penn surgery
penn surgery home penn surgery clinical penn surgery education penn surgery research penn surgery administration
 
 
IN THE NEWS . . .
New York Times logo(June 11, 2016) The New York Times interviewed Abraham Shaked, MD, PhD, director of the Penn Transplant Institue and a professor of Transplant Surgery, for a piece on full-body transplantation. Surgeons in China are exploring the possibility, which is raising a variety of quesitons from those in the field.
(June 3, 2016) Giorgos C. Karakousis, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery, is quoted in a Cure magazine story on the recent Abramson Cancer Center melanoma patient conference. Even as immunotherapies and targeted therapies continue to advance the treatment of cancer across the board, surgery still plays a vital — and promising — role in melanoma, Karakousis noted.
(June 2, 2016) On this morning's Good Day Philadelphia on Fox29, Noel Williams, MD, a professor of Clinical Surgery and director of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, discussed the use and effects of a new weight loss balloon which patients swallow before it is inflated. The balloon is designed to take up space in the stomach so patients get in the habit of consuming smaller portions.
FOX 29 logo(May 18, 2016) Stephen Kovach, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery in Plastic Surgery, and Michael Blecker, PharmD, BCPS, a clinical pharmacist at HUP, are quoted in a Fox29 story on modern uses for medical leeches.
CBS 3 logo(May 11, 2016) CBS3 reports on the trend that more people are getting cosmetic procedures like Botox and choosing to keep it hush, hush. But, with more natural results and new products, the stigma is slowly lifting. Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery and associate director of Cosmetic Surgery said, “it doesn't need to be a secret anymore. Absolutely not.”
6ABC News(May 4, 2016) Penn leaders and military officials gathered last night to formally dedicate the John Paul Pryor, MD, Shock Trauma and Resuscitation Unit in the Trauma Center at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Pryor, a trauma surgeon at Penn, was killed in action on Christmas Day 2008 during his second tour of duty in Iraq with the Army Reserves. Pryor’s family and friends were in attendance to honor his legacy and celebrate the occasion, which marks a significant milestone in PPMC's expansion.

(April 22, 2016) Matthew Levine, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Transplant Surgery, provided additional commentary on a recent study which found that females are more resistant to organ damage following kidney transplant as compared to men due to the impact of gender-specific hormones, in MedicalResearch.com.

ABC News logo(April 20, 2016) ABC News featured a look back at the journey of Lindsay Ess, Penn Medicine's first bilateral hand transplant recipient. L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Benjamin Chang, MD, an associate professor of Clinical Surgery in Plastic Surgery, are highlighted, along with footage of Lindsay today -- driving, doing her own hair, and even competing in CrossFit.
metro logo(April 19, 2016) Family members of a bicyclist who passed away after being struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run crash in West Philadelphia talk about the legacy of their son, thank the Penn Medicine team, and make a plea for the driver to come forward. The Metro and other outlets covered the story from a press conference at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center yesterday afternoon. Jose L. Pascual, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Surgery in the division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, is quoted.
(April 19, 2016) The American Society of Nephrology's In The Loop newsletter featured results from a study led by Matthew Levine, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Transplant Surgery, and David Aufhauser, MD, a fourth-year general surgery resident and research fellow, which found that females are more resistant to organ damage following kidney transplant as compared to men due to the impact of gender-specific hormones.
6 ABC(April 18, 2016) 6ABC featured a study led locally by Ali Naji, MD, PhD, a professor of Surgery, and Michael R. Rickels, MD, MS, an associate professor of Medicine, both of the Type 1 Diabetes Unit in the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, which found that transplanted islets provide better glycemic control, improved hypoglycemia awareness, and durable protection against severe hypoglycemic events in type 1 diabetics who have otherwise experienced significant glucose instability.
Washington Post(March 7, 2016) An article from the Washington Post reports on the "modern war against aging" and the trend toward non-invasive cosmetic procedures. One main driver of the "non-invasive boom" is how little bloodletting many of of the new procedures require. Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, associate director of Cosmetic Surgery, says the spate of new technology is more than the field has seen “at any point in cosmetic medicine."
(March 7, 2016) Results from two Penn studies were featured in Everyday Health. The first, led by Grace Wang, MD, FACS, an assistant professor of Vascular Surgery, found that women under the age of 70 who have kidney disease are at higher odds for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) as compared to men, and the second, led by Robert Wilensky, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, found that women under 50 who have been treated once for heart disease may fare worse than similarly treated men.
