Department of Pathology News

A New Therapeutic target and Potential Biomarkers Identified in Alzheimer's Disease

Significant progress has been made over the past two decades on the pathogenesis of individual neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, different neurodegenerative syndromes have been mainly studied mechanistically in isolation. There has been a lack of concerted effort to ascertain whether and how these pathogenic processes may be linked to one another. In the most recent issue of journal Acta Neuropathologica, Dr. Mingkuan Sun, William Bell and Katherine LaClair, co-first authored a report about cryptic exon incorporation in Alzheimer's disease cases exhibiting TDP-43 pathology. This is the first evidence on how loss of TDP-43 function from neurons, a common shared feature with ALS and FTD, could contribute to pathogenesis of AD.

It has been known for years that other factors besides Aβ and tau also contribute to neurodegeneration and cognitive failure in AD. The most convincing evidence is that 20-40% of cognitively normal older individuals have levels of Aβ and tau pathology that are indistinguishable from patients with severe clinical symptoms of AD. Recent work showed that non-canonical pathologies occur in up to 75% of AD cases, including TDP-43 proteinopathy, α-synuclein "Lewy bodies", and tau "Pick bodies" that are associated with neurodegeneration in separately classified diseases. TDP-43 proteinopathy is characterized by cytoplasmic aggregation of the transactivation response element DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) accompanied by its nuclear clearance, and was first identified in another neurodegenerative disease spectrum, ALS-FTD. Identified as an essential gene, TDP-43 is also required for aspects of neuronal physiology in mice, fruit flies and zebrafish. Notably, TDP-43 proteinopathy is one of the most common non-canonical pathologies observed in AD cases and is strongly associated with worsened neurodegeneration and cognition, suggesting a convergent mechanism of neurodegeneration with ALS and FTD.

In their paper, Sun et al. found that cryptic exon incorporation occurred in all AD cases exhibiting TDP-43 pathology. Furthermore, incorporation of cryptic exons was observed in the hippocampus when TDP-43 inclusions was restricted only to the amygdala, the earliest stage of TDP-43 progression. Most importantly, cryptic exon incorporation could be detected in AD brains lacking TDP- 43 inclusions, but exhibiting nuclear clearance of TDP-43. These data support the notion that the functional consequence of nuclear depletion of TDP-43, as determined by cryptic exon incorporation, likely occurs as an early event of TDP-43 proteinopathy and may have greater contribution to the pathogenesis of AD than currently appreciated. This study has opened new direction in AD research as early detection and effective repression of cryptic exons in AD patients may offer important diagnostic and therapeutic implications for this devastating illness of the elderly.

Co-authors were Jonathan Ling, Heather Han, Yusuke Kageyama, Olga Pletnikova, and Juan Troncoso of Johns Hopkins Brain Resource Center. The work was supported in part by the Johns Hopkins Neuropathology Pelda fund and the NIH Grant to Dr. Philip Wong; McKnight Award for Memory and Cognitive Disorder and the Johns Hopkins Alzheimer's Disease Research Center pilot grant to Dr. Liam Chen.


~June 2017

Business Insider Interview with Dr. Anne Le, MD, HDR

The article highlights the translational aspect of cancer metabolism into clinical trials as a novel therapy for cancer patients. Business Insider solicited Dr. Anne Le's scientific opinion of how it works and what these treatments look like so far.

The idea is a simple one: Starve out cancer cells.

But finding the right way to do that isn't nearly as simple. Cancer cell metabolisms - the process of converting food into energy - worked differently than normal cells.

Cancer cells tend to take in more glucose than normal cells, a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect. It's named after the German scientist Otto Warburg, who first observed in the early 1900s that cancer cells didn't need as much oxygen to metabolize sugar as normal cells. The Warburg effect is estimated to occur in roughly 80% of cancers.

That different metabolic process opens up the opportunity to target just cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched. While the Warburg effect has been around for close to 100 years, it's only been in the past decade that researchers have figured out ways to use it in treatments, Dr. Anne Le, a professor at Johns Hopkins who researches the cancer metabolism, told Business Insider.

It's why Le and her colleagues and companies like Agios Pharmaceuticals are working on drugs that target the metabolism of cancer cells.

Here's how it works
While a normal cell goes through a whole life cycle (gets born, ages, makes new babies, then dies), cancer cells get stuck at the baby stage. While there, they just make more and more of themselves.

The drugs do that by pinpointing enzymes that are key to the cancer cell's metabolism, and acting on those. In order to take the treatment, a person first has to have that specific enzyme in their system.

