Amid the merriment, a moment devoted to medicine

James Graham Brown Cancer Center's Scientist, Physician of the Year to be recognized at The Julep Ball, May 3
Amid the merriment, a moment devoted to medicine

At The Julep Ball each year, a moment comes when the fun and excitement of the party retreat to the wings, allowing the reason the event exists to take center stage. This year, that moment will again come as the James Graham Brown Cancer Center’s Scientist and Physician of the Year are introduced.

Today, the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, a proud partner of KentuckyOne Health, announced that Jonathan "Brad" Chaires is Scientist of the Year and Jeffrey "Jeff" Bumpous is Physician of the Year. The two will be honored at the ball on Friday, May 3, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Known as the "Derby Eve Party with a Purpose," The Julep Ball supports the work of the Brown Cancer Center and its researchers and physicians such as Chaires and Bumpous.

"One of the main goals of the Brown Cancer Center is to have on our faculty excellent physicians like Jeff Bumpous and scientists like Brad Chaires," said Donald Miller, M.D., director of the cancer center. "This allows us to provide the most advanced cancer treatment available anywhere in the world. Jeff and Brad are prime representatives of all the scientists and physicians at the Brown Cancer Center who work every day to make life better for cancer patients in our region."

Both Chaires and Bumpous are "Bucks for Brains" faculty at UofL: Chaires is the James Graham Brown Endowed Chair of Biophysics and professor in the Department of Medicine; and Bumpous is the J. Samuel Bumgardner Professor of Otolaryngologic Surgery and chief of the Division of Otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery. Kentucky’s Research Challenge Trust Fund – created in 1997 and commonly known as Bucks for Brains – matches state funds with private donations providing strategic investment in university scholarship and research.

"Kentucky is a beautiful state, a wonderful state, but we still have a major problem with cancer in Kentucky," Miller said. "Supporters of The Julep Ball help us advance the war on cancer and better meet the needs of our patients and their families. We cannot thank our volunteers and supporters enough for what they help make possible."

At The Julep Ball, local and national business leaders, horse industry professionals and celebrities from sports, music, cinema and television again will be on hand. Entertainment will be provided by the World’s Greatest Party Band, the B-52s, and a celebrity emcee for the evening will be CBS Sports Radio broadcaster and former NFL great Tiki Barber. The celebrity red carpet entrance will return, as will dancing until the wee hours of Saturday morning following the B-52s concert. Special moments of The Julep Ball again will come when the scientists, physicians and patients at the forefront of cancer treatment and delivery are honored and saluted for their efforts.

Three-quarters of the available tickets for the full evening’s entertainment are now sold out, but plenty of dance-only tickets are still available. The full evening’s entertainment is $500 per person while dance-only tickets are $150 per person. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Brown-Forman, Republic National Distribution Company of Kentucky, Power Creative, Kroger, LG&E, Ingrid Design, Raymond E. and Eleanor H. Loyd, Hilliard Lyons, KentuckyOne Health, Tafel Motors, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Advanced Electrical Systems, Montgomery Chevrolet, AT&T Kentucky, BKD, Republic Bank, Stites & Harbison, Heuser Clinic and Publishers Printing. Media partners are Louisville Magazine, NFocus, the Voice-Tribune, WHAS11 and 102.3 The Max.

About Brad Chaires, Ph.D., Scientist of the Year

Chaires came to UofL in 2004. In his work, he collaborates closely with other Brown Cancer Center faculty members, and it is this type of collaboration that drew him to Louisville from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. "What the Brown Cancer Center and Don Miller have done in creating a strong structural biology program gave me an instant team for collaborative efforts. This collaborative approach is unique among cancer centers throughout the country," he said.

Chaires’ current research focuses on drug discovery at the basic research level, examining new compounds that interact with nucleic acid structures. "We believe there are specific nucleic acid structures that we can target to shut off the production of proteins early in the development of cancer," he said.

Earlier in his tenure at UofL, Chaires and his research team pioneered the use of calorimetry for characterizing the human plasma proteome as a new tool for the rapid diagnosis of disease. Calorimetry is the technique used to measure the heat produced by chemical reactions or physical changes that occur in organisms. Chaires and his team used differential scanning calorimetry, which enables the collection of data from a very small amount of material, to create a visual map of how blood proteins behave when heated, providing clues to specific diseases.

