MUSC sets new research record with 15% jump over 2019 see more
The Medical University of South Carolina has broken its own record as the state’s leader in garnering extramural funding for biomedical research. MUSC set a new high-water mark in FY2021, bringing in more than $328 million. The previous MUSC record for annual biomedical research funding was more than $284 million, set in FY2019.
“Being the state’s leader in biomedical research funding year after year is a significant accomplishment, and we applaud the passion and expertise of our dedicated scientists and their teams,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “Even so, reaching another record-breaking number is not an end in itself. The true impact of MUSC research is reflected in how we translate discoveries into new modalities of care and life-changing therapeutics. Research is a dynamic force that fuels how we fulfill our mission to lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” he added.
Lori McMahon Ph.D., vice president for Research, called the accomplishment outstanding, especially during a period when being awarded research grant funding has become more intensely competitive than ever before. No other publicly assisted academic institution in South Carolina consistently garners near $250 million in research funding year after year.
MUSC research focuses on a wide variety of areas including cancer, community health, drug discovery, health disparities, inflammation and fibrosis, neuroscience, oral health, stroke and addiction.
Grant is administered by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke see more
The Greenwood Genetic Center’s (GGC) Rich Steet, PhD, Director of Research, and Heather Flanagan-Steet, PhD, Director of Functional Studies, have secured a renewal of their long-standing grant titled 'Pathogenic Mechanisms of Lysosomal Disease.'
The R01 grant, which is administered by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides $1.2 million over four years to continue the team's ongoing work to better understand the mechanisms behind lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs).
The duo has spent years studying the function of lysosomes and how their abnormal function results in the clinical features associated with LSDs. While the clinical features vary between different types of LSDs, common findings include coarse facial features, cardiac and skeletal anomalies, learning difficulties, and a shortened life span.
Prior research under this grant focused on a single disorder, mucolipidosis type II (MLII). The research team has made significant progress in understanding how MLII symptoms develop, and they have been able to successfully treat cardiac and skeletal disease manifestations in their zebrafish models. This breakthrough has fostered collaborations to advance treatment studies into a mammalian model with the ultimate goal of developing an effective therapy for patients with this rare disease.
"We are pleased that our prior work on LSDs has been so fruitful and that we are able to continue to move toward better understanding and novel treatment options for families impacted by these rare disorders," said Steet.
The primary hypothesis for this new round of funding is that the mechanisms identified in MLII are similar across other LSDs, which could lead to novel therapies for several disorders.
The grant renewal will also allow the research team to expand their work on the NUS1 gene which came to the team's attention through functional studies on a GGC patient.
Through both cellular and zebrafish experiments, researchers were able to confirm that this patient’s NUS1 variant was pathogenic, and they were also able to identify the likely mechanism and a possible therapy.
"Zebrafish that mimic this NUS1 variant not only exhibited a movement disorder as seen through abnormal swimming patterns, but they also displayed significant accumulation of cholesterol in their lysosomes," said Flanagan-Steet. "By using an FDA-approved small molecule, we were able to reduce cholesterol storage in the zebrafish and restore normal swimming behaviors."
The additional funding through the grant renewal will also help the research team to refine how the storage of cholesterol in the lysosomes occurs in patients with NUS1 mutations and why it leads to neurological symptoms and movement disorders.
"After completing 13 years of research through this grant funding, we are excited by the potential to further unravel the mysteries of lysosomal storage disorders and identify novel treatments that can help GGC patients and the thousands of others who are impacted by LSDs," said Steet. "While this renewal continues to support our ongoing basic research, it also allows us to expand our work into patient-specific projects here at GGC."
About Greenwood Genetic Center
The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization advancing the field of medical genetics and caring for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. At its home campus in Greenwood, South Carolina, a talented team of physicians and scientists provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics. GGC’s faculty and staff are committed to the goal of developing preventive and curative therapies for the individuals and families they serve. GGC extends its reach as a resource to all residents of South Carolina with satellite offices in Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Greenville. The GGC Foundation provides philanthropic financial support for the mission of the Center. For more information about GGC or the GGC Foundation please visit www.ggc.org.
Blue Sky Award winners will be first to use ambulance-mounted portable scanners to monitor stroke patients en route to the hospitalMUSC team the first to place MRI in the back of an ambulance, drive around and take pictures see more
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at MUSC has received an inaugural Blue Sky Award for their study to determine whether equipping ambulances with a portable MRI scanner could reduce the time to treatment for South Carolina stroke patients in a cost-effective way. The team is led by MUSC Health neuroradiologist Donna Roberts, M.D., a professor in the College of Medicine, and evaluation expert Jillian Harvey, Ph.D., an associate professor in the College of Health Professions at MUSC. The Blue Sky Award, which will provide $100,000 in funding to test the feasibility of the idea, was created to reward such creative, out-of-the-box thinking and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
When a patient experiences a stroke, the clock starts ticking for receiving effective, emergent care. For patients with strokes caused by blood clots, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an important clot-busting drug, can help clear blocked vessels if given within a narrow time window. Because tPA carries a risk for increased bleeding, scans are needed before treatment to ensure that the stroke is not a brain bleed.
“We know that the faster we treat people, the better the outcomes and the lower the risk of complications from the tPA,” said MUSC Health stroke neurologist Christine Holmstedt, D.O., a professor in the College of Medicine and a collaborator on the project.
