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March 4, 2011
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UW Medicine Salute Harborview Gala raises $1.4 million for Mission of Caring Fund
Harborview Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in our country and serves as the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma and burn center for the WWAMI region. The UW Medicine faculty and staff at Harborview continue to serve our community by providing both record amounts of charity care — the most each year in the state among all hospitals — and care for patients with private insurance who choose to come to us for world-class care.
In each of the past 19 years, the community has taken an evening to recognize the powerful impact of our work at Harborview and raise funds to support the Mission of Caring. The 19th Annual UW Medicine Salute Harborview Gala, held on Saturday, Feb. 26, was a stirring testament to Harborview’s vital role in improving health and saving lives locally, regionally and nationally. I would like to thank Vicki and Albert Rossellini, Jr., this year’s community chairs, for their superb work in organizing and hosting a wonderful evening. The gala created lasting memories for the 725 supporters in attendance and raised $1.4 million. These proceeds will support Harborview's Mission of Caring Fund.
A highlight of the gala was the presentation of the Mission of Caring Award. This year, the award honored the seven living Washington state governors. A video featured the seven governors and their perceptions about what Harborview means to communities in Washington and the greater Northwest. The living governors honored were: Gov. Albert D. Rossellini (1957-1965), Gov. Daniel J. Evans (1965-1977), Gov. John D. Spellman (1981-1985), Gov. Booth Gardner (1985-1993), Gov. Michael E. Lowry (1993-1997), Gov. Gary Locke (1997-2005), and current Gov. Christine Gregoire (2005-present). William H. Gates, Sr., UW regent and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented the award to the three governors who were able to attend the gala – Govs. Rossellini, Spellman and Lowry. Gov. Spellman accepted the award on behalf of the governors.
It was also a great pleasure to have a number of other special guests on hand to honor the governors and the work at Harborview, including United States Senator Maria Cantwell and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Guests listened to the featured patient, Christian Kapena Ho, who in July 2010, at the age of 17, dove off a cliff at a summer swimming hole near Boise, Idaho, landed on his chest with an impact that ruptured his aorta, and lived to tell the story. Christian received his life-saving care from our UW physicians and staff at Harborview. Both Christian and his mother, Danielle, expressed heartfelt thanks for the care they received and emphasized how fortunate we are to have Harborview in our community.
I would like to thank the Rossellini’s; the Gala’s presenting sponsors, the Western Washington Toyota Dealers Association and many generous friends; and the more than 700 supporters who attended this event that recognizes and celebrates the work of a state and national treasure.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
A drug to correct the function of the abnormal protein in some forms of cystic fibrosis has been shown to improve lung function in clinical trials. Bonnie Ramsey, UW professor of pediatrics and a physician at Seattle Children’s, was one of the lead investigators on the trial.
Various mutations in the gene for cystic fibrosis result in a defective or missing Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) protein. This protein regulates the flow of charged particles, such as chloride ions, across cell membranes.
The results of the STRIVE study, a phase 3 trial, were released Feb. 23 by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The trial tested VX-770, a medication taken by mouth, which targets a mutation in the cystic fibrosis gene known as G551D. This mutation accounts for about 4 percent of cystic fibrosis cases.
In patients with this mutation, CFTR proteins are present on the cell surface but don’t work correctly. The drug VX-770 aims to increase the function of these defective proteins by improving their ability to transport ions across the cell surface.
Current approved treatments for cystic fibrosis include two inhaled antibiotics and a drug that loosens mucus. As yet, no approved treatment approaches the underlying problem directly by gating the flow of chloride ions into and out of the cell.
The STRIVE study evaluated VX-770 cystic fibrosis patients age 12 and older who had at least one copy of the G551D mutation. The study enrolled 161 patients. Enrollees receiving the experimental drug continued to receive standard cystic fibrosis therapy, as did those receiving the placebo. The enrollees swallowed a single 150 mg tablet or placebo pill twice daily.
Lung function tests showed significant improvements in patients receiving VX-770 compared to those taking a placebo. Compared to those who received the placebo, patients who received VX-770 were 55 percent less likely to experience worsening of lung disease requiring antibiotic treatment, reported having fewer respiratory symptoms like coughing and wheezing, and on average gained seven pounds.
