School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Stephen Henrie named interim associate VP of Development and Alumni Affairs
In Headlines on October 24, 2013
Stephen Henrie

Stephen Henrie

Stephen Henrie has been appointed interim associate vice president of Development and Alumni Affairs for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, effective immediately.

He replaces Tracy Muscat, who resigned earlier this month to take a new position.

Henrie joined the School of Medicine in February as senior director of campaigns in the Development Office. He will maintain that position while serving as interim associate vice president of Development and Alumni Affairs for the school.

He previously served as regional director for Major Gifts at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor. In that position, he oversaw all major gifts from regional sites in Livingston County and Saline. He also served as director of a $5 million campaign to construct a comprehensive cancer center at the system’s Chelsea Community Hospital.

Henrie also oversaw a successful campaign in Livingston County to build a cancer center in Brighton.
Researchers discover specific inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
In Headlines on October 23, 2013
Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D.

Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D.

Collaborating with researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, a research team at the WSU School of Medicine led by Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., has contributed to an important discovery in the inflammatory stress mechanism and specific inhibitor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The team led by Dr. Zhang, associate professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics and of Immunology & Microbiology, and the team led by Deyu Fang, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, worked together to discover the key inflammatory stress response that drives the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Their studies revealed that inflammatory stimuli trigger cell surface toll-like receptors of macrophages, the white blood cells that subsequently activate the Unfolded Protein Response transducer IRE1a to promote arthritis syndrome in the tissues around the joints.

Their work identified a specific IRE1a inhibitor that can efficiently prevent arthritis in animal models.

The study, “Toll-like receptor-mediated IRE1a activation as a therapeutic target for inflammatory arthritis,” was published in the prestigious scientific journal EMBO. Dr. Zhang served as a corresponding author. The study can be read at http://www.nature.com/emboj/journal/v32/n18/full/emboj2013183a.html.

“This is a notable work in the understanding of the stress mechanism for the development of rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr. Zhang said. “For the first time, we revealed the molecular targets of Unfolded Protein Response and Toll-like Receptor signaling and their interaction mechanism in the progression of inflammatory arthritis. Our study not only identified previously unknown molecular targets, but also pointed out a specific inhibitor that can efficiently suppress arthritis.”

Dr. Zhang said the next step toward the development of therapeutics may be testing the effects of specific inhibitors of Unfolded Protein Response in curing inflammatory arthritis with animal models and clinical trials.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that can affect many tissues and organs, but principally flexible joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common rheumatic diseases, affecting approximately 1.3 million people in the United States. The disease is three times more common in women than men and afflicts people of all races. The disease can begin at any age, but it often occurs in adults after age 40 and before age 60. The cause is unknown.

The disease is a costly one for the nation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis and rheumatic conditions cost the U.S. economy $128 billion annually, including $80.8 billion in medical expenditures and $47 billion in lost earnings.

Additional personnel at WSU who participated in this project include graduate students Ze Zheng and Aditya Dandekar.

Parts of this research were supported by National Institutes of Health grants (AI079056, DK083050, DK090313 and ES017829) and an American Heart Association grant (09GRNT2280479).
Researcher wins grant to study enzyme that repairs treated cancer cells
In Headlines on October 22, 2013
Gen Sheng Wu, Ph.D.

Gen Sheng Wu, Ph.D.

Gen Sheng Wu, Ph.D., associate professor of oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, has received a two-year, $363,660 grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute for his project to prevent an enzyme from allowing cancerous cells to survive treatments.

In “A novel role for PARP1 in regulation of autophagy,” Dr. Wu is collaborating with John Reiners, Ph.D., professsor at the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the WSU Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.

Many standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy drugs and radiation, cause DNA damage to rapidly dividing cancer cells, leading to cell death. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1, or PARP1, has been shown to help repair damage to cancer cells caused by chemotherapy drugs and radiation and may cause tumor cells to survive and grow. This can cause treatment failure. Therefore, PARP1 has been identified as an attractive target for improvement of current treatments.

A number of PARP inhibitors have been developed, and preclinical studies suggest that standard therapies combined with PARP inhibitors may be more effective than standard therapies alone. Studies suggest that PARP inhibitors could be effective as single agents against tumors with inherent DNA repair defects, in particular, breast and ovarian cancers that carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Dr. Wu will investigate a novel role for PARP1, and the link between PARP1 and autophagy, a cellular process that sometimes leads to cell death. He will study how PARP1 interacts with the core autophagy system to affect autophagy induction. Many anticancer agents cause cellular damage that is counteracted by a parallel induction of autophagy. Both PARP1 inhibitors and autophagy inhibitors often enhance the cytotoxicities of chemotherapeutic drugs and have advanced to use in clinical trials. An understanding of their interaction may facilitate the design of approaches for more effective treatment of cancer.