(February 26, 2016) The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a new kind of breast lift procedure which involves injecting the patients' own blood into the breast cleavage in the hope that human growth factors will tighten up breast tissues. Joseph Serletti, MD, chief of the division of Plastic Surgery, says, for now, it's highly unlikely that the procedure would be effective.
Philadelphia Inquirer(February 25, 2016) A New England Journal of Medicinestudy co-authored by Rachel Kelz, MD, an associate professor of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery, found that patients were just as safe when restrictions on shift lengths for surgical residents were lifted. David Asch, MD, MBA, a professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, who is leading a similar trial with internal medicine residents, is also mentioned.
(February 24, 2016) Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he was recently diagnosed with a mild form of prostate cancer and will be treated near his home in York, Pa., in the coming weeks. Phillip Mucksavage, MD, an assistant professor of Urology in Surgery, is quoted. (link)
(January 30, 2016) Joseph Bavaria, MD, a professor of Surgery and director of the Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program, has been elected President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
(January 30, 2016) Michael Acker, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, commented to MedPage Today on the benefits and use of a potential scoring system for predicting outcomes of tricuspid valve surgery.
(January 22, 2016) AAP News featured the 2015 pediatric bilateral hand transplant, calling recipient Zion Harvey the ideal candidate who paved the way for future procedures. L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, chair of the department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Ben Chang, MD, an associate professor of Plastic Surgery, are quoted.
Philadelphia Inquirer logo(December 13, 2015) The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a task force aimed at helping the next generation of physicians be better prepared to meet the needs of veterans, soldiers, and their families, recently held meetings to decide what was most important for doctors to learn about military-related medical issues. Jeremy Cannon, MD, an associate professor of Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care, is quoted.
(December 8, 2015) United Press Internationalcovered two new studies shedding more light on whether of aspirin can help treat breast cancer patients. Both studies are presented this week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Authors Julia C. Tchou, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Clinical Surgery, and Despina Kontos, PhD, an assistant professor of Radiology, are quoted.
(December 7, 2015) VICE News reports on new research showing that people are now surviving many of the more dangerous gunshot wounds that would have killed them in previous years. Many of the improvements in treating gunshot injuries were developed with the U.S. military, according to C. William Schwab, MD, a professor of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care & Emergency Surgery, and director of the Firearm Injury Center at Penn.
(November 23, 2015) India West spoke with Pavan Atluri, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery, about his recent research of creating artificial blood cells with 3-D printing to test and inform the use of tissue engineered therapy for heart failure patients.
(November 16, 2015) Health and Wellness interviews S. Bruce Malkowicz, MD, codirector of Urologic Oncology, on treatment options for prostate cancer patients.
(November 11, 2015) Michael A. Acker, chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, was quoted in a Fierce Medical Devices article about the recent study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2015, which compared the effectiveness of mirtal valve repair or replacement for patients with severe valve regurgitation.

(November 5, 2015) In a round up of what's to come at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2015, Michael A. Acker, MD, chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, commented on the pending two-year outcomes of mitral valve repair versus replacement in patients with severe regurgitation, which will be presented as a late-breaking clinical trial.
(November 4, 2015) Rachel Kelz, MD, MSCE, FACS, of the department of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery, who wrote an invited commentary on a JAMA Surgery study on the so-called “July Phenomenon” was quoted in Reuters Health. Researchers found no link between new residents and outcomes in the summer, but did see a spike in deaths during the winter. The findings provide evidence that the phenomenon may be little more than hospital lore, but raises a bigger question about why patients might be doing worse in the winter, Kelz told Reuters.
CBS 3 logo(October 14, 2015) CBS3 spoke with C. William Schwab, MD, professor in the division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, about the purposes and perhaps limitations of medevac helicopters used for transporting the most critically injured patients, like those used as part of the PennSTAR flight program. Schwab says there is no golden height or weight limit for passengers, but dispatchers will let flight crews know of both before they arrive so they can gauge if air is still the safest route to care.
delaware online logo(October 5, 2015) A Delaware News Journal article profiles Penn patient Eileen Edmunds who decided to create a documentary on her own experience with breast reconstruction to help women learn the facts behind the process and be empowered to become their own advocates. Liza Wu, MD, Edmunds's plastic surgeon and an associate professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery, is quoted on various reconstruction options.