What these treatments look like so far
Agios's first drug, enasidenib, is a pill that treats acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. That one's in front of the FDA right now, and could be approved by August 30. Agios also has a treatment for bile duct cancer, as well as a treatment for a rare genetic disease. Beyond that, there are still thousands of metabolic enzymes that still haven't been targeted.

On Wednesday, Agios came out with new data on its phase 1/2 trial, which will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference. Out of 176 patients in the trial, 40% had an overall response rate (meaning the cancer responded and shrank by a certain amount), with 19% going into remission. The patients had a median response rate of 5.8 months.

Even with the progress in the last decade the field of cancer metabolism, Le wants everyone to know that it's not simple. As new treatments go through development in the coming years, cancers may be able to adapt and work around these drugs.

http://www.businessinsider.com/agios-pharmaceuticals-and-cancer-cell-metabolism-2017-5


~June 2017

Blood Drive

Howard County General Hospital and the American Red Cross are hosting an upcoming blood drive.
Please join our lifesaving mission and schedule an appointment today!

Drive Details:
Site: Howard County General Hospital
Address: 5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD, 21044
Room Name: Bloodmobile
Date: Fri Jun 23, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00: PM
Coordinator Name: Tracy Anderson

Click here to make an appointment.

Please schedule your life-saving donation TODAY! Your donation counts and can help save up to 3 lives each time you donate. Some donors are away on vacations, but the need still remains. Bring your friends and family to this life saving event. Use Rapid Pass to save up to 15 minutes off of your donation time. Visit RapidPass to learn more.

The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime.

Thank you for supporting the American Red Cross blood program!

Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App on the App Store, Google Play or text BLOODAPP to 90999. Schedule appointments, get rewards and invite friends to join you on a lifesaving team.


~June 2017

New Grant Funding Opportunities Available

SPORE logo Career Development project grant applications are now available to support investigators involved in projects related to cervical cancer. Priority will be given to investigators focusing on translational research projects, as well as to projects related to the cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus. Investigators performing basic research that has obvious, near-term potential application will also be considered. Funds for the career development project program are provided by our NCI Cervical Cancer SPORE grant.
Download the submission guidelines.
Deadline for submission July 21, 2017

Pilot Project grant applications are now available to support new projects in advanced cervical cancer related research. Priority will be given to translational research projects as well as to projects related to cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus. Basic research that has obvious, near-term potential application will also be considered. Funds for the pilot project program are provided by our NCI Cervical Cancer SPORE grant.
Download the submission guidelines.
Deadline for submission July 21, 2017.


~June 2017

Unusual Mutations in Endometriosis

Endometriosis in the peritoneal tissue forming a scar
Hopkins team in collaboration with a Canadian group publishes a paper in New Engl J Med revealing the genetic landscape of endometriosis for the first time. Participant faculties from Pathology department include Drs. Ayse Ayhan, Michael Noe, Laura D Wood, Ren-Chin Wu (a prior Pathobiology graduate student), Tian-Li Wang, and Ie-Ming Shih.

Read the full article.


~May 2017

40 Under Forty

ASCP's 40 Under Forty

Two of our faculty members, Ashley Cimino-Mathews, M.D. and Eric Gehrie, M.D., S.M., have been honored as part of ASCP's 40 Under Forty, which recognizes influential pathologists under the age of forty. Congratulations, Ashley and Eric!


~May 2017

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Class of 2017
To celebrate their graduation, our graduating residents made a trip to the top of the Dome and had a chance to view Hopkins in perspective of Baltimore's skyline with Drs. King, Steenbergen and Hruban. Best wishes to the class of 2017!

Class of 2017


~May 2017

Congratulations, Dr. Armen Khararjian!

Lab Week 2017
Armen was awarded the Frank L. Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence by the Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence (MCACE). This honor is awarded annually to the resident in each program who exemplifies clinical excellence. The MCACE defines clinical excellence as achieving a level of mastery in the following 6 areas as they relate to patient care:
i. communication & interpersonal skills,
ii. professionalism and humanism,
iii. diagnostic acumen,
iv. skillful negotiation of the healthcare system,
v. knowledge,
vi. scholarly approach to clinical practice, and exhibiting a passion for patient care, and explicitly modeling this mastery to medical trainees.

Congratulations Armen!


~April 2017

Congratulations, Dr. Eric Gehrie!

