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September Research Highlights

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

$25M Gift Creates Alfred E. Mann Precision Medicine Innovation Center

Alfred E. Mann Charities, Inc., has just announced a $25 million gift to the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors. The gift will establish the Alfred E. Mann Single Cell Precision Medicine Center at Cedars-Sinai, which will accelerate single-cell biology research being advanced at the Board of Governors Innovation Center. Read more>


Study: Pandemic Lifestyle Changes Altered the Gut Microbiome

Lifestyle changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic—such as increased hand washing and use of disinfectants—may have led to changes in the gut microbiome, according to a new study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences. The research, led by Ruchi Mathur, MD, suggests some of the lifestyle changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic may have inadvertently influenced the microbial composition of the small bowel. Read more>


Cedars-Sinai Selects Director of Digital Pathology Research

Cedars-Sinai recently announced the selection of Joshua Levy, PhD, as the new director of Digital Pathology Research. Levy also will hold a joint appointment in the Department of Computational Biomedicine. Read more>



New Uses for Existing Treatments: The Practice of Drug Repurposing

In 2021, Cedars-Sinai oncologist Jun Gong, MD, made a baffling observation that seemed to conflict with the accepted understanding of cancer metabolism. While attempting to starve pancreatic cancer cells by depriving them of amino acids (known to fuel cancer growth and spread), he noticed that cancer cells deficient in glutamine grew even faster. Read more>


Smidt Heart Institute Welcomes 2 Pasadena-Based Vascular Surgeons

Vascular surgeons Theodore Teruya, MD, and Sally Schonefeld, MD, have joined the Division of Vascular Surgery in the Smidt Heart Institute to provide care for Pasadena-area patients with vascular diseases at Huntington Health—an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai. Read more>


Cedars-Sinai Expert Selected to Lead California Maternal Health Panel

Cedars-Sinai maternal-fetal medicine leader Kimberly Gregory, MD, MPH, is the new chair of the California Pregnancy-Associated Review Committee (CA-PARC). Formerly known as the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (CA-PAMR), the committee conducts in-depth investigations of deaths during—and up to one year after— pregnancy. The goal is to identify the causes of maternal loss of life, and any contributing factors, in order to develop evidence-based recommendations for prevention. Read more>


Regenerative Medicine: How Scientists Manufacture Cells

Dhruv Sareen, PhD, executive director of the Cedars-Sinai Biomanufacturing Center, spoke with the Cedars-Sinai Newsroom about how the center supports medical research, and how a recent $2 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is helping further its mission. Read more>


Substance Abuse in Pregnancy Doubles Cardiovascular Risk

Pregnant women with a history of substance abuse—including cocaine, opioids, alcohol, amphetamine/methamphetamine, and cannabisface a dramatically increased risk of death from heart attack and stroke during childbirth when compared with women without a history of substance abuse. The Smidt Heart Institute study, led by Martha Gulati, MD, is published in the Journal of the American College of CardiologyAdvances. Read more> 


Cedars-Sinai Welcomes New Plastic Surgery Leader

Cedars-Sinai has selected Curtis L. Cetrulo Jr., MD, as the new vice chair of Research in the Department of Surgery, director of the Division of Plastic Surgery and director of Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation Program Development. Known for his innovative clinical care and research, Cetrulo is an international expert in complex adult and pediatric reconstructive microsurgery, hand surgery, breast reconstruction and burn reconstruction. He has pioneered procedures and treatments in the field of composite tissue transplants between individuals with different genotypes. Read more> 


Study: Long-Term Alcohol Consumption Plays Role in Pancreatitis Progression

Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with acute and repeated episodes of pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause severe abdominal pain and death. According to a new study led by Christie Jeon, ScD, and published in Gastro Hep Advances, early interventions aimed at eliminating heavy alcohol consumption and addressing frequent concurrent mental health and social factors could reduce the progression of this disease. Read more> 


Precision Medicine Specialist Joins The Angeles Clinic

Hematologist-oncologist Navid Hafez, MD, MPH, has joined The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Cancer, as director of Precision Medicine and Thoracic Oncology. Hafez will focus on clinical research programs to develop molecular and targeted therapies to treat cancers of the chest cavity, including lung cancers. He also will provide care for patients with thoracic cancer. Read more> 


Socioeconomics Affect Mitral Valve Repair Outcomes

Investigators from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai have found that community-level socioeconomic disparities are associated with worse three-year survival rates for patients with degenerative mitral regurgitation who had valve repair surgery. The findings, led by Jad Malas, MD, Michael Bowdish, MD, and Joanna Chikwe, MD, and recently published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, showed that patients from socioeconomically distressed communities had an approximate 20% increased risk of three-year mortality after their mitral valve repair, and an almost 30% increased risk of heart failure readmission. Read more> 


Spine Surgery Innovator and Leader Joins Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedics

Joseph H. Schwab, MD, MS, an internationally recognized leader in the diagnosis and treatment of complex orthopaedic and spinal oncology conditions, has joined Cedars-Sinai as the new director of Spine Oncology for Orthopaedic Surgery and the director of the Center for Surgical Technology and AI Research. Read more>            


Study: Prevalence of IBS Exceeds Previous Estimates

A large nationwide survey of 89,000 people conducted by Cedars-Sinai investigators, led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, and Christopher Almario, MD, MSHPM, found the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to be higher than previously reported: 6.1% compared with 4.7% to 5.3% in studies of significantly smaller sample sizes. The results of the representative study are published in the journal Gastroenterology. Read more>


New Medical Director Appointed at Cedars-Sinai Cancer in Beverly Hills

Hematologist-oncologist Kevin Scher, MD, MBA, an expert in patient-centric care with more than 10 years of experience on the Cedars-Sinai Cancer faculty, has been appointed medical director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer in Beverly Hills. In his new role, Scher will work with Cedars-Sinai Cancer and Cedars-Sinai Medical Network leadership to ensure the highest standard of care for cancer patients. Read more>       


A Path to Heart-Safe Chemotherapy

Investigators from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and Cedars-Sinai Cancer have collaborated to co-develop and test a new version of the chemotherapy workhorse doxorubicin. Their study, led by Arun Sharma, PhD, and Xiaojiang Cui, PhD, and published in Stem Cell Reports, concluded that the reformulated version is less toxic to the heart than the version in wide use since the 1960s. Read more>       


Redo Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Proven Effective, Safe

Cedars-Sinai investigators are leaders in the innovation and use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with balloon-expandable valves. They now show that redo TAVR procedures are both safe and effective when compared with situations in which patients with similar risk profiles undergo the same procedure for the first time. The novel findings, from a recent study led by Raj Makkar, MD, and published in The Lancet, are significant because recent randomized clinical trials have shown that TAVR is a meaningful treatment option for both younger and lower-risk surgical patients. Read more>

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