Philadelphia Inquirer logo(October 4, 2015) The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on progress being made toward helping breast cancer survivors living with lymphedema, a condition which causes the arms or legs to swell with fluid and fat. Suhail Kanchwala, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery, started doing lymph node transfers and "bypasses," which redirect built-up fluid into blood vessels, about three years ago but says the procedures today are still incredibly specialized and rare.

(September18, 2015) The Allentown Morning Callspoke with Peter Abt, MD, an associate professor of Surgery in the division of Transplant Surgery, and the surgeon who operated on Penn patient Andrea Samson, about her case and some of reasons why people donate. Samson, a 20 year-old college student who had dealt with kidney failure her entire life, received a kidney from an anonymous donor in July.
health(August 19, 2015) An article from Health.com reports that breast reduction surgery is the eighth most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States, and addresses 15 things women can expect post-surgery. Liza Wu, MD, an associate professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery, says most women don't realize it takes about three months for breasts to "settle" into their new shape, and recommends patients hold off on purchasing new bras during that time.
(August 13, 2015) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a pill that aims to increase a woman's desire for sex — a controversial decision made only after an extended lobbying campaign by the drug's makers, NBC News reports. "I think the FDA was under a lot of pressure (to approve the drug)," Philip Hanno, MD, a professor of urology who served on the FDA advisory panel on the drug, told NBC News. The Medpage Today article on the decision quotes Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, a professor of Emergency Medicine, who also voted as part of the FDA panel.
ABC News logo(July 29, 2015) In continuing coverage, news outlets around the world reported on the first double-hand transplant performed on a child. The procedure was completed earlier this month, led by a team of Penn surgeons. The goal now is to get the patient, eight-year-old Zion Harvey, to simply make a fist and open his hand. “He gets better every day… He inspires all of us… and the progress is going better than we ever could anticipate,” L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, chair of Orthopaedics and director of Penn and CHOP’s Hand Transplant Program, told BBC Radio 5. Benjamin Chang, MD, an associate professor of Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery, and co-director of CHOP’s Hand Transplant Program, told ABC News it could take six months before Harvey gains feeling in the hands. ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox broadcast affiliates across the country also covered the story.
(July 24, 2015) In continuing coverage, ABC 30 in Fresno, Calif., reported on a clinical trial at the Abramson Cancer Center investigating the use of vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients. This first in-human trial is being led by Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, chair of Surgery, and Peter O’Dwyer, MD, a professor of Hematology/Oncology, and is funded by the Stand Up to Cancer initiative.
(July 1, 2015) Diane K. Newman, DNP, CRNP, FAAN, BCB-PMD, co-director, Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, is featured in a Prevention article about ways to prevent and manage incontinence.
ABC News(June 26, 2015) In continuing coverage, ABCNews.com reports on a Delaware woman who needed a kidney transplant for almost two years, and now has her father's kidney after he recently died in a car accident. Penn patient Stacey Knox traveled to HUP earlier this month to receive her father's kidney, her husband said, adding that the transplant was successful, and that she's recovering and being monitored. "It's certainly a bittersweet story, but I think this is one of those opportunities where a parent gets to make a lasting and final gift to their child," Knox's surgeon Peter Abt, MD, surgical director of Kidney Transplantation, said.
(June 26, 2015) New optical imaging techniques deliver fluorescing molecules to cancerous tumors to allow both surgeons and pathologists to optimize cancer surgery. The molecules contain a ligand that binds to a target site on malignant cells, allowing uptake to occur only in the malignant cells, highlighting them for the surgeon and for pathologists assessing margin adequacy. Sunil Singhal, MD, an assistant professor of Surgery, has coined the term "optical biopsy" to describe what’s happening during optical imaging-guided surgery. “For so long, we as surgeons have just had our eyes and our hands – and our intuition – to guide us. This technology allows us to really focus our attention where it needs to be in surgery,” Singhal recently told ACS Surgery News.
(June 23, 2015) An article in the Pennsylvania Gazette traces the long and rich history of Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, which celebrated its 250th birthday this year. Faculty leaders quoted in the story include J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System; Clyde Barker, MD, a professor of Surgery; Gail Morrison, MD, senior vice dean for education; C. William Schwab, MD, professor of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery; and several notable Penn Medicine alumni.