"It turns out that these maps look pretty much the same for people who are healthy," Chaires said. "However, they look different for people with various diseases. In fact, our research showed that diseases leave a distinctive ‘fingerprint’ on the test result," making a simple blood test a possible new way to spot disease more quickly.

Chaires earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Connecticut and was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. He was on the faculty of the University of Mississippi from 1982 to 2004; during that time, he spent a year on sabbatical as a Visiting Professor at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Chaires is co-holder of three U.S. patents for technology developed from his research, and even as federal funding for research has diminished over the past decade, he has won competitive grant funding continuously since 1984 from the National Cancer Institute, other National Institutes of Health agencies, the National Science Foundation and a variety of other agencies and foundations. He has published prolifically in scientific and medical journals as the lead or co-author of more than 150 articles.

About Jeff Bumpous, M.D., Physician of the Year

Bumpous has been at UofL since 1994 and leads a multidisciplinary team of health care providers in treating cancers of the head and neck. These include cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), nasal cavity, sinuses, salivary glands and thyroid gland.

Kentucky has one of the highest rates of head and neck cancer in the United States, making the work of surgeons such as Bumpous crucial. "In Kentucky, we see a high rate of patients with oropharyngeal cancers, and at the Brown Cancer Center, our patients number in the hundreds each year," he said. The oropharynx is the middle section of the pharynx.

As might be expected, the high rate of oropharyngeal cancers is attributed to Kentucky’s higher-than-average rate of smoking, Bumpous said, but, "we also have seen over the past decade an increase in oropharyngeal ragged cancer that is HPV-related." HPV is the human papillomavirus; in January, the American Cancer Society reported that it has passed tobacco as the most common cause of oral cancer in the United States.

To treat cancer, Bumpous said, an inclusive approach is paramount. "I am a big believer in the multidisciplinary approach, and am proud that our clinic was one of the first multidisciplinary clinics at the Brown Cancer Center," he said. Multidisciplinary care involves a complete treatment team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and other medical professionals along with support staff such as social workers, palliative care providers and other caregivers.

"We put the patient first and the cancer second," Bumpous said. "The entire team develops the plan with the patient, and my fundamental role is to serve the patient through the best evidence-based medicine we can provide."

Bumpous earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and his medical degree from UofL. He completed his internship and residency in general surgery, otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Saint Louis University and a post-graduate fellowship in advanced head and neck and cranial base surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He is board-certified in otolaryngology and is lead or co-author of more than 60 journal articles and scientific book chapters.

University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement

UofL Bucks for Brains researcher delivers for the Commonwealth
University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement

Suzanne Ildstad, M.D., is shown with research coordinator Thomas Miller in her Institute for Cellular Therapeutics lab.

The University of Louisville today announced that researcher Dr. Suzanne Ildstad, representing Regenerex LLC, has entered into a license and research collaboration agreement with Novartis to provide access to stem cell technology that has the potential to help transplant patients avoid taking anti-rejection medicine for life and could serve as a platform for treatment of other diseases.

The University of Louisville and Regenerex LLC announced the research collaboration agreement which will significantly enhance the university’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics’ ability to carry out cutting edge research related to the Facilitating Cell, a novel cell discovered by Ildstad, a professor of surgery and director of the institute at UofL as well as CEO of Regenerex. Underpinning this collaboration is an exclusive global licensing and research collaboration agreement between Regenerex and Novartis.

Ildstad published results in a March 2012 Science Translational Medicine demonstrating the efficacy of this process, known as Facilitating Cell Therapy, or FCRx which is currently undergoing Phase II trials. Five of eight kidney transplant patients were able to stop taking about a dozen pills a day to suppress their immune systems. It was the first study of its kind where the donor and recipient did not have to be biologically related and did not have to be immunologically matched.

In a standard kidney transplant, the donor agrees to donate a kidney. In the approach being studied, the individual is asked to donate part of their immune system as well. The process begins about one month before the kidney transplant, when bone marrow stem cells are collected from the blood of the kidney donor using a process called apheresis. The donor cells are then processed, where they are enriched for developing “facilitating cells” believed to help transplants succeed. During the same time period, the recipient undergoes pre-transplant “conditioning,” which includes radiation and chemotherapy to suppress the bone marrow so the donor’s stem cells have more space to grow in the recipient’s body.

One day after the kidney is transplanted into the recipient, the donor stem cells engraft in the marrow of the recipient and give rise to other specialized blood cells, like immune cells. The goal is to create an environment where two bone marrow systems co-exist and function in one person. Following transplantation, the recipient takes anti-rejection drugs which are decreased over time with the goal to stop a year after the transplant.

