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Week of June 14 -18, 2010

Liquidia founder DeSimone teams up with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Nanocenter
The Triangle Business Journal
Joseph DeSimone, founder of Liquidia Technologies and holder of professorships at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State, has been appointed as an adjunct member at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Cancer Nanocenter. ...DeSimone is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, and founder of the nanobiotechnology firm Liquidia Technologies.

Top UNC cancer researcher appointed at Sloan-Kettering
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Joseph DeSimone, a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been appointed as an adjunct member at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Cancer Nanocenter. The appointment is part of a strategic alliance aimed at building Sloan-Kettering's capabilities in nanomedicine and broadening the geographic base of DeSimone's pioneering work based in North Carolina. DeSimone, who is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at N.C. State, and founder of the nanobiotechnology firm Liquidia Technologies, said his appointment will enhance a budding scientific alliance between UNC Lineberger, other institutions in North Carolina and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
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ECU med school scores well in 'social mission'
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
The medical school at East Carolina University ranks in the top 10 nationally for its efforts to train primary-care doctors and place them in the rural and poverty-stricken communities where they are needed most. ...UNC-Chapel Hill was in the middle of the ranking of what the researchers defined as a social mission, while Wake Forest University lagged in the lower third.

Boehringer Sex Pill May Not Aid Women, FDA Staff Say
Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH’s sexual desire drug flibanserin may not be effective or safe, according to U.S. regulators weighing whether to approve the first pill designed to boost women’s libidos. ...“This points to the brain as the important organ in desire, as central to the feminine experience of sexuality,” said John Thorp, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the lead investigator in North American drug trials sponsored by Ingelheim, Germany-based Boehringer. “This is a radical change.”

'Epidemic' growth of Net porn cited
The Washington Times
Congress must ensure that obscenity laws are enforced so that children are not exposed to pornography on the Internet, researchers and advocates of Internet safety said Tuesday. ..."Imagery definitely affects children," said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a forensic pediatrician and faculty member at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. "Adult pornography is a good example of giving children unhealthy sexual images."

Cancer study sees cultural factors in racial disparities
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Despite a high likelihood of death, black patients are much less inclined to have surgery for early stage lung cancer than whites, often because of a communication gulf between them and their doctors, scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill report today. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, UNC-CH researchers surveyed nearly 400 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer to determine what factors influenced their treatment decisions.

Antiretrovirals During Breast-Feeding Shield Babies From HIV, Study Shows
Healthday News
In sub-Saharan Africa, many mothers with HIV are faced with an awful choice: breast-feed their babies and risk infecting them or use formula, which is often out of reach because of cost or can sicken the baby due to a lack of clean drinking water. ... In the United States, HIV-positive women are typically given antiretrovirals during pregnancy to avoid passing HIV to their babies in utero or during labor and delivery. After the baby is born, women are advised to use formula instead of breast-feeding for the same reason, said senior study author Dr. Charles M. van der Horst, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Implantable Electrodes Target Pancreatic Cancer
Technology Review (Cambridge, Mass.)
Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill have designed an implant that precisely supplies chemotherapy drugs to hard-to-reach pancreatic tumors using an electric field. The approach, which Joseph DeSimone described during a presentation at the Koch Cancer Institute's summer symposium in Cambridge, MA, on June 11, involves implanting an electrode carrying a reservoir of the drugs directly into the pancreas. When a second electrode is pinned to the side of the body or implanted inside, an electric field can be generated, driving the drugs out of the reservoir and into the tumor. Tests on pancreatic tumors in mice showed promising results that the team hopes to publish in the coming months. 

UNC Researchers Probe Racial Cancer Disparity
WCHL 1360-AM (Chapel Hill)
UNC researchers conducted a study to examine why African-Americans are consistently less likely than white patients to seek surgery for lung cancer. Lead researcher and UNC Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Samuel Cykert (SIGH-kurt) spent more than five years working on the study and he recognizes the dangers of refusing treatment.

Scientists Reaffirm Therapies' Effectiveness in Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
Voice of America
According to the findings of two new studies, mother-to-child transmission of HIV during breastfeeding could be virtually eliminated through the timely use of anti-retroviral drugs...An international team led by Charles van der Horst of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine looked to see which treatment regimen gave newborns better protection - suppressing their mothers' HIV infections by giving the women the anti-retroviral drugs while pregnant or administering a drug syrup called nevirapine directly to the babies.

Giving Your Partner Herpes (Blog)
The New York Times
Can someone infected with herpes continue to have sex without giving it to their partner? Do cold sores, which are almost always caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), protect against genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 2? Can someone be infected with both types of herpes viruses? Those are among the questions recently posed by readers of the Consults blog. Dr. Peter Leone, an expert on sexually transmitted diseases and associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Public Health, responds.

Drugs keep babies from getting HIV
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
When a baby dies in a hospital in Malawi, Africa, you can hear everything. Family members, known as guardians, hurl their bodies against the ground, beating the floor with their fists and uttering heart-wrenching sobs. Dr. Charles van der Horst knows. The UNC-Chapel Hill professor of medicine spends three months each year in Africa, researching the transmission of HIV, the deadly virus that causes AIDS, to infants.

State debates how to fund life-saving metabolic formula
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
In an effort to save money, the state is proposing a different way to fund a supplement that doctors say some people with a rare condition – known as Phenylketonuria or PKU – need to live. Some physicians say they believe the change won't work and that people will be without a formula that allows them a more normal life. ...Dr. Joseph Muenzer, a UNC professor of pediatrics and genetics, said he worries Medicaid money may not be there and says private insurance often doesn't cover the cost. “We want a guaranteed source of funding,” he said. “Our concern is if it’s not there, these families will have irreversible harm occur if we can no longer give them formula.”


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