Researchers Identify Key Protein in Melanoma Growth

A protein that promotes abnormal growth in melanoma cells has been identified for the first time by a team of researchers led by Emily Bernstein, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences, and Dermatology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The novel discovery that the H2A.Z.2 protein is highly expressed in melanoma, appears to turn on the cell cycle, and makes melanoma cells grow faster, could also lead to therapeutic strategies that serve to inhibit cell proliferation. The results of Dr. Bernstein’s study were published in the July 2, 2015, issue of Molecular Cell. Read more

Annual Resident Research Fair

The Office of Graduate Medical Education at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt recently held its ninth Annual Resident Research Fair. Five judges reviewed 61 abstracts and three residents received a certificate and prize. The winning abstracts were: “Radial vs. Femoral Access in Acute Coronary Syndrome: Decrease in Mortality, Major Adverse Cardiac Events and Bleeding–An Update Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” presented by Abel Casso-Dominguez, MD; “Review of Ascites and Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis (SBP) Diagnosis and Treatment for Cirrhotic Patients at MSSLR–A Follow Up,” by Vijay Dalapathi, MD; and “Randomized Controlled Trial of Insulin Detemir vs. Insulin NPH for the Treatment of Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes,” by Kimberly Herrera, MD.

New Research Aims to Help People With Blood Cancers

A unique method of increasing the number of cord blood stem cells used to treat patients with blood cancers and blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, is being readied for clinical trials at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with an $8.8 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM).

The stem cells—also known as hematopoietic stem cells—are derived from the vein of the umbilical cord and help renew and replenish blood cells. They represent the only potential therapy for blood cancer patients who do not respond to chemotherapy. The new method is necessary to compensate for the limited number of stem cells that are typically found in blood cord collections and the fact that using stem cells from two or more blood cord collections is generally not a viable option because the blood cells are not identical. Read more

Advances in Heart Failure Research and Clinical Care

Mount Sinai scientists and clinicians are making notable advances in the study and treatment of heart failure, a common condition that occurs when the heart becomes too weak to pump and circulate enough blood through the body. Diseases that damage the heart—such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes—can lead to heart failure, which develops over time as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker. It impacts an estimated 5 million adults and children in this country. Read more

Exploring Diverse Microbes Among Remote Amerindians

A population of Amerindian hunter-gatherers, who until recently had lived in isolation in the remote Venezuelan Amazon, is yielding a trove of information for scientists at Mount Sinai who are studying their microbiome and finding the most diverse levels of bacteria and bacteria-encoded functions ever discovered in humans. The human microbiome—comprised of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies—is believed to play a critical role in the well-being of the host. Read more

Clinical Trial Reveals Benefits of Peanut Allergy Skin Patch

Mount Sinai researchers—leading the largest clinical trial on peanut allergy desensitization—have concluded that a skin patch that gradually exposes the body to small amounts of peanut allergen appears to be safe and effective, and holds promise as a potential treatment for peanut allergies.

Research results from the Phase IIb clinical trial were presented at the 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology by Hugh A. Sampson, MD, Dean for Translational Biomedical Research and Director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, who served as the Co-Principal Investigator of the study. Dr. Sampson is also Professor of Pediatrics, and Immunology, at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Read more

Study Reveals Mechanisms that Activate Depression

New research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai sheds light for the first time on how depression and emotional resilience operate on a molecular level. The findings, published in the December 4, 2014, issue of Nature, bring fresh perspective to an area that has eluded researchers for decades by outlining the mechanisms within cells that activate depression and laying the groundwork for new treatments. Current drugs for depression focus on neurotransmitters, or communication between cells, but identification of this novel biochemical pathway could pave the way for more effective drugs with very different mechanisms. Read more

Uncovering a Stronger Link Between Obesity and Genes

Researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, participating in the largest genetic study yet on obesity, have helped uncover stronger links between genes and body weight and body fat distribution.

The trailblazing discoveries were published in two companion papers in the February issue of the journal Nature, and were the result of a four-year international research project conducted by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium. Other key participating institutions included the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, the University of Michigan Health System, and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Read more