MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital achieves top rankings in annual U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s HospitalsMUSC SJCH only children’s hospital in South Carolina to be ranked see more
New rankings from U.S. News & World Report’s (USNWR) 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospitals survey place the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital once again as the only children’s hospital in South Carolina to be ranked. And, the hospital improved one ranking, to #11, in the Southeast region best children’s hospitals survey. The latest rankings are published online and indicate the herculean efforts health care workers provided during the second year of the coronavirus pandemic.
The highly recognized specialties for MUSC SJCH include the following national rankings: No. 4 for cardiology & heart surgery, No. 30 for nephrology, No. 31 for cancer and No. 41 for gastroenterology & GI surgery. This year, the MUSC Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center received the #1 spot in the nation ranking for outcomes. This phenomenal achievement recognizes that the pediatric and congenital heart center’s expected outcomes are the best in the nation. USNWR issues the annual rankings “to help families with complex and rare conditions find the best medical care for their children,” according to the publication’s website. They’re designed to steer parents and caregivers to the hospitals that are best equipped to treat their children.
The 16th annual rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. pediatric hospitals in each of 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.
“The U.S. News rankings recognize on a national stage that MUSC Children’s Health is a leader in pediatric health care and a safe and compassionate choice for parents seeking care for their child,” said Mark A. Scheurer, M.D., MUSC Children’s Health chief of clinical services.
This is the 15th consecutive year that the 4th-ranked cardiology & heart surgery program has made the overall Best Children’s Hospitals list. Criteria include the survival rate of patients after complex heart surgeries along with the level of specialized staff, services and technologies and the ability to prevent infections.
The nephrology program at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital ranks No. 30 in the U.S. That means it excels when it comes to the survival rate of children who have had kidney transplants, the management of dialysis and infection prevention and other factors. It maintains its status as the highest-ranked children’s kidney program in South Carolina. The program ranked #3 in the Southeast for overall care and the third best outcomes.
The GI & GI surgery program is no stranger to the U.S. News rankings, either. For the 15th year in a row, it made the grade, coming in at No. 41, one spot higher than last year. The rankings factor in the survival rate for children who have had liver transplants, the effectiveness of the hospital’s treatment of children who have inflammatory bowel issues and other key measures. Like all of the rankings, the GI rankings also include input from specialists in the field who responded to U.S. News surveys and recommend the hospital for serious cases in GI care. GI & GI Surgery ranked #8 in the Southeast region.
Finally, the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital’s cancer program ranks No. 31 on the list of Best Children’s Hospitals for Cancer. That’s a 13-level increase from last year’s ranking and a direct result of the #15 national ranking in outcomes. Cancer ranked #3 in the Southeast for overall care and achieved the best outcomes in the region. These rankings are based in part on the five-year survival rate for children with leukemia-related cancer, bone marrow transplant services, programs for brain tumors and sarcomas and infection prevention.
A critical criterion measured by USNWR is outcomes. Five of 10 MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital programs placed in the top 50 nationally for the outcomes portion of their respective survey, including:
GI / GI Surgery #37
For the second year, U.S. News featured regional rankings, and the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital tied at #11 for the Southeast region, which is one of the most competitive pediatric regions in the country. Four of MUSC’s pediatric specialties ranked in the top 10: cardiology & cardiac surgery #1, cancer #3, nephrology #3, and GI & GI surgery #8.
Current methodology combines clinical and operational data, results from a reputational survey of board-certified pediatric specialists and supplemental information from resources such as the National Cancer Institute. RTI International collects and analyzes the data for the rankings. The methodology reflects clinical outcomes, such as patient survival, infection rates and complications; the level and quality of hospital resources directly related to patient care, such as staffing, technology and special services; delivery of health care, such as programs that adhere to best practices and prevent infections; and expert opinion among pediatric specialists. This year, scoring also included an increased focus on the subjects of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; internal and external affiliations of experts; and clinical issues related to the pandemic.
“Our MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital care team members continue to be recognized for the outstanding care, service and commitment they provide, even in challenging times,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and executive vice president for Health Affairs, University. “The strength of our specialty outcomes is a testament to the quality of care our team members seek to provide to patients and their families on a daily basis.”
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.