Philadelphia Inquirer(June 22, 2015) An article from the Philadelphia Inquirerreports that former Philadelphia Flyers great Bernie Parent, 70, long suffered from gynecomastia - male breast enlargement - and underwent a nonsurgical procedure in January that considerably reduced the amount of fat tissue in his chest to give him a more sculpted profile. Though gynecomastia is common, few men will talk about it. "Psychologically, this bothers people," Joseph Serletti, MD, chief of the division of Plastic Surgery, says of the condition. "People are very embarrassed. I've seen some incredibly accomplished people who were incredibly bothered by this."
(May 28, 2015) A three-dimensional imaging technique often used in the automotive and aerospace industries for accurate measurement may be useful to measure the efficacy of injectable wrinkle reducers such as Botox and Dysport, according to new research from senior author Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, director of Basic Science Research and associate director of Cosmetic Surgery in the division of Plastic Surgery and the Perelman School of Medicine. The procedure, called three-dimensional speckle tracking photogrammetry, is described in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
(May 5, 2015) CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10and FOX29talked with Penn's first patient to go home with a total artificial heart to await transplant, along with his surgeon, Pavan Atluri, MD, director of the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Cardiac Surgery Program and the Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program. The 65-year-old patient says the heart feels natural and he's looking forward to being home so he can enjoy activities like flying remote-controlled airplanes and playing drums in his church jazz group.
(May 5, 2015) A clinical trial underway at the Abramson Cancer Center is investigating the use of vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients, reports several ABC stations across the country, including Los Angeles and Tampa, Fla. This first in-human trial is being led by Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, chair of Surgery, and Peter O’Dwyer, MD, a professor of Hematology/Oncology, and is funded by the Stand Up to Cancer initiative. One of Dr. O’Dwyer’ s patients was also featured in the piece. It was also picked up by ABC stations in Portland, Maine, Tri-Cities, Va., South Bend, Ind., and Huntsville, Ala., and an accompanying online story was picked up by NBC16 in South Bend and ABC31 in Huntsville.
(May 5, 2015) An article from Men's Healthreveals common nail problems left untreated may lead to more serious medical concerns. Al D'Angelantonio, III, DPM, an assistant professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, discussed conditions including spoon nails, clubbed nails, and Beau's lines. Of fungal infections, D'Angelantonio says though they don't usually spread to your bloodstream, they can serve as a sign of another disease. 
(April 27, 2015) An article from The Pennsylvania Gazette takes a look back at February's official move of Penn Medicine's Level I Trauma Center to the new Pavilion for Advanced Care at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The Gazette calls the move a "carefully planned choreography" in which ambulances, city police and medevac helicopter crews retrained their sights on the new facility. "If you want to affect just about every program, every department, and every person in a hospital, you build a trauma center," said C. William Schwab, MD, founding chief of the Trauma Center and a professor in the division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery.
nightline logo(April 14, 2015) In continuing coverage, a segment from Nightline features Penn patients Michele and Matt Crane, and their kidney transplant surgeons, Peter Abt, MD, associate professor of Surgery, and Ali Naji, MD, PhD, surgical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program. Last month, Matt and Michele participated in what is now the longest multi-hospital kidney transplant chain in U.S. history. Over the course of three months, 68 lives were changed when 34 kidneys were swapped between 26 different hospitals across the nation. "It is a huge operation, but it's driven by the hearts and minds of people who want to do it. If there was no love in this, it wouldn't happen," said Naji.
(February 18, 2015) A Pharmacy Times blog features a son's account of his mother's successful mitral valve surgery, which was performed by W. Clark Hargrove, III, MD, clinical director of cardiovascular surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
NBC 10 News(February 10, 2015) NBC10 reports that local trauma experts will launch a first-of-its-kind citywide study to determine if getting victims to the hospital the right away could offer a better chance of survival. In the study called the Philadelphia Immediate Transport in Penetrating Trauma trial, paramedics working in city ambulances that provide advanced life support will be instructed by dispatchers to either carry out normal medical procedures on patients or immediately take them to the hospital. “We’re trying to get smarter about what we’re doing,” said Patrick Kim, MD, Trauma Program Director. “Sometimes smarter means doing more and different procedures and sometimes it means not doing more procedures."