Dr. Eric Gehrie The educational blog "Blood Bank Guy" just published a new podcast episode today featuring our very own, Dr. Eric Gehrie. In this blog Eric discusses complications resulting from transfusion to patients with sickle cell disease, primarily alloimmunization. Congratulations, Eric!


~April 2017

Continuing Medical Education

CME May 2017Stars of the American Registry of Pathology Fascicles; Past, Present, and Future, in Partnership with Johns Hopkins Pathology

May 20-21, 2017
Chevy Chase Bank Conference Center
The Sheikh Zayed Tower

click here for more info
download the brochure


~April 2017

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 23-29

Lab Week 2017
The Department of Pathology celebrates National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 23-29, 2017. The Department thanks all of its employees for their dedicated service and commitment to patient care.

To celebrate Lab Week: Lab Week Tours - April 24-27, 2017.


~April 2017

Fred and Janet Sanfilippo Visiting Professor - Deborah Powell, M.D.

Our thanks to Deborah Powell, M.D., of the University of Minnesota, who presented at Pathology Grand Rounds on April 3, 2017. Dr. Powell, our third Fred and Janet Sanfilippo Visiting Professor, gave a thought-provoking presentation on medical education. In her talk entitled "Moving Toward Competency-based Advancement: EPAs in Medical Education," Dr. Powell presented a new competency-based medical education program in which students are advanced as they achieve well-defined competencies. The event also served as an opportunity to congratulate recipients of the Fred and Janet Sanfilippo Awards (Drs. Meaghan Morris, Michael Haffner, and Tasha Larman), and to thank Fred and Janet for their philanthropy.

Sanfilippo 1 Sanfilippo 2 Sanfilippo 3 Sanfilippo 4


~April 2017

Congratulations, Sonja Vozniak!

Sonja Vozniak
Top row: Julie Kubiak, R.N., Bryan Barshick, R.N., and Lisa Purdy, R.N.
Bottom row: Dr. Stephen Sisson, Dr. Deborah Baker, Sonja Vozniak, R.N., Dr. Renay Tyler, and Louanne Morell, R.N.

Congratulations to Sonja Vozniak, R.N., Nurse Clinician III, of Pathology's HATS Division (Hemapheresis And Transfusion Support), the recipient of the 2016 Renay Tyler Ambulatory Nursing Leadership Award. Sonja was recognized for improving the quality of care and experience of her patients, for her innovative approaches to problem-solving, for being a role model and mentor, and for demonstrating the highest level of integrity, respect and collegiality. Sonja is seen as an outstanding resource for both the nurses and physicians, a great asset to her peers and is responsible for their training and competencies. Furthermore, you never see Sonja without a smile on her face and a willingness to help! We in the Department of Pathology are proud of Sonja and very grateful for her commitment to our patients.


~March 2017

New research shows how heart inflammation can progress into heart failure in mice.

Slide image of eosinophils infiltrating a heart.
Led by Dr. Daniela Čiháková, a new research study reveals that eosinophils are partly responsibe for the progression of myocarditis into heart failure in mice. read more


~March 2017

USCAP 2017

We had another wonderful reception at the 2017 meetings of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology in San Antonio, Texas. Here are some photos from USCAP!


~March 2017

Congratulations, Dr. Laura Wood!

Dr. Laura Wood Laura received the 2017 Jack Yardley Young Investigator Award at the USCAP meetings in San Antonio. This award recognizes seminal contributions or a significant body of published work, by an investigator under the age of 50, that advances the field of gastrointestinal pathology. The "torch has been passed" to a new generation of pathologists, and we are all proud that Dr. Wood is upholding Dr. Yardley's legacy!


Dr. Laura Wood Dr. Laura Wood


~March 2017

New Surgical Neuropathology app is in the iTunes store!

Surgical Neuropathology app
Congratulations Drs. Fausto Rodriguez and Charles Eberhart. Their new iPAD application (APP) is now available in the iTunes Store.
This beautiful APP contains over 800 stunning images, and a novel algorthimic approach to the diagnosis of the most common entities encountered in surgical neuropathology. Click here to learn more.

Congratulations Fausto and Charles!


~March 2017

Red Cross Blood Drives

Red Cross Blood Drive

There are many Red Cross Blood Drives scheduled for the Hopkins community-across all Hospitals and all locations-throughout 2017. Please click the image above to see the entire list. Please consider a donation to save lives.


~March 2017

Interview with Dr. Kathleen Gabrielson

 Dr. Gabrielson with Anna

Dr. Kathleen Gabrielson talked about her current research regarding the toxic effects of stress on the body. Read full interview.