XtremedX, LLC launches Temperature and Pressure Sensing Insole to detect diabetic foot problems earlyGreenville, SC organization prepares to move into new 50,000sf facility in Upstate see more
XtremedX, LLC, a medical device technology and product innovation company based in Greenville, SC has introduced the Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole, the newest addition to its product line.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole provides early detection of diabetic foot ulcerations (DFU) by incorporating flexible sensors in the shoe insoles of a diabetic patient experiencing peripheral neuropathy.
Real-time alerts are then sent to the patient, caregiver and physician, providing an earlier warning of issues and potentially preventing an infection that could result in amputation or an extended hospital stay.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole recently received top honors in the Innovation Challenge at WearRAcon 22, the annual international conference of the Wearable Robotics Association, which was held in Scottsdale, AZ.
In addition, the TAP Insole has been chosen as a Top 20 New Device for diabetes treatment by the Diabetes Centre Berne of Berne, Switzerland. Only two entries from the U.S. were selected for consideration in the competition, with top honors to be bestowed in mid-May.
XtremedX was selected as a 2021 Top BIOMECHANIC Solution Provider by Med Tech Outlook magazine. The company, which has two laboratory technology centers in Greenville where it develops products and prototypes, has research relationships with Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Duke University. The organization is preparing to expand into a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility in Greenville to provide room to accelerate manufacture of the insoles and other products.
Part of a $10 million funding round recently closed by company see more
South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA’s) investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc., has invested in Elastrin Therapeutics Inc.
The $300,000 investment will help the company advance the development of therapeutics that reverse damaged tissue making it supple again, SCRA officials said.
The Simpsonville-based biotech startup developed this technology, which restores hardened or damaged arteries and tissues by targeting the elastic fiber and removing the calcification that causes stiffening. Initial applications include reducing hardened arteries, de-calcifying heart valves, and treating diabetes and COPD.
Elastrin became an SCRA Member Company in 2018 and received a $25,000 Academic Startup Grant. It also received a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant in 2019.
Elastrin became an SC Launch Inc. Portfolio Company in 2022 when it received this first investment of $300,000. It also received a $50,000 grant during SCRA’s pandemic funding round for startups providing Covid-19 solutions.
Elastrin recently closed a $10 million funding round, which included this investment.
It also recently announced the formation of its scientific advisory board, comprised of leading industry and university experts in cardiovascular research and clinical development.
PMLS picks new Chief Commercial Officer for fast-growing organization see more
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) is announcing today Jeff Schmalz as their new Chief Commercial Officer. At PMLS, Jeff will be focusing on the major disciplines impacting lab growth including partnerships, product development, clinical outreach, sales infrastructure, customer service and marketing. With 35 years of experience in multiple healthcare organizations, he brings extensive knowledge in the diagnostics and reference lab markets.
In his latest role, he led the segment marketing and business development team responsible for integrating specialty labs, technology, and test launches that contributed to several hundred million in additional revenue growth. Jeff also oversaw the launching, branding, and commercializing of Lab Developed Tests (LTDS) over a period of 15 years for 25 test classes resulting in over $400M per year in revenue. He has founded, developed, and launched international partnerships to carry out his sales initiatives and maximize overall market share.
“I chose to work at Premier Medical Laboratory Services because they’re an innovative and nimble company with all of the components in place to make them a national leading specialty lab,” said Jeff Schmalz. “They lead with a forward-thinking approach to unmet needs within the healthcare industry and continually build on their capabilities to bring the most advanced medical diagnostics services for better patient outcomes…and that’s something I want to be a part of and advance forward.”
As a graduate and scholarship athlete from the University of Maryland, Jeff pursued an executive management MBA curriculum from the Kellogg School of Management. Since then, he has served as a board member for the Biomedical Marketing Association and successfully launched products at Abbot, Chiron, LabCorp, Digene, Bayer and Qiagen. He managed a team of 53 segment leaders, product managers, and marketing communication strategists by positive motivation, leading by example, and empowering them to make decisions and take initiative.
“We are at an integral phase in our growth here at Premier Medical Laboratory Services as a top lab with the mission to bring the most advanced diagnostics to our nation,” said Kevin Murdock, CEO and Founder of PMLS. “The level of talent and experience that Jeff Schmalz possesses will help us tremendously in fulfilling our vision of improving patient lives.”
ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including CLIA and COLA. With the most advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) easy to read one-page test result reports are generated with higher accuracy and a customizable report for each client. PMLS prides itself on having some of the most rapid turnaround times for testing results in the industry. Their expansive testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women's Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DIABETESPredict. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com
Zylö Receives $1,700,000 NIH Phase II Grant to Advance Erectile Dysfunction Program into Human TrialsFunds to be used for scale-up, implementation of cGMP quality system see more
Zylö Therapeutics Inc., developer of the transformational Z-pod™ topical delivery platform, has been awarded a $1,700,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to advance Zylö’s proprietary nitric-oxide-releasing topical drug candidate into clinical trials. The grant, titled “Development of microparticle-based topical treatments for treating erectile dysfunction [‘ED’] in patients refractory to oral PDE5 inhibitors,” was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (a division of the NIH).
The principal investigator of the project is Andrew Draganski, Ph.D., Zylö’s head of product development and adjunct professor at Clemson University; the primary collaborator is Kelvin Davies, Ph.D., professor of urology and professor of physiology and biophysics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Using ~$225,000 of NIH funds from a Phase I award, Zylö demonstrated compelling results in a radical prostatectomy rat model of ED, whereby the cavernous nerve of the rat is surgically severed such that the rat is sexually dysfunctional and does not respond to sildenafil (a.k.a. Viagra®) and other PDE5 inhibitors. With a single topical application of the nitric-oxide-releasing Z-pod™ formulation, the rats experienced 2.0 erections on average during the 60-minute observation period immediately following topical administration; when the rats were pre-dosed with a 1/10th human-equivalent dose of sildenafil/Viagra, the average number of erections increased to 4.6 and the time-to-initial-erection was approximately cut in half.
The goal of this Phase II work is to (i) test other PDE5 inhibitors (Cialis®, Levitra®, Stendra®), (ii) scale-up the manufacturing process and to overlay a cGMP quality program, (iii) conduct certain toxicity testing required for an Investigational New Drug [IND] application, and (iv) hold a pre-IND meeting with the FDA to secure feedback critical to successful development of the program.
If eventually approved, this Z-pod™-based drug candidate will target two distinct market segments, as follows:
- Men with ED secondary to radical prostatectomy: It has been reported that 86% of men that have undergone radical prostatectomy (which typically impacts the cavernous nerve) will suffer from ED, with no approved treatment available to them (just like with rats with severed cavernous nerves, these men do not respond to Viagra et al.)
- Men with the more typical ‘age-related’ ED symptoms that either do not respond well to the PDE5 inhibitors or cannot take the medication due to medication side-effects or drug interactions.
In the U.S. alone, these two market segments represent an addressable market of over $2 billion per year.
Andrew Draganski Ph.D. commented, “Zylö’s nitric-oxide technology is a potential breakthrough in the treatment of ED in men that are refractory to the PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra. This commitment by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestives and Kidney Diseases is quite validating, and we are grateful to the NIDDK for their funding.”
Added Jay Blankenship MD, Zylö’s head of business development, “We are enthused by the opportunity afforded by the NIH to advance our innovative approach to delivering nitric oxide through topical administration. This patent-pending technology holds great promise not just for ED, but for a myriad of other clinical applications such as wound-healing, atopic dermatitis, gingivitis, and sports recovery.”
About Zylö Therapeutics: Zylö has developed the Z-pod™ technology platform, a disruptive topical delivery system that extends the duration of effect, improves the solubility/targeting, and enhances the product performance of many therapeutic and cosmetic agents. Notably, the Z-pod™ technology has successfully harnessed the therapeutic potential of nitric oxide, one of the most powerful—and short-lived—biomolecules produced by our bodies. For more details, please visit our website, www.zylotherapeutics.com, and follow us on Twitter (@ZyloTherapies).
PMLS donates rapid antigen tests to Diabetes Education camps see more
Premier Medical Laboratory Services donates rapid antigen tests to Diabetes Education and Camping Association Camps
Many children with diabetes look forward to summer camp each year to, not only spend time with friends, but with other children who can relate to similar day-to-day obstacles that living with diabetes can present. The Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) unites the global diabetes camping community, providing leadership, education, and resources to make camps for those with diabetes more impactful. As most summer camps across the US resumed this year, diabetes camps were faced with the extraordinary obstacle of protecting children who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications due to diabetes. To bring summer camps for children living with diabetes back this year and to help protect these children, one of the nation’s largest laboratories, Premier Medical Laboratory Services, donated thousands of COVID-19 tests to DECA camps in 19 states across the nation, enabling them to safely return to camp this year.
