For most of us the word brain is synonymous with nerve cells or neurons. All of us are well familiar with the notion of the brain as a mega-computer where billions of neurons govern our life, from simplest tasks to the rare moments of discoveries. It may appear surprising to hear that the function of brain and neurons would not be possible without cells that do not participate in our thinking directly. Instead, these cells, that are called microglia, function as watchdogs of neuron’s functionality and health and remove neurons that stop acting properly.
Music is Medicine is a nonprofit run by a team of college students that pairs artists with pediatric patients through uplifting music programs. Through Music is Medicine’s Donate a Song project, artists write and record original songs for seriously-ill children to inspire the patients, share their stories of strength, and contribute to the greater fight against their diseases.
This past summer, Cindy, a 16 year-old girl battling cancer at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, met artists Sam Tsui and Elle Winter. The artists then went on to produce an original song called “Unsinkable” for Cindy. In the chorus Sam and Elle sing, “My heart’s unsinkable. Never doubt that things will get better. Can you feel the love? I’m never giving up.” Through the song, Sam and Elle motivate Cindy and people everywhere to never give up. At the same time, all proceeds for the song will benefit pediatric oncology research at Mount Sinai.
What is the future of stem cell research? Embryonic cells were once so controversial that President George W. Bush limited federal funding in 2001 (a policy that was overturned by President Obama in 2009). Now there is a new type of stem cell, similar to embryonic stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells. We’ve all heard the claims concerning the extraordinary potential of stem cells (be they embryonic or induced) in the treatment of human disease. What will be the first commonly used stem cell therapy?
Ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous and rapidly progressive disease of low prevalence and poor survival. In the United States the number of deaths attributed to ovarian cancer approximates that of all other gynecologic malignancies combined. Unfortunately, the majority (75%) of women diagnosed with ovarian carcinoma continue to have advanced stage disease (Stage III/ IV), with widespread metastases throughout the peritoneal cavity, lymph nodes, liver or lungs. Presently less than 20% of women with ovarian cancers are detected when the cancer is still confined to the ovary (Stage I).
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive brain tumor, known to be a highly invasive and rapidly spreading disease. Even with aggressive treatment such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, they are almost always incurable.
The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program is pioneering the use of electrical tumor treating fields to be used with conventional therapy. The device, manufactured by Novocure, is called NovoTTF and it is FDA approved for recurrent GBM. It consists of a head cap that produces changes in electrical fields, which is worn continuously.
Today’s standard therapies for cancer exist because people have participated in clinical trials – yet choosing to participate in a cancer clinical trial is an important personal decision that can be intimidating for many patients. In order to better help patients understand cancer clinical trials, the reasons to participate in them, and clinical research at Mount Sinai, The Tisch Cancer Institute has released a new video, “Clinical Trials at Mount Sinai: Moving the Field Forward.”
Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the Central Nervous System of debated etiology. While there is general consensus regarding the role of an active immune system in myelin destruction, the questions related to the initial events triggering immune system involvement remain unanswered and the identity of disease course modifiers is only partially understood. Epidemiological studies have suggested the possibility that disease onset and course are the result of an interaction between genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though much remains to be learned about the identity of the environmental factors and whether they can be modified. Among the proposed variables affecting MS are geographic location, smoking, vitamin D levels and the much debated diet and infections.
Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the single most common reason for regulatory actions concerning drugs, including failure to gain approval for marketing, removal from the market place and restriction of prescribing indications.
DILI is also a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in many patient populations. Due to its idiosyncratic nature, variable presentation and the vast number of potential causative drugs as well as herbal and dietary supplements, DILI is often diagnosed late in its course when patients have severe liver disease. DILI, including acute liver failure requiring liver transplantation, can happen anytime to anyone taking medications, even over the counter medications. Unfortunately, there are no tests to predict who is at risk nor to diagnose this problem. Read more
Significant advances in science are taking place, but translating them into clinical treatments for an array of human diseases is being hampered by public policies that are not aligned with the public good. That observation was articulated by Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, during a discussion on “What’s Holding Back Medical Progress?,” one of three talks in which he participated at the ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival, in Colorado, which ran from June 26 – July 2.
Mount Sinai’s Neuroscience Training Program offers predoctoral students an exciting and distinctive curriculum taught by a nationally and internationally recognized faculty, and a laboratory experience that builds on groundbreaking, cutting edge expertise in basic and translational neuroscience across a wide range of psychiatric and neurological disorders. A student’s training experience uniquely interfaces basic research within a clinical context by virtue of the close apposition of basic and clinical research and clinical treatment programs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Mount Sinai Hospital. Indeed, all graduate students take a class in clinical neuroscience where they meet patients with brain diseases.