~February 2017

Hopkins Tops NIH Funding for FY 2016

The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research just released the 2016 NIH funding numbers, and our department once again tops the list as the #1 funded pathology department! This continues a remarkable streak in which we have been the #1 funded pathology department for 9 of the last 10 years! Four of the top 25 most highly funded pathology investigators are from Hopkins (congratulations Drs. Nachman, S. Eshleman, TC Wu and D. Chan!). Most importantly, the broad and deep science in our department has real impact - it advances knowledge and helps fight human suffering.

From the BLUE RIDGE INSTITUTE for MEDICAL RESEARCH:

RankNamePathology
1 Johns Hopkins University$43,832,245
2 University of Pennsylvania$37,262,718
3 Emory University$34,460,238
4 Washington University$29,807,683
5 Columbia University Health Sciences$25,815,633

Click here to view the full list in Pathology.
To see the Ranking Tables of NIH Funding to US Medical Schools in 2016, click here.



~February 2017

Congratulations, Ovarian Cancer Research Team!

Richard Roden, PhD, Tian-Li Wang, PhD, and Ie-Ming Shih, MD, PhD

Richard Roden, Ph.D., Tian-Li Wang, Ph.D., and Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D., have received the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance Collaborative Research Development Grant. This award will help the team's research to test new and various treatment strategies for ovarian cancer. Read more


~February 2017

No. 1 cited article in The American Journal of Pathology in 2016. Congratulations to Dr. Kurman and Dr. Shih!

Dr. Kurman and Dr. Shih

We are proud to announce that the The American Journal of Pathology (AJP) named Dr. Kurman and Dr. Shih's manuscript "The Dualistic Model of Ovarian Carcinogenesis" as the most cited article published in the AJP in 2016. Each year the AJP releases a list of the top 10 most cited articles it has published that year. In addition, their previous manuscript with a similar title (published in 2004) has been named one of the most read articles ever published in the AJP!

Congratulations, Dr. Kurman and Dr. Shih!

Check out the article here.


~February 2017

Congratulations, Dr. Guobao Chen!

Dr. Guobao ChenDr. Guobao Chen from Dr. Cihakova's laboratory was just awarded the 2016 Myocarditis Foundation Fellowship Grant for the 2017-2018 Academic Year! Please read more about Dr. Chen's research.


~February 2017

"A Crime in the Cancer Lab"

Dr. Heather Ames
NY Times article "A Crime in the Cancer Lab" tells an intriguing science story featuring Pathology resident Dr. Heather Ames. Read the article to find out more!


~January 2017

Arnold Rich's College Notebook

Dr. Rich's College NotebookThe Department recently acquired a book of zoology notes and drawings created by Arnold Rich when he was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia (1912-13). This book contains a number of absolutely stunning illustrations created by Arnold Rich. They begin with Protozoa, progress through Annelida, and end with Mammals. The illustrations and accompanying text are presented in a systematic evolutionary order. While the book will be donated to the Chesney Medical Archives for safe keeping, we thought we would share some of the illustrations with you here. Enjoy!


~January 2017

Diversity Committee visits Morehouse School of Medicine

On January 12, 2017 representatives from the Pathology Diversity Committee visited Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The visit, led and organized by Dr. Marissa White, was intended to promote the field of Pathology among underrepresented minorities. Additional members of the committee included Drs. Alisha Gordy, Tricia Murdock, and Lysandra Voltaggio. Drs. White and Gordy offered a short presentation to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year medical students highlighting key aspects of our field and promoting our fully-funded Pathology Rotation for Underrepresented Minorities. The presentation (as well as the pizza!) was well-received with many follow-up questions and e-mails from interested students.

Morehouse School of Medicine

Morehouse School of Medicine


~January 2017

Check out our new Cytopathology Unknown Conference website!

Cytopathology Unknown Conference

The new Cytopathology Unknown Conference website features cases seen in our weekly Division of Cytopathology Unknown Conference, along with explanations. Learn more about Cytopathology today!

You can also view our world-renowned Surgical Pathology Case Conference website for Surgical Pathology cases.


~January 2017

Dr. Tim Amukele's drones featured on front cover of The Baltimore Sun

Drones for Blood

From the Sun: "Aerial drones could one day ferry life-or-death medical supplies between hospitals now that Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have figured out how to keep blood, medications and vaccines consistently cool during the flights..."

Read the article and watch the video.


~January 2017

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