The grant is R21CA178111.
Chief urology resident wins best prostate cancer poster at AUA
In Headlines on October 22, 2013
Ishai Ross, M.D.

Ishai Ross, M.D.

Wayne State University Urology Chief Resident Ishai Ross, M.D., together with Michael Cher, M.D., chair of the Department of Urology, won the best poster award in the prostate cancer session at the recent meeting of the North Central Section of the American Urological Association in Naples, Fla.

The work, a collaborative with the University of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other urology practices across the state, sought to improve urologic care by investigating the ordering of imaging studies among patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer.

“It has been a pleasure working on this project and I appreciated the opportunity to present at the meeting,” said Dr. Ross, a 2009 graduate of the WSU School of Medicine. “In the current cost-conscious health care environment, these types of collaborations are extremely important tools to help physicians deliver efficient, high quality care for our patients. The rate of radiographic staging for newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients is just one of the many aspects of patient care that the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative could have a positive effect on.”

The presentation, “Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative: Patterns of Care in the Radiographic Staging of Men with Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer,” found that the rates of radiographic staging for newly diagnosed prostate cancer in the state of Michigan are “quite good and improving based upon audit and performance feedback provided at the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative meetings,” Dr. Ross said.
Crain's Detroit Business names WSU's Dr. Patrick Hines to annual 40 Under 40 list
In Headlines on October 21, 2013
Patrick Hines, M.D., Ph.D.

Patrick Hines, M.D., Ph.D.

Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member Patrick Hines, M.D., Ph.D., was named to the Crain’s Detroit Business “2013 40 Under 40” honors list for his work as a doctor and researcher, including his development of a blood flow testing system.

Dr. Hines is an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and practices pediatric critical care medicine at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

“In the intensive care unit, I frequently treat patients who take medications that inhibit the function of their platelets to prevent clotting,” he said. “However, we do not have a reliable way to determine if we are over-treating and increasing the risk for bleeding or under-treating and at risk for clotting.  Additionally, I also treat patients with sickle cell disease, and there are a lot of drugs in the pipeline that reduce adhesion of their red blood cells to the blood vessel wall. Our assay can assess the behavior of blood while it is flowing, much the same way it does in the body. We think this type of test will have a much higher predictive value than currently available tests.”

The system is called “A Microfluidic-based Whole Blood Adhesion and Thrombosis Assay.” He became interested in model systems to measure blood cell adhesion and thrombosis under physiologic flow conditions in 1999 as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his doctorate in pharmacology from the university in 2002 and his medical degree in 2004.

Dr. Hines, 39, told Crain’s that the system allows observations of blood flow using microliter amounts of blood, outside the patient. It lets doctors run tests without drawing a large amount of blood. He hopes to commercialize the technology and make it available to other clinicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. WSU is helping with commercialization, he said, and Biogen Idec Inc., a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company, is providing some funding and commercialization support.

His research lab is located in the School of Medicine’s Elliman Clinical Research Building. He leads a team that includes Jennell Jackson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow, and Xiufeng Gao, M.D., a research associate.

He was nominated for the Crain’s award by Andrew Campbell, M.D., director of the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Sickle Cell Center.

“I was a bit surprised, but also honored when I realized the amazing work of the other honorees,” Dr. Hines said.

Since 1991, Crain's Detroit Business has honored 40 of the community's high achievers with its 40 under 40 awards based on business achievement and community impact. This year’s class of winners will be honored at a special event at 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. More than 300 nominees were submitted this year. Profiles and photos of all “40 Under 40” honorees were included in the Oct. 7 issue of Crain’s Detroit Business, and online at http://www.crainsdetroit.com/section/forty2013.

Dr. Chaturvedi reappointed to editorial board of Neurology journal
In Headlines on October 21, 2013
Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D.

Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D.

Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D., F.A.A.N., F.A.H.A., professor of neurology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has been reappointed to the editorial board of the journal Neurology.

Neurology is the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology and is the most read and one of the leading impact factor journals in the field of clinical neuroscience. The editorial board represents leading international neurology experts.

“It is an honor to be part of a select group of international colleagues trying to bring the best clinical and scientific knowledge to the neurology community,” said Dr. Chaturvedi, director of the Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center Stroke Program.

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