In 1998, Ildstad was one of the first recruits to the University of Louisville under the Commonwealth’s Bucks for Brains initiative, advanced by former Gov. Paul Patton. As the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Transplantation Research, Ildstad brought a team of 25 families from Philadelphia to join the University of Louisville. In the following years the team has continued to examine the facilitating cell (FCRx) platform technology for the treatment of kidney transplant recipients as well as considering its potential for the treatment of red blood cell disorders, inherited metabolic storage disorders of childhood, and autoimmune disorders.

“Being a transplant recipient is not easy. In order to prevent rejection, current transplant recipients must take multiple pills a day for the rest of their lives. These immunosuppressive medications come with serious side effects with prolonged use including high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, heart disease and cancer, as well as direct damaging effects to the organ transplant,” Ildstad said. “This new approach would potentially offer a better quality of life and fewer health risks for transplant recipients.”

“In 1997, the University of Louisville was given a mandate to become a premier metropolitan research university that transforms the lives of the people of Kentucky and beyond,” said Dr. James Ramsey, president of UofL. “Dr. Ildstad was among the first faculty members hired utilizing seed funds from the state to help us attract highly talented researchers through the Bucks for Brains program. Regenerex demonstrates the potential for that vision to be realized bringing new jobs to the city, adding to the revenue from the Tax Increment Financing district and providing funding to UofL in support of our academic mission.”

The collaboration provides for investments in research, as well as milestones and royalty payments from Regenerex to the University of Louisville in connection with commercialization of the FCRx technology. The therapeutic potential for the technology is wide ranging. The collaboration also involves a sponsored research agreement to support a multi-year collaboration between Regenerex, UofL and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research to pioneer new applications of the technology.

“The ‘holy grail’ of transplantation is immune tolerance, that is making the body recognize a transplanted organ as ‘self’ and not reject it as foreign tissue, but without the need for immunosuppressive drugs with their numerous serious side effects,” said Dr. David L. Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “Dr. Ildstad and her team may well have solved this puzzle.”

Ramsey noted that in addition to the supreme efforts of the research team, it would not have been possible for the work to move forward without the support of the state, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, Jewish Hospital Foundation, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and the National Stem Cell Foundation.

“It is immensely rewarding for our donors to know they helped move potentially life-changing therapies closer to being available for people in need worldwide,” said Paula Grisanti, chair of the National Stem Cell Foundation.

Dead Man Walking

‘Lack of insurance can be lethal,’ write UofL faculty in 'New England Journal of Medicine'
Dead Man Walking

<p align="left">Physicians have a fundamental responsibility to treat people in need, to educate their patients about health care reforms and to work with their professional organizations to demand health care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.</p>
<p align="left">That is the thrust two University of Louisville physicians, Michael Stillman, M.D., and Monalisa Tailor, M.D., put forth in a “Perspective” for the <i>New England Journal of Medicine.</i> Their article, “<a href="">Dead Man Walking</a>,” will be published in an upcoming print issue of the publication and was posted online Oct. 23.</p>
<p align="left">The two <a href="">Department of Medicine</a> faculty tell the story of a man they call “Tommy Davis” who was chronically uninsured despite being employed full-time. Davis spent a year experiencing severe abdominal pain and constipation. Only when the pain was at its most severe did he come to the emergency room for relief.</p>
<p align="left">The diagnosis? Metastatic colon cancer. Davis will die too soon because he was uninsured.</p>
<p align="left">“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.”</p>
<p align="left">Stillman and Tailor say this patient’s circumstances are not unique. “For many of our patients, poverty alone limits access to care,” they write. “… a fair number of our patients – the medical ‘have-nots’ – are denied basic services simply because they lack insurance, and our country’s response to this problem has, at times, seemed toothless.”</p>
<p align="left">While the physicians cite elected officials for bearing the brunt of the blame for the “appalling vulnerability of the 22 percent of American adults who currently lack insurance,” they also point to each physician’s responsibility for improving conditions for the un- and under-insured.</p>
<p align="left">“In discussing and grieving over what has happened to Mr. Davis and our many clinic patients (like him) we have considered our own obligations. First, we can honor our fundamental professional duty to help. … the Hippocratic Oath compels us to treat the sick according to our ability and judgment … .</p>
<p align="left">“Second, we can familiarize ourselves with legislative details and educate our patients” so they can receive the fullest possible benefits due them.</p>
<p align="left">“Finally, we can pressure our professional organizations to demand health care for all. … Lack of insurance can be lethal, and we believe our professional community should treat inaccessible coverage as a public health catastrophe and stand behind people who are at risk.</p>
<p align="left">“We find it terribly and tragically inhumane that Mr. Davis and tens of thousands of other citizens of this wealthy country will die this year for lack of insurance.”</p>