MUSC Health has worked to dramatically shorten its door-to-needle time – the time from when a patient enters the hospital until the tPA is infused. For example, stroke neurologists already conduct virtual pre-scan evaluations of patients en route to the hospital, shrinking the time to treatment from 40 to 20 minutes. However, Roberts and her colleagues thought more could be done to cut the crucial time lost while patients are transported to the hospital. Enjoy the complete article here, compliments of MUSC Catalyst News.
MUSC researchers using genetics to tackle health disparities see more
Quenton Tompkins’ family tree is deeply rooted in rural McCormick County, South Carolina.
His grandfather was a sharecropper in McCormick. His mother, who turns 88 this month, grew up as the youngest of 24 children. Branches of aunts, uncles, and cousins now stretch from Florida to Chicago.
And although 48-year-old Tompkins has heard plenty of stories, his family holds its secrets, too.
He didn’t know until he was an adult that his grandfather died of leukemia. And he’s still unsure if his father’s bout with prostate cancer runs in the family. Tompkins’ mother and her siblings have dealt with a range of health issues, including diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes, but he still doesn’t know what killed his grandmother more than 70 years ago.
“Those are questions I go through personally,” said Tompkins, a lobbyist for the Medical University of South Carolina. “There’s another side to knowing where you come from.”
Twenty-two years ago, President Bill Clinton announced the completion of a “draft version” of the Human Genome Project, a breakthrough he described as “the language in which God created life.” He predicted that scientists, armed with genetic discoveries, would find cures for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes in the coming years.
Clinton’s prediction, of course, hasn’t yet come to pass. But researchers in Charleston are hopeful that a large genetics research project underway across South Carolina may help scientists address some of the state’s persistent health disparities, which disproportionately impact its Black residents and regularly rank among the nation’s worst. Enjoy the rest of this article compliments of Kaiser Health News.
Informatics and data science in serving specific populations who are experiencing health inequities see more
With $1.2 million in funding from the National Library of Medicine, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Clemson University will establish a new training program that aims to make future data scientists more aware of health inequities. It will also build career development pipelines in biomedical data science for students from underrepresented minorities. The program will place special emphasis on using data science to address the toll chronic illness takes on rural communities.
South Carolina is the ideal location for a training program focused on addressing health inequities. Forty-three of its 46 counties, many of them rural, are designated as completely or partially medically underserved by the Health Resource and Services Agency (HRSA). South Carolina ranks 42nd for life expectancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), due in part to its high levels of chronic disease. The state has the eighth highest rate of diabetes (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control) and sixth highest rate of stroke deaths (CDC) in the nation.
The leaders of the SC BIDS4HEALTH training program believe that harnessing big data could help to change that. Click to continue reading the full story, compliments of MUSC Catalyst News.
Moterum selected to present at prestigious medtech conference in Chicago, IL see more
Southeastern medtech company develops mobility solutions for patients suffering from strokes, neural traumas; forum convenes investors seeking leading-edge advances in health and life sciences
GREENVILLE, S.C. – July 11, 2018 – Moterum Technologies Inc., a South Carolina-based mobility and gait rehabilitation development company, has been selected to present at the prestigious Cavendish BioHealth Impact Forum July 17-18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Forum provides an environment for organizations and investors to further their strategic social impact investing, grant-giving, and philanthropy programs in support of health and life sciences advances.
Co-hosted by Cavendish Global, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, and MATTER, the Forum showcases presentations and panel discussions by leading research institutions, private-sector companies, nonprofit organizations, and foundations engaged in developing innovations with the potential for transformational impact on disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Cavendish BioHealth Impact Forums are hosted by leading institutions around the United States and take place several times each year.
Moterum Technologies is one of 10 featured organizations invited to present their solutions at the Chicago Conference. An innovative medical technology development company, Moterum’s focus is designed to help resolve mobility and gait problems for patients suffering a neural trauma, such as a stroke. Its lead product is a fully connected, smart device that teaches stroke patients how to re-learn walking in their own home.
“We are honored to be selected to present at the 2018 Chicago Forum, and value the recognition it will provide of our innovative approach to helping stroke survivors walk independently and without a limp or asymmetry,” said David Huizenga, CEO of Moterum Technologies. “Our device can be used at home and is fully connected and positioned for telehealth systems, making it a viable solution for developed and developing health systems alike. We welcome the chance to interact with many of the world’s most accomplished scientists, thought-leaders and generous philanthropic individuals and families who are all dedicated to improving the health and lives of people around the world.”
The Cavendish community consists of over 200 leading family offices, foundations and impact investors from around the world with combined assets of over $225 billion who share a passion for pro-social endeavors within health and the life sciences. The Cavendish BioHealth Impact Forum provides impact investors with a curated, peer-to-peer knowledge expansion and relationship building environment, and seeks to accelerate technological innovation and health access through sustainable philanthropy, grant-making and impact investing. The Forum is also an opportunity for impact investors to champion and share information on projects and organizations, which they are passionate about with other impact investors from around the world.
“With the help of our expert team, Selection Committee and advisors, we conduct a global search of research institutions and private-sector companies in order to identify organizations that meet the required standard of excellence,” said J. Michael Moffat, Chairman of Cavendish Global. “The quality and originality of Moterum Technologies’ research and scientific insights in treating gait problems of stroke survivors positions them to make a major contribution to global health by helping stroke survivors retake an independent position in society.”
For further information on Moterum Technologies, visit www.moterum.com.
About Moterum Technologies Inc.
Moterum Technologies is an innovative medical technology development company that focuses on solving mobility and gait problems for patients suffering a neural trauma, such as a stroke. Its lead product is a fully connected, smart device that teaches stroke patients to relearn how to walk in their own home.