‘Genetic doppelgangers:’ Emory research provides insight into two neurological puzzles

An international team led by Emory scientists has gained insight into the pathological mechanisms behind two devastating neurodegenerative diseases. The scientists compared the most common inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) with a rarer disease called spinocerebellar ataxia type 36 (SCA 36). Both of the diseases are caused by abnormally expanded and strikingly similar DNA repeats. However, ALS progresses quickly, typically killing patients within a year or two, while the disease Read more

Emory launches study on COVID-19 immune responses

Emory University researchers are taking part in a multi-site study across the United States to track the immune responses of people hospitalized with COVID-19 that will help inform how the disease progresses and potentially identify new ways to treat it.  The study is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study – called Immunophenotyping Assessment in a COVID-19 Cohort (IMPACC) – launched Friday. Read more

Marcus Lab researchers make key cancer discovery

A new discovery by Emory researchers in certain lung cancer patients could help improve patient outcomes before the cancer metastasizes. The researchers in the renowned Marcus Laboratory identified that highly invasive leader cells have a specific cluster of mutations that are also found in non-small cell lung cancer patients. Leader cells play a dominant role in tumor progression, and the researchers discovered that patients with the mutations experienced poorer survival rates. The findings mark the first Read more

clinical research

Community groups play key role in increasing HIV research participation

Paula Frew, PhD, MPH

Although African Americans make up a significant share of HIV cases in the U.S., they are underrepresented in HIV clinical trials. New research shows that promotion of HIV clinical trials and participation by African Americans can be increased by coalitions that link community organizations to clinical-research institutions.

“Community organizations already have built trusting relationships in their communities,” says Paula Frew, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory School of Medicine. “If HIV/AIDS prevention and HIV clinical research become part of the agendas of these organizations, they can become ideal allies for increasing participation by community members who are at risk for disease.”

Frew was lead investigator in a study published recently in the Journal Prevention Science. She is director of health communications & applied research at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center and an investigator in the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

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Research match eases clinical trials participation

Research Match LogoIf you’d like to consider joining a clinical trial, a new secure website will make it easier. ResearchMatch.org will match any interested person living in the U.S. with researchers who are approved to recruit potential study volunteers.

Emory is one of 51 institutions participating in this first national, secure, volunteer recruitment registry. After registering at the website, potential volunteers can check out available trials. If a person indicates interest in a study, they are notified electronically about a possible match. Then they can decide whether to provide their contact information to a researcher.

The new website is sponsored by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ResearchMatch is the product of the NCRR’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium. The CTSA is a national network of 46 medical research institutions working together to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country.

Emory leads the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), a CTSA partnership including Morehouse School of Medicine, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

ResearchMatch.org is a wonderful opportunity for those interested in participating in clinical research, says Arlene Chapman, MD, Emory professor of medicine and director of the ACTSI Clinical Interaction Network Program. It’s available to young and old, healthy or ill. And people with a rare disease can find out more about available research studies throughout the country.

The registry strictly protects anonymity. It also increases the chance to participate in local studies and saves much of the time typically spent finding out about eligibility for a particular study.

ResearchMatch is available at: www.researchmatch.org/route=emory

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Gaining better medicine in translation

 

David Stephens, MD

David Stephens, MD

Translational research has traditionally been thought of as the process of moving a discovery in one direction – from the laboratory to the patient. More recently, though, researchers have recognized the importance of community engagement in the biomedical discovery process. That’s because involving the community makes for better medical care for patients.

The Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) is a partnership of educational, research, and health care institutions that involves the community in clinical research that translates laboratory discoveries into advanced treatments for patients. The ACTSI is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health.

The ACTSI’s goal of supporting more effective clinical and translational research has led to a broader definition of translation: discovering what new healthcare tools, diagnostic tests and therapies a community needs and then taking that information back to the laboratory or conducting clinical research to find ways to meet those needs.

David Stephens, MD, is principal investigator of the ACTSI. Stephens says community engagement brings together leaders who discuss the health care needs of their respective communities. Researchers can then periodically meet with leaders, and let them know what progress is being made in the laboratory.

The ACTSI also brings together laboratory scientists with clinical investigators, community clinicians, professional societies and industry collaborators in a wide variety of research projects.

The ACTSI is led by Emory University, along with Morehouse School of Medicine, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Kaiser Permanente Georgia. Other partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grady Health System, the Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Bio, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the American Cancer Society.

To hear Stephens’ own words about translational research and the ACTSI, listen to Emory University’s Sound Science podcast.

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