(February 10, 2015) Penn Medicine physicians have completed their 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure, marking an important milestone in the health system’s treatment of aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve. “This milestone reinforces our ongoing commitment to provide the most advanced treatment options to our patients,” said Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, vice chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and co-director of the Transcatheter Valve Program at Penn Medicine.
Fox 29(January 26, 2015) A Fox29 piece on the increasing rates of thyroid cancer referenced Rachel Kelz, MD, MSCE, associate professor of Surgery, who told Fox29 that if patients suspect any thyroid issues, they should contact their primary doctor. Researchers predict that thyroid cancer will be the third most common cancer by 2019, Fox29 reports.
(January 3, 2015) Shanee Edwards and Diane K. Newman work together to fight overactive bladders. Examiner.com
(October 25, 2014) A clinical trial underway at Penn Medicine is investigating the use of vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients, reports Oncology Times. This first in-human trial stems from a recent preclinical study published in the journal Cell, co-authored by Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, chair of Surgery, and Peter O’Dwyer, MD, professor of Medicine, which found that the combo increased the lifespan of animals by 50 percent compared to chemotherapy alone.
(October 27, 2014) Penn Medicine patient, Francie Howat, appeared on a segment of “The Doctors” TV show on Monday along with Sunil Singhal, MD, assistant professor and director of the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory, her surgeon, who appeared via video conference. Howat had lung cancer surgery using Singhal and his team’s new technology that makes cancer cells glow for better visibility during surgery. Singhal told the audience, “This is the future of surgery. If we can catch cancer cells before you see them on an x-ray it’s going to change the way we deal with cancer for everyone.”
(October 10, 2014) David I Lee, MD, associate professor of Urology, discusses prostate health with Inside Golfat the Jay Sigel Invitational benefit for prostate cancer research at the Abramson Cancer Center. "Going to your physician, getting it checked out, and getting informed about it is key," said Lee. 
Philadelphia Inquirer(October 5, 2014) A clinical trial underway at Penn Medicine is investigating the use of vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. This first in-human trial stems from a recent preclinical study published in the journal Cell, co-authored by Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD, chair of Surgery, and Peter O’Dwyer, MD, professor of Medicine, which found that the combo increased the lifespan of animals by 50 percent compared to chemotherapy alone.
(October 3, 2014) The Delaware County Daily Times covered lung cancer patient, Francie Howat’s recent trip to Los Angeles to appear on an episode of the CBS medical talk show, “The Doctors.” Francie, a Delaware County resident, underwent surgery at Penn in July on a clinical trial led by Sunil Singhal, MD, assistant professor of surgery and director of Penn Medicine’s Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory whereby infrared imaging is used to make tumors glow for better visibility during surgery.
Philadelphia Inquirer(September 21, 2014) A Philadelphia Inquirer article looks at the shortage of kidneys and livers available for thousands of people on transplant waiting lists in the region. "I have a hundred patients I'd love to transplant today, but we don't have the organs," said Abraham Shaked, MD, PhD, director of the Penn Transplant Institute.
CBS Philly(September 17, 2014) A new technique developed by Penn Medicine and Vet researchers is helping surgeons spot invisible lung cancer cells during surgery by making tumors glow green, reports CBS3. Lung cancer is often surgically removed, but about 30 percent of the time cells are missed. Using a contrast dye indocyanine green and near-infrared imaging, surgeons can see the entire tumor, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.  “It’s going to change the field.  It’s a paradigm shift for surgeons to be able to see things that we never did before.  It’s exciting,” said Sunil Singhal, MD, assistant professor of Thoracic Surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The August 2014 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine discusses five celebrities who have had cosmetic surgery and the emergence of stars opening up about their procedures. Louis Bucky, MD, chief of Plastic Surgery, and Jesse Taylor, MD, associate professor of Plastic Surgery, comment on medical uses and potential long-term effects of everything from liposuction and butt implants to rhinoplasty and breast enhancement.
philly.com logoThe Philadelphia Inquirerannounced that Ronald M. Fairman, MD, chief of the division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, has been elected vice president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, an international medical society. He also is the Clyde F. Barker-William Maul Measey professor of surgery.