‘Spike It to Cancer’ sand volleyball event benefits cancer center at UofL, Oct. 19

‘Spike It to Cancer’ sand volleyball event benefits cancer center at UofL, Oct. 19

<p align="left">Benefactors of a fund to support patients at the <a href="">James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville</a> are sponsoring a sand volleyball event to raise money for the fund.</p>
<p align="left">Earlier this year, Alex and Tommy Gift established the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund at the cancer center in honor of their late mother to help patients enjoy life while facing a cancer diagnosis. To benefit the fund, the Gifts are sponsoring “Spike It to Cancer,” a sand volleyball event at Baxter Jack’s sand volleyball complex, 427 Baxter Ave, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.</p>
<p align="left">Admission is $20 per person and includes appetizers, snacks and soft drinks. Payment by cash, check or credit card will be accepted at the door.</p>
<p>“All proceeds from this event go to the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund that pays for extras provided to patients and caregivers, such as theater tickets or a night out on the town,” Michael Neumann, executive director of development, said. “We invite everyone to get a team together, sponsor a team or come watch the fun while they support a worthy cause.”</p>
<p>For additional details, contact Neumann at 502-562-4642.</p>

Breast cancer survivors invited to get their groove on

‘Breast Cancer Survivors Greatest Hits 2013’ celebrates survival with a 1970s theme
Breast cancer survivors invited to get their groove on

<p align="left">The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville, Buckhead Mountain Grill and Rocky’s Italian Grill invite area breast cancer survivors to get their groove on on Tuesday, Oct. 8.</p>
<p align="left"><a href="">“Breast Cancer Survivors Greatest Hits 2013”</a> will be Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at Buckhead Mountain Grill, 707 W. Riverside Dr., Jeffersonville, Ind. This annual event held exclusively for breast cancer survivors kicks off the weeklong celebration leading up to the Komen Louisville Race for the Cure<sup>©</sup>.</p>
<p align="left">WHAS11 anchor and “Great Day Live” host <a href="">Rachel Platt</a> will emcee this celebration of breast cancer survival with a 1970s theme. Participants are invited to wear clothing, hair styles and accessories of the 1970s, and contests for Best Platform Shoes, Grooviest Outfit, Best ’70s Hair and Widest Bell Bottoms will be held. The Kentucky Cancer Program also will honor area programs receiving grants for cancer awareness, treatment, support and research.</p>
<p align="left">For more information, contact Pam Temple-Jennings, cancer control specialist with the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL, at 502-852-6318.</p>

Match Day 2013 sets future physicians on their professional journey

Event that matches medical students to residencies scheduled for March 15

Fourth-year medical students at the University of Louisville will find out the next step in their professional journey March 15 as they participate in Match Day 2013, the national event that matches graduating medical students to residency programs at academic medical centers, hospitals and other health care providers throughout the United States.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) provides a uniform, impartial process for matching medical school applicants’ preferences for residency positions with residency programs’ preferences for applicants.Following interviews with their choices of residency programs, fourth-year medical students submit those preferences to the NRMP. The residency programs do likewise, submitting their preferences for applicants to the NRMP. A matching algorithm then uses those preferences to place individuals into positions, and all matches throughout the United States are announced at the same time on the same day.

Match Day is a joyous and exciting event for medical students, as each receives an envelope, opens it and finds out where his or her professional journey as a medical doctor will take place after graduation.

Approximately 150 fourth-year students at UofL’s School of Medicine will take part in the program. Match Day 2013 organizers at UofL are students Tama S. The and Andrea "Annie" Nagengast, who will be among the group finding out where they will go for residency training at Match Day 2013.

The event takes place at the Greater Louisville Medical Society Building (also known as the Old Medical School Building), 101 W. Chestnut St.

The complete schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m.: Doors open; students arrive
  • 11:20 a.m.: Announcements
  • 11:45 a.m.: Envelopes distributed
  • Noon: Open envelopes
  • 12:20 p.m.: Door prize drawings
  • 12:45 p.m.: The event ends

To see how Match Day works, check out coverage of the 2012 event at