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) recently awarded nearly $600,000 in grants to four projects to develop technologies to improve the diagnosis and management of major health conditions.
The awards were made in the second round of the 2010 Life Sciences Discovery Fund commercialization grant competition. The competition promotes the translation of promising technologies from Washington’s non-profit research sector into marketable products and services that improve health, foster economic growth, and enhance life sciences competitiveness in the state.
Grant recipients were:
Patrick Stayton, UW professor of bioengineering, Next Generation High Speed Immunoassay, $150,000. Stayton will develop new reagents to increase the speed and sensitivity of laboratory tests (known as immunoassays) used for diagnosing and monitoring disorders such as cancer and heart disease. A new company is planned to commercialize the reagents should proof of concept be demonstrated.
Barry Lutz, UW research assistant professor of bioengineering, An Auto-regulated Externalized Cerebrospinal Fluid Drainage System for Improved Control, Safety, and Patient Mobility in Neurosurgery Patients, $149,461. Lutz will develop an improved drainage system to reduce intracranial pressure in patients with brain disorders or trauma.
Jane Burns, UW professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Seattle Children’s, Non-Invasive Detection of, Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Exhaled Breath of Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis, $150,000. Burns, in conjunction with Washington-based Enertechnix, will adapt a novel air sampling device to collect exhaled breath for non-invasive detection of lung infections.
Christopher Bernards, UW clinical professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and anesthesiologist and researcher at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason Medical Center, Olfactory Delivery of Centrally Acting Analgesics, $150,000. Bernards will test a device, developed by the University of Washington and Seattle-based Impel NeuroPharma, which by delivering drugs directly to the brain potentially reduces harmful side effects.
The four awards were chosen from 10 proposals received in the competition. A panel of national experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science evaluated the scientific and technical merit of the projects, while a panel of commercialization experts assessed each project’s commercial potential and possible health and economic benefits. The LSDF Board of Trustees made the final award selections.
For more information, visit the Life Sciences Discovery Fund website.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 295,000 Americans die from SCA, as reported by the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Update for 2010. More than 90 percent of Americans who experience SCA die in minutes. Over the past 30 years, the national survival rate of 8 percent has not increased. Depending where you live, the survival rate could vary by more than 500 percent.
The Medtronic Foundation recently announced a $15 million commitment to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths in the United States. The HeartRescue Project assembles the country’s leading emergency and resuscitation experts to expand successful city and county sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) response programs statewide. The goal is to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates by at least 50 percent in five years within the pilot states of Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington.
HeartRescue Partners at the Universities of Arizona, Duke, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Washington, and their partner agencies, will, for the first time at the state level, coordinate proven protocols and high-tech treatments at three critical points of response: bystanders, emergency medical services and hospitals.
The new Cascade HeartRescue program is an initiative to improve cardiac resuscitation care and outcomes throughout Washington. It is an ongoing collaboration of the Harborview Paramedic Training Program, the Medic One Program of the Seattle Fire Department, King County Emergency Medical Services, and the UW-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care. Leading the initiatives for those entities are: Graham Nichol, UW professor of medicine and director of the UW-Harborview Medical Center Center for Prehospital Emergency Care; Thomas Rea, UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and medical program director of Medic One and of the Defibrillation Program, Emergency Medical Services of Public Health – Seattle and King County. Michael Copass, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Neurology, is director of the Medic One Paramedic Training Program and former director of emergency services at Harborview Medical Center.
Nichol (pictured above) noted that sudden cardiac arrest survival often depends on one’s geographic location.
“There is a 500 percent variation in survival after cardiac arrest, Nichol said. “Many people don’t realize that cardiac arrest can be treated. In many regions, bystanders, emergency response and hospitals are not working together to help the patient.”
