June 22, 2015

Aging Research, Discoveries Showcased

June 22, 2015 | Aging was the focus of the latest wine-and-cheese reception hosted by the UAMS College of Medicine, Showcase of Medical Discoveries: A Focus on Aging, a series created to foster communication and collaboration among UAMS researchers.

Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, encourages attendees to pursue research collaborations

Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, encourages attendees to pursue research collaborations.

The event drew dozens of UAMS researchers, physicians, staff, students and community members.

“I’m grateful for all the presenters who shared with us their wonderful ideas and findings,” said Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. “We were excited to initiate new conversations and ideas, and form new collaborative efforts. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to help one another and share our perspectives.”

A research team led by Robert R. Wolfe, Ph.D., a professor in the institute, has worked to find a way to combat the loss of muscle mass in cancer patients, known as cancer cachexia. The team’s work found increasing doses of amino acids elevated patients’ whole body net protein balance.

Arny Ferrando, Ph.D., a professor in the Reynolds Institute, and Andrew Hinson, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Reynolds Institute, presented their team’s findings on using dogs to detect thyroid cancer in undiagnosed patients. This follows a previous study that found the canines could reliably discriminate between urine samples of benign thyroid disease and previously diagnosed thyroid cancer patients.

Dozens of UAMS researchers, physicians, staff, students and community members view research projects focused on aging

Dozens of UAMS researchers, physicians, staff, students and community members view research projects focused on aging

Of the 34 tests included in the final analysis, the canines’ alert matched the final surgical pathology diagnosis in 30 out of 34 cases, resulting in an 88-percent accuracy rate. The results included two false negatives and two false positives.

“Based on this preliminary data, scent detection by trained canines can serve as a non-invasive, inexpensive and highly specific adjunct to current diagnostic practices,” Hinson said.

In all, there were 12 research projects represented, and scientists from each project attended to share the details with curious attendees and fellow researchers.

“This type of multi-disciplinary interchange will help us move forward faster, while gaining more support and discoveries to help our patients,” Wei said. “We hope to see more translation from these research projects to the community at large in the not-too-distant future.”

The Showcase of Medical Discoveries began from discussions among College of Medicine faculty about increasing opportunities for social interaction regarding scientific studies and research. The next showcase, scheduled Sept. 16, will pertain to infectious disease and the microbiome.

Posters at the showcase used text and graphics to portray the conclusions of months of work. The projects represented were:

  • Suppression of Complement Factor H Increases Deposition of Membrane Attack Complex and Vessel Growth in Mouse Model of CNV
    Valeriy Lyzogubov, M.D., Ph.D., instructor in the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, and Helen Benes, Ph.D., research professor in the UAMS College of Medicine's Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences Department, review a research project on age-related macular degeneration.

    Valeriy Lyzogubov, M.D., Ph.D., instructor in the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, and Helen Benes, Ph.D., research professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences Department, review a research project on age-related macular degeneration.

Researchers: Nalini S. Bora, Ph.D.; Valeriy V. Lyzogubov, M.D., Ph.D.; and Puran S. Bora, Ph.D.

  • UAMS Center of Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases

Researchers: S.C. Manolagas, M.D.; R.L. Jilka, Ph.D.; R.S. Weinstein, M.D.; C.A. O’Brien, Ph.D.; M. Almeida, Ph.D.; H. Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.; and P.K. Roberson, Ph.D.

  • Optimal Infusion Rate of Amino Acids for Improving Whole Body Net Protein Balance in Cancer Patients

Researchers: Il-Young Kim; Scott E. Schutzler; Donald L. Bodenner, M.D.; Robert H. Coker, Ph.D.; Arny A. Ferrando, Ph.D.; and Robert R. Wolfe, Ph.D.

  • Transcriptional Analysis of Doxorubicin-induced Cardiotoxicity in Elderly Breast Cancer Patients

Researchers: V. Todorova, Ph.D.; E.R. Siegel; I. Makhoul, M.D.; J.Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D.; and V.S. Klimberg, M.D.

  • Therapeutic Potential of ARE-inducers in Immune Dysregulation during Aging

Researchers: Subramaniam Ponnappan, Ph.D.; Xuming Zhang, Ph.D.; and Usha Ponnappan, Ph.D.

  • Pilot Testing an Innovative Teaching Tool to Improve Dressing Assistance in Nursing Homes

Researchers: Pao-Feng Tsai, Ph.D.; Cornelia Beck, Ph.D.; Thomas Jakobs; Mallikarjuna Rettiganti, Ph.D.; Kerry Jordan; Erik Jakobs; and Stephanie Kitch

  • Nutrition and Lipid Metabolism in Aging

Researchers: Elisabet Borsheim, Ph.D.; Eugenia Carvalho; Nicholas M. Hurren, Ph.D.; and Leybi L. Ramirez, M.D.

  • When Good Chaperones Turn Bad: Proteasome Blockage by Aggregated Proteins Affecting Multiple Neurodegenerative Disease Models

Researchers: Srinivas Ayyadevara, Ph.D.; Sundaram Balasubramaniam; Yuan Gao, Ph.D.; Li-Rong Yu; Boris Zybaylov; Ramani Alla; and Robert Shmookler Reis, Ph.D.

  • Interleukin-1 Promotes Proteostatic Dysfunction and Aggregation in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Researchers: W. Sue T. Griffin, Ph.D.; Paul Parcon; Ahmad Aldwaikat; JoAnn Biedermann; Steve Barger, Ph.D.; and Robert E. Mrak

  • Scent-Trained Canine Prospectively Detects Thyroid Cancer in Human Urine Samples

Researchers: Arny A. Ferrando, Ph.D.; Andrew M. Hinson, M.D.; and Donald L. Bodenner, M.D.

  • Comprehensive Research Informatics Suite (CRIS) for Aging Research

Researchers: Christine Rodgers; Umit Topaloglu, Ph.D.; Paula Roberson, Ph.D.; Gohar Azhar, M.D.; Arny A. Ferrando, Ph.D.; Robert Wolfe, Ph.D.; and Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D.

  • P49/STRAP Regulates the Expression of MicroRNA and MicroRNA Clusters

Researchers: Xiaomin Zhang, Gohar Azhar, Steven C. Rogers, Stephen R. Foster, Emmanuel Williams and Jeanne Y. Wei