CBS Philly(September 2, 2014) Carla Fisher, MD, an assistant professor in the division of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery, spoke with CBS3 about a new JAMA study that found more women are opting for double mastectomies. “There’s a definite fear of recurrence, fear of death from breast cancer. Patients feel undergoing bilateral mastectomy may decrease those chances,” Fisher said, although the study also showed that the procedure offered no benefit over less invasive treatments. “Surgery is one important component of breast cancer; there are lots of other therapies that are just as good,  if not better,” Fisher said.
An Annals of Surgery study found using saltier saline, and less of it, reduced complications by 25 percent in pancreatic cancer treatment cases. Jeffrey Drebin, MD, chair of Surgery, who was not involved in the research, suspects the key element is lower fluid volume rather than change in saltiness. "I think lower volume is important," Drebin said. "We and others have shown that you can use less volume without making it saltier." (link)
(July 15, 2014) A front page article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reports on two new prostate cancer studies in JAMA Internal Medicine finding that many low-risk patients receive more treatment than is needed or helpful - racking up millions of dollars in excess costs and, potentially, causing more physical harm than good. One example is hormone therapy, or ADT, as the main treatment in patients in which cancer cells have not spread. "It really is not a benign treatment," said Alan J. Wein, MD, Founders Professor and chief of Urology, who was not involved in the studies. "Androgen-deprivation therapy is palliative, not curative." For patients with advanced disease, it can be very effective in relieving symptoms and shrinking the cancer. "But ADT also has been associated with thinning of the bones, weight gain, decreased muscle tone, the appearance of diabetes, and perhaps deep venous thrombosis," Wein said.
Philadelphia Inquirer(July 13, 2014) A war on pancreas cancer is underway right here at the Abramson Cancer Center. A story in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer featured the work of Jeffrey Drebin, MD, chair of Surgery and the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery, and Robert Vonderheide, MD,  the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research in the ACC. Drebin and Vonderheide—both co-leads on Stand up to Cancer Dream Teams—are investigating new targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and more, to better the understand and treat the disease, which is projected to become this country's second-leading cancer killer. "We absolutely need to figure it out," said Vonderheide. "It's a medical emergency." Ongoing studies at the ACC have shed light on tumor biology and shown success with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine.  "We're not declaring victory,” Drebin told the Inquirer. “We're declaring progress.”
(July 7, 2014) A feature article from Executive Insight discusses the importance of communication among OR teams, and how new technologies are affecting communication. "Effective team communication and real-time access to patient data are important functions in operating rooms," said Jim Mullen, MD, associate executive director in the department of Surgery. "Adding new technology to our existing resources that will keep everyone on the same page is an invaluable asset."
USA Today logo(March 31, 2014) Obesity surgery is an effective treatment for uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and helps people who aren't morbidly obese, according to a new three-year study presented at the 2014 American College of Cardiology meeting.  The trial, known by the acronym STAMPEDE, also showed the two types of surgery -- gastric bypass or gastric sleeve -- had fairly similar benefits, which was somewhat unexpected because gastric bypass has been around longer and was believed to be better. Noel Williams, MD, director, Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program, told USA Today he's seeing the same thing in his patients. Mariell Jessup, MD, professor of Medicine and president of the AHA, told Bloomberg Businessweek that she has seen the benefits of surgery even in her sickest patients with heart failure, saying “it’s unbelievable how quickly they improve.” The weight-loss procedure has other advantages, including making people feel better, allowing them to exercise more and helping manage their blood pressure and fluid volume, she said.
(March 15, 2014) Ivona Percec, MD, PhD, assistant professor in Plastic Surgery, is featured on a SciFi channel show, "Futurescape" with James Woods, discussing the role of sirtuin proteins in the aging process. Percec is using adipose tissue to search the human genome to find out where sirtuins are interacting with other genes. She’s finding huge differences between the cells of the young and the old. “In young cells, the red, there is sirtuin 7 binding in areas where there are not many genes. And in this same area, this protein is depleted in older patients. So it's lost in those regions, and this is true across all of the chromosomes that we've looked at,” said Percec.
FOX 29 News logo(February 25, 2014) Brian J. Czerniecki, MD, PhD, professor in Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology, along with two patients, were featured in a FOX29 story about his ongoing, breast cancer vaccine trials for women with DCIS, a noninvasive cancer found inside the milk duct of the breasts that may lead to more aggressive cancers. The personalized vaccines are made from a patient's own white blood cells to fight the cancer. In the first two trials, the results were dramatic. "We can actually see tumors dying…You can actually see in about 22 percent of patients there's actually no disease that we can even see, as a result of vaccination," said Czerniecki.