In Seattle, for example, the overall survival rate for all SCA patients is 16 percent, which jumps to 40 percent when only including patients in a shockable rhythm. This compares to a 3 percent overall survival rate in Alabama, or 8 percent survival rate of those in a shockable rhythm, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Measurement and commonality in data collection also will be critical components of the HeartRescue Project. Currently, the lack of a national standard for SCA performance and outcomes measurement leaves communities to set their own data collection protocols. It's difficult to improve systems of care without a real benchmark to determine successful practices.
In a first step toward a national standard, HeartRescue Partners have agreed on a common set of data collection points. They will use the Center for Disease Control’s CARES Registry (cardiac arrest registry to enhance survival) to measure their progress. Over the next five years, partners will collect SCA data for all cases statewide and report results yearly.
Learn more about the HeartRescue Project.
UW Medical Center is the first center in a five-state region to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to use an experimental drug called 5-aminolevunilic acid (5-ALA) to help locate brain tumors intra-operatively using fluorescent light.
Although this drug has been used to destroy cancer cells with photodynamic therapy for the past 30 years, UW Medical Center is one of only a few American hospitals currently exploring the safety and efficacy of this oral compound to improve surgery for malignant gliomas. Following large, randomized, prospective studies in Europe, several European countries have already approved, and are now using, 5-ALA to improve glioma surgery.
Gliomas originate in the glial cells, which surround and support nerve cells. The most common location for gliomas is the brain. Glioma incidence is rising in the United States. An estimated 12,000 people die each year from this tumor. These high-grade gliomas are often fast-growing, so improved treatment options are critical.
Because gliomas lack easily identifiable margins, 5-ALA provides the neurosurgeon with an important option that potentially enables better identification of invasive tumor. Compared to normal tissue, 5-ALA is broken down by high-grade gliomas to a fluorescent compound called a “photoporphyrin,” a structure similar to that of chlorophyll found in plants. Tumors that absorb this compound fluoresce under UV light exposure. A specially modified surgical microscope that contains a UV light bulb enables the neurosurgeon to see the glowing tumor tissue and helps guide removal of the tumor.
Daniel Silbergeld, UW professor of neurological surgery and chief of Neurological Surgery at UW Medical Center, is leading this effort. For more information about this trial, call 206.598.9449.
The UW Emergency Medicine Residency Program has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and will accept its first group of residents, the class of 2015, in July. The new four-year program will start with six residents and grow to 12 residents per year.
The Emergency Medicine Residency Program will be an important resource for the WWAMI region and the nation in helping to meet workforce needs in emergency medicine, especially in underserved areas. With the ACGME accreditation of this program, UW now has training in all American Board of Medical Specialties core areas.
The accreditation of the Emergency Residency Program was spearheaded by Sue Stern, UW professor of medicine and head of the Division of Emergency Medicine, and Fiona Gallahue, UW assistant professor of medicine and program director in the Division of Emergency Medicine.
Justin Siegel, UW doctoral degree candidate in biochemistry, is among 12 graduate students selected to receive the 2011 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC).
The Weintraub Award recipients, all advanced students in the biological sciences, were selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work. Recipients of the Weintraub Award will participate in a scientific symposium May 6 at the Hutchinson Center where the awardees will give scientific presentations.
Siegel studies computational enzyme design and identification. He is interested in designing novel enzymes, capable of catalyzing organic reactions, to advance the field of synthetic chemistry. He currently works in the labs of David Baker, UW professor of biochemistry, and Michael Gelb, UW professor of chemistry. Siegel received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of California at Davis.
The Weintraub Award was established in 2000 to honor Harold M. Weintraub, a founding member of the FHCRC Basic Sciences Division. He was an international leader in the field of molecular biology. Among his many contributions, he identified genes responsible for instructing cells to differentiate, or develop, into specific tissues such as muscle and bone.
In an effort to provide insight into rural and underserved primary care opportunites in the State of Montana, Osler’s Evenings were developed for the WWAMI Montana medical students. Turn of the century Canadian physician, pathologist, educator and author Sir William Osler’s words of encouragement regarding patient care are the inspiration for these monthly evening sessions. Dr. Osler stated, “Care more for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease… Put yourself in his place… the kindly word, the cheerful greeting, the sympathetic look---these the patient understands.”
