal mentoring colleges to foster the support of a community for the students as they move through their years within the school’s programs.

The technology enhancements are among the key and fundamental changes undertaken. The first-floor lecture hall houses 30 tables, seating six students each who have the ability to collaborate using their tablets or laptops to share content locally on a table-mounted monitor. The technology provides the ability to switch to any of the six student’s devices at the touch of a button on the display cable, while reviewing information sent at the selection of the facilitator on a second table mounted monitor.

All the tables have a push-to-talk microphone to facilitate student group reporting to the entire class or for asking questions. Each table has a seventh space for the faculty facilitator to “drop in” and participate in the discussion. Faculty can route student laptop or tablet presentations from their table to all of the other tables, and/or on the six high-resolution, ultra bright, large projected displays that circle the room.

Technology enhancements also have created the ability to route audio, video and presentations to 12 small group break-out rooms per floor, where students have control of a large flat-panel monitor for collaboration, and the faculty facilitator controls a second display. For offline study, students can use both displays for local presentation from their devices.

“My colleagues have shown great excitement and enthusiasm in these new spaces,” said Travis Spaulding, president of the class of 2017. “The technological capabilities of the both the classrooms and study areas allow us to collaborate and share ideas like never before. Our administration has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to providing students with the resources necessary to succeed in an era of medical education that is constantly evolving. The University of Louisville School of Medicine is certainly ahead of the curve.”

Messer Construction served as the general contractor and EOP Architects, the architects for the project.

James Graham Brown Cancer Center becomes first site in Kentucky providing Keytruda, newly FDA-approved for advanced melanoma

James Graham Brown Cancer Center becomes first site in Kentucky providing Keytruda, newly FDA-approved for advanced melanoma

Jason A. Chesney, M.D., Ph.D.

A newly FDA-approved treatment for patients with advanced or inoperable melanoma who are no longer responding to other drugs is now available to patients at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. As a site for Keytruda’s research clinical trial, the cancer center is the first in Kentucky to offer the drug now that it is approved.

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was given accelerated approval by the FDA Sept. 4 and is the first approved drug in the United States that blocks a cellular pathway known as PD-1, which restricts the body’s immune system from attacking melanoma cells. It is approved for use following other treatments if those treatments fail.

Melanoma accounts for approximately 5 percent of all new cancers in the United States and occurs when cancer cells form in skin cells that make the pigment responsible for color in the skin. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 76,100 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and 9,710 will die from the disease this year.

Keytruda represents a new breed of cancer treatment, Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the Brown Cancer Center, said. “Keytruda is designed to galvanize an immune system attack on tumors by blocking the PD-1 pathway,” he said. “Left unchecked, this pathway allows cancerous cells to pass undetected.

“The drug shows greatest promise as a combination therapy, and this approval, handed down almost two months ahead of schedule, clears the drug for use on patients with advanced skin cancers who have already taken Yervoy (ipilimumab).”

“Adding to the body of research on new, advanced treatments exemplifies the James Graham Brown Cancer Center’s leadership on a regional, and even national, level,” said Mark Milburn, vice president, oncology services, KentuckyOne Health.  “The expertise from University of Louisville partnered with the statewide reach of KentuckyOne Health helps citizens all over the Commonwealth and beyond with increased access and new hope to fight cancer.”

The FDA granted Keytruda breakthrough therapy designation because preliminary clinical evidence showed that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. It also received priority review and orphan product designation. Priority review is granted to drugs that have the potential to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment of a serious condition. Orphan product designation is given to drugs intended to treat rare diseases.

The FDA action was taken under the agency’s accelerated approval program, which allows approval of a drug to treat a serious or life-threatening disease based on clinical data showing the drug has an effect on a surrogate endpoint reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit to patients. This program provides earlier patient access to promising new drugs while the company conducts confirmatory clinical trials. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms has not yet been established.

Keytruda is manufactured by Merck and Yervoy is from Bristol-Myers Squibb. For information on Keytruda and its use, contact the James Graham Brown Cancer Center toll free at 1-800-333-2230 or at 502-587-4011.


About the University of Louisville

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center is the city’s only academic health center with approximately 1,000 faculty members involved in education, research and clinical care.  The UofL HSC is home to more than 650 medical and dental residents, 3,000 students pursuing degrees in health-related fields within the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 16 interdisciplinary centers and institutes.  Approximately $140 million in extramural funding enables researchers to uncover the causes of disease and better ways to prevent, treat and cure illness and injury. That research is translated into the clinical setting, where evidence-based medical care for patients is provided by UofL faculty through University of Louisville Physicians, our partnership with KentuckyOne Health, and in affiliations with other health systems and clinics throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.

About KentuckyOne Health

KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center.  The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.