Philadelphia Inquirer logo(February 24, 2014) Not so long ago, repairing a life-threatening bulge in the aorta - the body's largest blood vessel - meant a huge operation. Surgeons would cut open the patient's torso, spread the breastbone, then replace the weakened wall of the aorta with a polyester tube. After a week in the hospital, the patient would need a month or two of convalescence at home. No more. For the majority of patients with aortic aneurysms, the fix is a minimally invasive procedure and one night in the hospital, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The FDA approved the first stent graft in 1999. Now, a mere 15 years later, the benefits of endovascular repair are well-established. And patients prefer it. "Humans don't want to have a big incision," said Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, vice chief, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, who does complex aortic operations and endovascular treatments. "They will accept a bit less effectiveness for less invasiveness."
FOX 29 News logo(January 30, 2014) Fox29 reports on Penn patient Lauren Naccarelli, 28, who yesterday underwent surgery to surrender a perfectly healthy kidney to someone she doesn't know and may never meet. Peter Abt, MD, assistant professor of Surgery in the division of Transplant Surgery and Lauren's surgeon, says only about a hundred people a year donate to a stranger, an act known as "altruistic donation." "This is a very rare circumstance. These are very special individuals. They're unbelievably giving and caring and thoughtful," Abt said, adding that some 90,000 Americans will wait up to five years on average, for a new, functioning kidney. Lauren, like most folks, can live a perfectly normal life with her one remaining kidney.
(January 29, 2014) As part of Prevention magazine's feature on how to improve sleep, Ariana Smith, MD, assistant professor of Urology, offers advice on how to minimize trips to the bathroom. "Patients often tell me, 'When I was a college student, I could drink fluids up until I went to sleep, and now all of a sudden it's a problem,'" said Smith. This may be because vasopressin, a hormone that suppresses urine production, declines as we age. Suggestions include using the toilet before going to bed, avoiding beverages within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine, which are diuretics. If these tips don't help prevent more than one bathroom trip nightly, seeing a doctor is recommended.
Main Line Times logo(January 27, 2014) There’s a cutting-edge new treatment for patients with aortic stenosis, Main Line Today magazine reports. It’s called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and it’s less invasive than conventional surgical procedures. TAVR’s integral component is a heart valve made of cow tissue, which is attached to a stainless-steel mesh frame that’s wrapped in polyester and inserted via catheter. As one of the first centers in the U.S. to use the device, doctors in the Penn Medicine Heart & Vascular Center have done close to 700 procedures in seven years, making Penn’s the largest program in the area. Joseph Bavaria, MD, professor of Surgery and vice chief, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and Howard Herrmann, MD, professor of Medicine and Director, Interventional Cardiology Program, are both featured experts in the article.
(January 8, 2014) The "Grinch" effect may be curbing survival rates in some heart transplant patients who receive hearts that are too small for their bodies, a new study suggests. Scientists said it may be due to the way donors and recipients are matched up -- by weight -- and they propose that that height and sex should play a bigger role in the selection process.  In an interview with HealthDay regarding the new study, Michael Acker, MD, chief, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and director of the Penn Medicine Heart & Vascular Center, said he and colleagues look at dozens of factors when seeking a donor for a particular patient. These include age, height, weight and sex of the donor; how well the donor heart is functioning; the donor's mode of death and if there was trauma to the heart or evidence of infection. "You have to do a risk-benefit analysis every time you accept or decline a donor," Acker said.
Philadelphia Inquirer(January 8, 2014) In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Philadelphia Police Department has issued 5,000 tourniquets to officers to help them assist penetrating trauma victims in the field, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Each district sent officers to the department's training session, a four-hour, hands-on clinic. Police officers are already saying they have been able to save lives with them. "With all the data out of the Middle East, it's clear that tourniquets are a great way to stop bleeding in an austere environment, which can also include an isolated urban block," said Daniel Holena, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery. "The bottom line is that this is a great application in Philly, where penetrating trauma is common," he said. "I've already seen here that tourniquets have saved lives, and I support the department's decision 100 percent."
In The News . . . Archives
 
footer Terms of Use Legal Disclaimer Site Map Contact Us Financial Assistance About Penn Medicine Privacy Statement
penn medicine