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April Research Highlights

A Roundup of the Latest Medical Discoveries and Faculty News at Cedars-Sinai

AI Tool May Detect Earliest Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

An artificial intelligence tool developed by Debiao Li, PhD, director of the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, professor of Biomedical Sciences and Imaging at Cedars-Sinai, accurately predicted who would develop pancreatic cancer based on what their CT scan images looked like years prior to being diagnosed with the disease. The findings, which may help prevent death through early detection, are published in the journal Cancer Biomarkers Read more>


How Statins Slow Growth of Prostate Cancer

Cedars-Sinai Cancer investigators have found that lowering blood cholesterol enhances the action of immune cells, thus slowing the growth of prostate cancer. The research, led by Hyung Kim, MD, associate director of Surgical Research at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Cancer Research and provides a rationale for large-scale clinical testing of using cholesterol-lowering therapy to prevent prostate cancer progression. Read more>


Pocket Ultrasounds Make Fetal Scans More Efficient

An ultrasound probe that plugs into a smartphone or tablet is just as reliable at imaging a pregnant woman and her unborn baby as a standard ultrasound machine, according to a new study led by Cecilia B. Leggett, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology resident, and Melissa S. Wong, MD, MHDS, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Read more>


Breast Surgical Oncologist Joins Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Breast surgical oncologist Lauren DeStefano, MD, recently joined the growing roster of cancer specialists at Cedars-Sinai Cancer in Tarzana. DeStefano primarily treats patients who have early-stage breast cancer that is curable with surgery and treatment. While DeStefano will provide care at both the Cedars-Sinai main campus and Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, much of her time will be spent at the outpatient Cedars-Sinai Cancer location in Tarzana. Read more>


Cedars-Sinai Selects Chief Information Officer

Craig Kwiatkowski, PharmD, has been named senior vice president of Enterprise Information Services and chief information officer. Kwiatkowski will lead Cedars-Sinai’s efforts to identify and deploy the latest developments in technology to optimize patient care, education, research, and community service. He will also help lead efforts in advancing Cedars-Sinai's capabilities in artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics. Read more>


A Clearer Picture of Multiple Sclerosis

Using advanced techniques for imaging the brain and eyes, along with new biomarkers, researchers in the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai are working to present a clearer picture of multiple sclerosis. New techniques, led by Pascal Sati, PhD, director of the Neuroimaging Program in the Department of Neurology, and Omar Al-Louzi, MD, director of the Visual Outcomes Laboratory, could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Read more> 


Cell-Derived Therapy May Help Repair Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Vesicles secreted from human heart cells may repair damaged tissue and prevent lethal heart rhythm disorders, according to a new study led by Eugenio Cingolani, MD, director of the Cardiogenetics-Familial Arrhythmia Program in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. The research, published in the European Heart Journal, could lead to a new way to treat a heart rhythm problem called ventricular arrhythmia—a top cause of sudden cardiac death. Read more> 


Manufacturing Stem Cells in Space

Scientists in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute are elevating the next generation of stem cell and gene therapies using the near-zero gravity conditions of spaceflight. The two-year mission, funded by a $2 million grant from NASA, will help investigators determine if the microgravity conditions in space can improve stem cell production. The research is being led by Clive Svendsen, PhD, and Arun Sharma, PhD. Read more> 


Pregnant Women's Cardiometabolic Health

A study led by Natalie A. Bello, MD, MPH, associate professor of Cardiology and director of Hypertension Research at the Smidt Heart Institute, found that women who are single, have government health insurance or possess low health literacy at the time of their first pregnancy are more likely to develop health conditions that can lead to cardiovascular problems. The findings are published in American Heart Journal Plus: Cardiology Research and Practice. Read more>


Scientist Elected to Leadership Role for the ISSCR

Clive Svendsen, PhD, executive director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, has been named an executive board member and officer for the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). He was voted in as treasurer and will start the role following the ISSCR Annual Meeting in June. Svendsen, a recognized leader in regenerative medicine, is one of six officers selected to run the society. Read more> 


Structured Patient Care Improves Outcomes for IBD Patients

Making simple changes in the way care is delivered to patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) improves outcomes and reduces healthcare emergencies. These changes also lower the high cost of IBD patient care, according to two studies led by Gil Melmed, MD, director of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Research, and gastroenterologist Christopher Almario, MD, MSHPM. The two studies were published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Read more> 


Unlocking Genetic Causes of Heart Disease

In this Q&A, Eugenio Cingolani, MD, director of the Cardiogenetics Program in the Smidt Heart Institute and associate professor of Cardiology, and Evan Kransdorf, MD, PhD, associate director of Heart Transplant Research and Education, share the latest research news regarding dilated cardiomyopathy and how they are working to identify genetic risk factors for cardiomyopathy and other inherited forms of the condition. Read more> 


Interim Findings Show Promise in Decreasing Shortness of Breath From Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A new drug shows promise in providing relief to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients experiencing shortness of breath, according to research led by Florian Rader, MD, associate professor of Cardiology and medical director of the Hypertension Center. The late-breaking research was presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session. Read more> 


Update: Cedars-Sinai’s L.A. Barbershop Study

During the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, researchers in the Smidt Heart Institute provided new data on the landmark clinical trial that targeted the hypertension epidemic in the Black community. The updated research, led by Christine M. Albert, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Cardiology, included interviews with participants to determine key components that would be needed to successfully replicate or scale up the intervention. Read more>


How Will Computational Biomedicine Transform Healthcare?

In this Q&A, Jason Moore, PhD, chair of Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Computational Biomedicine, discusses the history of this relatively new field that brings together mathematics, statistics, and computer science and computer technology. Moore also addresses important questions in biomedical research and healthcare, including how to mine big data and the future of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Read more>


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