Working with the Southwest Montana Area Health Education Center, the Montana WWAMI Clinical Office, and the Montana WWAMI first-year site, Montana rural physicians and their spouses are invited to present to the WWAMI Montana first-year students on their experiences practicing rural or underserved medicine. This allows students to interact with physicians who have chosen to practice in rural and underserved communities in Montana and share first-hand the joys and challenges of this type of practice. Speakers for the 2010-2011 season have included family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology physicians from Whitefish, Libby, Butte and Dillon. These interactive sessions are well received by the students who appreciate being able to gather information about the challenges, opportunities and rewards of practicing rural or underserved medicine in the state.
When asked, Kale Knudson, first-year Montana WWAMI student, had this to say:
“With long class hours and studying it can be easy to forget the ultimate purpose of medical school. To have physicians discuss their profession (joys, triumphs, etc.) reminds me of why I'm exerting tremendous effort in school. Also, I gain non-clinical pearls of wisdom, such as understanding work-life balance in a Montana rural setting, important details of physician contracts and considerations for specialty selection. I have found this information to be very intriguing. Osler's Evenings provide an opportunity for self-reflection. Each physician exudes certain qualities with which I instantly identify and hope to incorporate as a practicing physician. Overall, Osler's Evenings provide an informal atmosphere for student contemplation of future concerns. I am thankful that the WWAMI program provides this opportunity and I encourage future students to take full advantage."
The following is a listing of some upcoming events that may be of interest to the UW Medicine community. Additional events are listed on the UW Medicine events calendar.
Cancer Drug Symposium, March 4
Regulating the Drug Treatment of Cancer: Who Decides & How?, a symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., UW School of Law, William H. Gates Hall, Room 138, Seattle campus. The symposium will include a public interview and discussion with Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. UW School of Medicine faculty Fred Appelbaum, Wylie Burke, Lawrence Corey, Julie Gralow, and Dean Paul Ramsey will be among presenters at the special symposium sponsored by the UW Schools of Medicine, Law, Pharmacy, and Public Health. Information/registration.
Pre-Curriculum Review Advisory Committee forums, March 7 and April 5
The Pre-Curriculum Review Advisory Committee will hold open forums to elicit perspectives on the existing medical school curriculum, and ideas and suggestions for modifications. A forum for faculty and staff will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., Monday, March 7, in Turner Auditorium, Health Sciences Building, D-209. A forum for medical students will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, in the same location. Light refreshments will be provided at both forums. Comments about the medical school curriculum can also be made online. This survey website requires a UW Net ID. Contact Kellie Engle at email@example.com or 206.543.2249 for more information.
ITHS Interdisciplinary Grand Rounds, March 14
Using Genomics to Individualize Drug Therapy: Technical, Clinical and Ethical Challenges, noon to 1:00 p.m., Monday, March 14, Turner Auditorium, UW Health Sciences Building, D-209. Panelists are Kenneth Thummel, UW professor and chair, Department of Pharmaceutics; Wylie Burke, professor and chair, Department of Bioethics and Humanities; and Rose James, acting assistant professor, Department of Bioethics and Humanities. All are members of the Northwest-Alaska Pharmacogenomics Research Network and the Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality. The conference will be webcast. Contact the Institute of Translational Health Sciences at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Faculty Development Workshop, April 12
Three Amigos: A Learner-oriented Teaching Methodology, 8 a.m. to noon, South Campus Center, Room 303. The AMIGO3 teaching design methodology creates skilled life-long learners, regardless of the discipline being taught. The AMIGO3 model strives to make the learning transparent to each student and enables learners to actively develop their metacognitive assessment and strategies. Workshop participants will explore the AMIGO3 model, review the “How People Learn” framework upon which AMIGO3 is based; and practice designing AMIGO3 modules. Presenters are David Masuda and Donna Ambrozy, UW lecturers in the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics (MEBI); and Lynne Robins, UW professor of medical education and biomedical informatics. The workshop is free and open to all UW School of Medicine and Health Sciences faculty members. Registration is required. Visit the Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics website at or call 206.616.9875 for more information.
Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.