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August Research Highlights

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

Artificial Intelligence More Accurate Than Technicians

In a first-of-its-kind randomized clinical trial led by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute and the Division of Artificial Intelligence at Cedars-Sinai, artificial intelligence proved more successful in assessing and diagnosing cardiac function when compared to echocardiogram assessments made by sonographers. The findings were presented by cardiologist David Ouyang, MD, at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2022. Read more>


Cedars-Sinai Team Pioneers Liver Cancer Blood Test

Cedars-Sinai Cancer investigators have created a blood test that uses a technology made commonly available during the COVID-19 pandemic to detect the most common form of liver cancer—at an early enough stage that cure is possible. The findings, led by Ju Dong Yang, MD, medical director of the Liver Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Hepatology. Read more>


New Data Shows COVID-19 Vaccine Does Not Raise Stroke Risk

Newly compiled data evaluated by researchers in the Department of Neurology and the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows that COVID-19 vaccines do not raise stroke risk—but that severe COVID-19 infection does. Physician-scientists hope this growing body of evidence, highlighted in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology and led by Alexis Simpkins, MD, PhD, will ease the minds of individuals still hesitant to be vaccinated. Read more>


Health-Tech Startups Join Cedars-Sinai’s Accelerator Class

During the three-month Cedars-Sinai Accelerator term, 10 companies from around the world receive an up-close look at clinical operations and a $100,000 investment. The program gives teams a chance to collaborate with doctors, researchers and administrators to understand how their products and solutions work in a real-world environment to benefit patients, clinicians and hospitals. Read more>


Genetic Score Detects Those at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death

Researchers in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai found using a polygenic risk score to be an effective way to identify coronary artery disease patients who are at highest risk for sudden cardiac death—an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes it to stop beating. The study, led by Christine Albert, MD, MPH, and Roopinder Sandhu, MD, MPH, was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read more>


Leader in Autoimmune Research Taking Helm of New Cedars-Sinai Institute 

Nunzio Bottini, MD, PhD, whose groundbreaking research focuses on the role of a group of proteins in the development of rheumatic diseases, has joined Cedars-Sinai as the inaugural director of the Kao Autoimmunity Institute. Bottini has been continuously funded by the NIH for his research in rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. Read more>


Racial Disparities in Minimally Invasive Surgery for Fibroids

Black and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely than white patients to undergo minimally invasive surgery for uterine fibroids, particularly involving hysterectomy, according to a new study led by Rebecca Schneyer, MD, and Matthew Siedhoff, MD, MSCR, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai. The findings are published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Read more> 


Investigators Honored With Rubenstein Award for Cancer Research

Aurash Naser-Tavakolian, MD, and Anthony Nguyen, MD, PhD, have won the 2022 Cedars-Sinai Rubenstein Award for Excellence in Resident Research for their cancer research. The annual award aims to foster clinical and translational research, enrich knowledge and encourage the development of residents across Cedars-Sinai as investigators. Read more>


New Method Detects Gut Microbes That Activate Immune Cells

Cedars-Sinai investigators have developed a method to help identify which human gut microbes are most likely to contribute to a slew of inflammatory diseases like obesity, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and some neurological diseases. The study is led by Ivan Vujkovic-Cvijin, PhD, an assistant professor in the Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Gastroenterology, and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Read more>


Study: Most People Infected With Omicron Didn’t Know It

More than one in every two people who were infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, didn’t know they had the virus, according to a new study from Cedars-Sinai investigators. The study, led by Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute, was published in JAMA Network Open. Read more> 


Cedars-Sinai Creates Computer Models of Brain Cells

Cedars-Sinai scientists have created bio-realistic and complex computer models of individual brain cells—in unparalleled quantity. Their research, led by Costas Anastassiou, PhD, and published in the journal Cell Reports, details how these models could one day answer questions about neurological disorders—and even human intellect—that aren’t possible to explore through biological experiments. Read more> 


Q&A With Heart Researcher James F. Dawkins

By applying his background in veterinary medicine, research scientist James F. Dawkins, DVM, has helped discover new ways to repair the human heart. He has worked on several groundbreaking investigations into how heart cells can be used to repair the body’s own tissues, but it wasn’t medical research he was initially interested in. In this Q&A, Dawkins shares how he transitioned from caring for horses to studying the heart. Read more> 


Study Provides Insight Into How the Intestine Repairs Damaged Tissue

Investigators at Cedars-Sinai and UCSF have identified a component in the intestine that plays a critical role in repairing damaged tissue. Scientists found that endothelial cells produce molecules that are essential for the maintenance and regulation of stem cells and tissues in the intestine. The study was led by Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, and published in Cell Stem Cell. Read more> 


Genetics May Predict Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy Response

Investigators from Cedars-Sinai Cancer have identified genetic signatures that could predict whether tumors in patients with bladder and other cancers will respond to immunotherapy. Their findings, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the National Cancer Institute, could one day help guide clinicians to the most effective treatments for cancer patients. The study was led by Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, and Sungyong You, PhD. Read more> 


Epidemiology, Biomarker and Clinical Outcome Researcher to Direct Liver Cancer Program

Ju Dong Yang, MD, a liver cancer clinician-researcher who studies epidemiology, health disparities and outcomes and biomarkers has been appointed medical director of the Liver Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Cancer. In his expanded role, Yang will create community-based education initiatives that will better facilitate the accrual of clinical trials. Read more>


New National Guidelines Aim to Prevent Obesity in Midlife Women

Cedars-Sinai experts teamed up with a national health group to recommend physicians address weight management for all middle-aged women to help prevent unhealthy weight gain that can lead to serious illness. The study review paper and clinical guidelines were led by Kimberly D. Gregory, MD, MPH, and are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Read more>


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