“We know DECA and each of their camps do so much for the diabetes community - helping kids to learn how to manage the disease as well as support emotional wellbeing,” said Kevin Murdock, Founder and CEO of PMLS. “With diabetes being a global pandemic, it’s a large focus for Premier Medical Laboratory Services to provide top healthcare solutions for patients with diabetes. We are honored to help camps that improve the lives of children and adolescents with diabetes.”
For some children, a diabetes camp is their first opportunity to meet a friend who also has diabetes, or their first time staying somewhere without their parents. It’s a great place for them to adopt a new hobby or learn skills that give them more self-confidence. Along with the feeling of independence and support, diabetes camps have been shown to provide children with an increase in diabetes self-care abilities and decreased diabetes-specific distress. (1) For caregivers, diabetes camps provide a medically sound environment where they can feel assured that their children are safe and their diabetes care needs are met.
Terry Ackley, Executive Director of DECA added: “The safety of children with diabetes is the highest priority of diabetes camps. Covid-19 has presented significant challenges to the operation of diabetes camps this year. It has required that they carefully study their program delivery model and incorporate additional health and safety protocols following the newest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. A tool that is very important to safely serving children with diabetes at camp is Covid-19 testing. Premier Medical Laboratory Services approached the diabetes camping community to offer their much-needed support. Our community greatly appreciates their generous donation of a large quantity of rapid antigen tests to diabetes camps across the United States. Premier Medical Laboratory Services has been instrumental to the ability of diabetes camps to operate this year. Their support is helping children learn more about how to manage their diabetes, build resilience to living with this difficult health condition, develop cherished friendships and have lots of fun!”
Aside from offering COVID-19 testing and many other medical diagnostics solutions, PMLS is continually searching for innovative diabetes prevention and maintenance applications. With some of the most advanced testing panels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, PMLS also introduced to the US a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type 2 diabetes, which allows patients to know their risk of future onset of the disease determined by their individual genetic make-up. Along with this, Premier Medical Laboratory Services is currently working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on initiatives to bring soccer clinics to diabetes communities as part of their mission to improve patient lives both medically and through community outreach. PMLS is soon to announce more breakthrough solutions for diabetes care.
For more information on Premier Medical Laboratory Services, please visit www.premedinc.com or call 866-387-2909.
Multimillion-dollar grant to support heart health research at Clemson University see more
Clemson University bioengineers picked Valentine’s Day to announce $4.1 million in grants to support new heart health research.
Will Richardson and Naren Vyavahare are conducting research with the potential to affect millions of patients who suffer from many forms of cardiovascular disease and related illness, including heart failure, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to a university news release.
Richardson, an assistant professor of bioengineering, is creating computer models aimed at providing better treatment for cardiac fibrosis, a condition that contributes to heart failure. As many as 60% of patients die within five years of developing heart failure, which afflicts 6.5 million Americans, Richardson said in the news release.
No drugs have been approved to treat cardiac fibrosis specifically, and doctors are often left with trial-and-error experimentation when treating patients who have it, he said in the release.
Richardson said he hopes his research will lead to a day when measurements from a patient’s blood or tissue sample can be plugged into mathematical equations based on how molecules interact in the body. Overnight, patients would have personalized risk assessments and treatments plan, he said in the release.
Details about his research is available online.
Vyavahare, the Hunter Endowed Chair of Bioengineering, is working on what could be the first treatment to reverse vascular calcification, a condition that occurs when mineral deposits build up on blood vessel walls and stiffen them, according to the news release. It is most prevalent in aging patients and those with chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes, Vyavahare said. Complications from vascular calcification can range from hypertension to death.
The nanoparticles that Vyavahare is developing are many times smaller than the width of a human hair and would deliver two medicines to calcified blood vessels. One medicine would remove the mineral deposits that cause blood vessels to become calcified, and another would return elasticity to the blood vessels.
More details about his work is online.
The Richardson and Vyavahare projects were both funded through the National Institutes of Health’s R01 program. Richardson is receiving $1.9 million, and Vyavahare is receiving $2.2 million, the news release said.
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, congratulated Richardson and Vyvahare on their grants.
Agneta Simionescu, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has also received $1.38 million through the R01 program. The Simionescu award was announced in November and is aimed at better understanding cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, the news release said.
Richardson and Simionescu were among the faculty members trained as part of SC BioCRAFT, a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence. The center’s primary goal is to increase the number of South Carolina biomedical researchers who are supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Vyavahare leads SC BioCRAFT, which stands for the South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues.