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Posts Tagged ‘The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC)’

UTMC Among First Hospitals Participating in National COVID-19 Drug Study

The University of Toledo Medical Center is one of the first sites in the country to enroll patients in a National Institutes of Health study aimed at identifying promising COVID-19 treatments worthy of larger, more in-depth clinical trials.

The proof-of-concept study is intended to quickly screen out ineffective experimental treatments while rapidly advancing deployment of therapeutics that show significant benefit to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

“This is a very important project,” said Dr. Michael Ellis, an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at UTMC. “Right now, we have two primary treatments for COVID-19, the antiviral drug remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, but we critically need additional therapeutics. The purpose of this study is to quickly identify agents that could have a big impact in keeping patients off a ventilator, getting them out of the hospital sooner and reducing fatal infections.”

Dr. Michael Ellis

The trial will enroll patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who require oxygen or mechanical ventilation who consent to participate. In the initial portion of the trial, UTMC will be treating patients selected for the clinical trial with either risankizumab or lenzilumab, which are monoclonal antibodies directed at different parts of the inflammatory response that are being investigated as potential treatments for COVID-19.

Both experimental drugs in the study will be paired with remdesivir, which has shown benefit to patients with severe COVID-19 infections.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins based on the natural antibodies our immune system produces to fight off disease. Risankizumab was approved in 2019 for the treatment of severe plaque psoriasis. Lenzilumab is in late-stage development as a treatment for leukemia.

“As we treat COVID, our objectives are to stay safe, provide state-of-the-art care and participate in the public health response,” Ellis said. “In this study, we’re participating in a way beyond just Toledo.”

The Phase 2, adaptive, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial will examine both the safety and efficacy of the monoclonal antibodies compared to remdisivir alone.

Up to 40 U.S. sites will be involved in the study. Currently, UTMC is one of nine facilities recruiting participants.


UTMC Offers New Precision Treatment for Prostate Cancer

The University of Toledo Medical Center is offering an innovative new outpatient treatment for prostate cancer that uses ultrasound waves to precisely target and destroy cancerous areas while leaving nearby healthy tissue untouched.

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men, affecting roughly one out of nine American men during their lifetimes.

Because prostate cancer is often slow-growing, many patients diagnosed with localized cancer take a wait-and-see approach in which the cancer is closely monitored but not immediately treated.

Patients who do elect treatment have traditionally had two options — radiation therapy or surgical removal of the prostate. Those aggressive treatments are effective but often bring serious side effects, including incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

By focusing ultrasound waves on areas as small as a grain of rice, physicians at UTMC can now destroy tumors while minimizing the potential for harming important structures such as nerves responsible for erections, the urinary sphincter, glands responsible for producing semen and non-cancerous prostate tissue.

Dr. Puneet Sindhwani

Dr. Puneet Sindhwani

“In very few cancers do we take out the whole organ rather than removing the cancer itself,” said Dr. Puneet Sindhwani, a board-certified urologist at UTMC and chair and Kenneth Kropp Endowed Professor of Urology at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Combining more precise biopsy techniques with high-intensity focused ultrasound provides us an opportunity to treat only the area where we found the cancer and spare the rest of the prostate, reducing the risk of side effects.”

High-intensity focused ultrasound, commonly known as HIFU, has been available in Europe for nearly two decades but is relatively new in the United States.

UTMC is the first and only medical facility in the Toledo region using the state-of-the-art Sonablate device to treat prostate cancer.

“Unlike radical surgery of the prostate where patients may need to be admitted to the hospital, or radiation treatment which requires repeated visits for treatment, another advantage of HIFU is that it can be done in an outpatient setting in one visit,” Sindhwani said. “It is very important in the face of COVID-19 that we minimize patient exposure and also save important care resources for patients who need admission with life-threatening conditions.”

While the technology is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for destruction of prostate tissue, approval specifically for treating prostate cancer is pending U.S. trials. At this time, Medicare covers only part of the treatment and most private insurance providers don’t cover the treatment expenses. Individuals should check with their insurance provider.

To help make the treatment available in Toledo, the University received a generous grant for urologic innovation from Dr. Ashok Kar, a California-based urologist who completed his surgery and urology training at the former Medical College of Ohio.


University of Toledo Medical Center lab can now test for COVID-19

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s pathology laboratory now has the ability to test for COVID-19 and deliver results in less than 48 hours. The service will significantly reduce the waiting period for patients and their physicians to confirm a diagnosis.

UTMC is the first laboratory in northwest Ohio with the capability to test for COVID-19.

The medical center is working closely with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and other area hospitals to prioritize testing for patients who are hospitalized with severe pneumonia or who are in intensive care units with severe respiratory illness. UTMC also will test symptomatic first responders and healthcare providers who have had direct exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case while not wearing personal protective equipment.

“Testing supplies are still limited and we have to be strategic about how we deploy our resources,” said Mo Smith, associate vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at UTMC. “However, by working with our community partners, we can significantly increase the pace of testing in northwest Ohio as we work to fight this dangerous virus.”

UTMC has the ability to process 180 samples per day. Patients will not be able to individually request a test. All testing must be ordered by healthcare professionals, following criteria established by the Ohio Department of Health.


UToledo to display AIDS Memorial Quilt ahead of World AIDS Day

The University of Toledo will host an exhibition of more than a dozen panels from The AIDS Memorial Quilt in recognition of World AIDS Day.

The exhibit, which is a partnership between the UToledo Department of Art at the Center for the Visual Arts and The University of Toledo Medical Center Ryan White Program, runs from Friday, Nov. 15, through Friday, Dec. 6, in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery. World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.

A free, public lecture featuring Jeanne White-Ginder will open the exhibition 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.

White-Ginder is the mother of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted HIV in the mid 1980s following a blood transfusion. Their fight against discrimination and for him to return to school gained national attention. He had become a face of the AIDS crisis in America by the time he died in 1990 at the age of 18.

Shortly after his death, Congress passed a bill to establish a federally funded program to care for people with HIV/AIDS that would eventually carry his name as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

Jeanne White-Ginder and her son Ryan White.

White-Ginder has remained a steadfast HIV/AIDS activist, fighting against stigma and advocating for testing as a way to reduce and prevent spread of the disease.

“I want to be around to see the end of AIDS, and I think we’re close to that. This is something Ryan started and advocated so hard for. I enjoy talking about Ryan’s life and the difference he made,” she said. “I think it’s important now to hear stories of those affected. That’s why the quilt coming to Toledo is important. You actually see the faces and the stories. These people were loved and they were cared about. We do not want these people forgotten.”

Joining White-Ginder at the kickoff event will be Robert Sember, an artist, researcher and educator whose work focuses on the intersection of public health and art. He’s currently a part-time faculty member at the New School in New York City.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was started in 1987. In the three decades since, it has grown to include more than 48,000 panels. Nearly 100,000 individuals are memorialized on the quilt.

Panels to be displayed locally include several recognizing individuals from northwest Ohio, as well as a number of well-known artists, photographers, filmmakers and activists.

The exhibit is supported by The Ann Wayson Locher Memorial Fund for HIV Care.

Dr. Mysoon Rizk, a UToledo professor of art history and one of the organizers of the exhibit, said as the AIDS epidemic spread in the 1980s, artistic communities in major U.S. cities such as New York were hit particularly hard. Because of that, she said, artists have played an important role in fighting to change attitudes toward the disease and giving voice to what it means to be affected.

“Staging such an exhibition makes for educational opportunities to focus discussion on AIDS and HIV, both of which still ravage many communities around the world and both of which remain associated with stigmatizing experiences,” Rizk said. “Young people who never learned about the history of the AIDS crisis may experience consciousness-raising and greater awareness about diseases, whether transmitted sexually or by any other means, such as blood transfusions, as well as to learn about the incredible UTMC Ryan White program.”

The Ryan White Program at UTMC offers high-quality comprehensive care for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The program offers adult primary care, mental health counseling, case management, advocacy and HIV testing in Lucas County and the surrounding area. In 2018, the program served more than 1,000 individuals.


UTMC to host educational program on CryoMAZE, other treatments for atrial fibrillation

The University of Toledo Medical Center now offers an innovative, minimally invasive surgical treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation, eliminating the need to continue on blood thinners.

The procedure, called CryoMAZE, uses precision application of extreme cold inside the heart the heart, establishing a barrier that prevents stray electrical signals from causing the heart to beat irregularly.

“The goal of this procedure is to kill the cells without damaging the walls of the heart. If the cells are dead, they cannot conduct electricity. That makes a fence so the electrical impulses don’t spill over into the rest of atrium. It’s like putting insulation on a wire — you are letting electrical impulse to go through only in the normal path without spreading around randomly,” said Dr. Saqib Masroor, chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UTMC.

Dr. Saqib Masroor

Dr. Masroor will give a free, educational presentation on atrial fibrillation and the latest treatment options, including minimally invasive CryoMAZE, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Center for Creative Education on Health Science Campus.

For more information or to register for the event, call 419.383.6939.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia in the United States, affecting between 2.7 million and 6.1 million Americans.

In AFib, the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, don’t beat in coordination with the heart’s lower chambers, or ventricles. That can lead to pooling of the blood and clotting in the atria, creating an increased risk of congestive heart failure and stroke.

Blood thinners are commonly used to reduce the risk of stroke in AFib patients, but they can increase the risk of bleeding. Other options for treating AFib require open-heart surgery or the use of catheters threaded through major arteries in either the groin or neck to get to the heart.

In the minimally invasive CryoMAZE procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision in the right side of the chest. Through that, they’re able to access the outside of the heart and create scar tissue with the specialized probe that is cooled to approximately -60 degrees Celsius. A surgeon also can put a clip on the left atrial through the same incision.

The recovery time in hospital is typically three to five days.

Masroor said success rates for CryoMAZE are approximately 90%. An added benefit of using cold rather than heat to create scar tissue is that there isn’t a risk of putting a hole in the heart.

“Many people don’t know their options beyond blood thinners,” Masroor said. “We want to educate people that there are many safe options that will prevent them from having to take blood thinners and have complications from atrial fibrillation.”


UTMC takes next step in transition to community hospital

In response to the changing healthcare needs of the Toledo region, The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) has elected to transition to a Level III trauma center.

UTMC notified the American College of Surgeons this week that it desires to change its verification status from a Level I adult trauma center to a Level III trauma center.

“This has been our long-term strategy, and we have been working for several years to transition to a community hospital focused on serving South Toledo,” UTMC CEO Dan Barbee said. “Most recently we have increased our emphasis on primary care and behavioral health, and we will continue to evolve to meet the healthcare needs of our community.”

Earlier this month, UTMC opened the new Comprehensive Care Center, which offers a variety of primary care services, including family medicine, internal medicine, multi-specialty, X-ray and laboratory services, and an on-site pharmacy. Behavioral health services have been expanded in recent years to include inpatient and outpatient recovery services; electroconvulsive therapy, better known by the acronym ECT, as a treatment option for patients with depression; geriatric psychiatry; and child and adolescent psychiatry. Additional services are being discussed based on the community’s needs.

“Our expert physicians, nurses and medical technicians in our emergency department and throughout the medical center remain committed to providing high-quality care to our patients,” Barbee said.

The city of Toledo currently has three Level I trauma programs, making this continued investment unnecessary to fulfill the needs of our community, Barbee said. As part of our long-term strategy, this move enables us to align our operations with the healthcare needs of South Toledo and our surrounding communities.


UTMC dermatology will offer free skin cancer screenings for veterans, UToledo employees

As Americans head to backyard barbecues, baseball games and other fun in the sun this summer, it’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.

“Skin cancer is still one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States,” said Dr. Lorie Gottwald, chief of dermatology at The University of Toledo Medical Center. “We need to stress protection all year long, but summer is usually the time we are out and about, and ambient sunlight is indeed a risk factor for skin cancer.”

On Monday, June 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. the Dermatology Department at UTMC will host a free skin cancer screening event for UToledo employees and all military veterans.

While there is no cost, registration is required by calling 419.383.6315. The screenings will take place at the UTMC Dermatology Clinic in Suite F at the Ruppert Health Center.

“We want to continue to fight the war against skin cancer and also recognize the contributions of our vets,” Gottwald said.

Each screening will take approximately 15 minutes. Participants will receive a sunscreen sample and information on skin cancer awareness.

If UTMC clinicians notice something that may need intervention, they will provide a screening sheet that patients can take to a dermatologist of their choice. No biopsies will be taken during the screening event.

One in five Americans will develop a form of skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Dermatological Association, making it the most common form of cancer in the country.

While some types of skin cancer are highly curable, it can be deadly. Melanoma — the most dangerous kind — will lead to an estimated 7,230 deaths in 2019.

If you are going to be spending time in the sun — even just going for a walk at lunchtime — Gottwald said you should be wearing an approved sunscreen.

“The standard recommendation is SPF 30 or higher, and higher numbers do offer more protection,” she said. “Also, remember to reapply the sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re sweating.”


UTMC to host flag-raising ceremony April 4 in honor of National Donate Life Month

The University of Toledo Medical Center, in partnership with Life Connection of Ohio, will mark the beginning of National Donate Life Month with a flag-raising ceremony Thursday, April 4.

The annual event is meant to serve as a reminder of the ongoing need for organ and tissue donors, as well as to recognize those whose donations have helped save lives and those who are living today because of an organ transplant.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. outside UTMC’s main entrance, near Mulford Library.

Attendees will include hospital leaders, officials from Life Connection Ohio, and two women who will speak about how their lives were changed after organ transplant surgery. One of the women scheduled to speak received a life-saving kidney transplant at UTMC in 2018.

More than 110,000 Americans are currently awaiting organ transplants, and a new name is added to the nation’s organ transplant waitlist every 10 minutes. Approximately 80 percent of those on the waitlist need a kidney.

UTMC is northwest Ohio’s only organ transplant center. In 2018, the hospital performed 88 kidney transplants.

The hospital also will be raising money throughout the month of April with a bike raffle to offset the cost of sending a UTMC transplant recipient to the 2020 Transplant Games in New Jersey.

Tickets for the bike, which was donated by local bike shop Cyclewerks, may be purchased for $2 each.

For more information on organ and tissue donation or to register as a donor, visit donatelifeohio.org.


Flag-raising ceremony to mark Donate Life Month

The University of Toledo Medical Center and Life Connection of Ohio will honor Donate Life Month with a flag-raising ceremony 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 3 outside Mulford Library near the main entrance to the hospital on Health Science Campus.

The Donate Life flag will fly throughout the month of April to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors in northwest Ohio and around the country, as well as to encourage more people to register as donors.

Laurie Clemons, whose son Brandon Morris donated his liver after his death, and Devarone Jackson, who received a kidney transplant at UTMC, will both share their personal stories during the brief ceremony. Representatives of Life Connection of Ohio also will be available.

To learn more about organ and tissue donation, visit donatelifeohio.org.


Three-time cancer survivor headlines event about local cancer care

A three-time cancer survivor and genetic testing advocate who inspired the film, “Decoding Annie Parker,” will share her story at an event to provide information about cancer care in the community.

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences will host “An Evening With Annie Parker” Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St.

The free, public event will begin at 4 p.m. with the film screening, followed by a talk from Parker, and will conclude with a panel discussion with experts speaking about genomics, clinical trials, cancer biology and “living the new normal.”

“We are grateful to have Annie Parker join us for this important evening,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Her story is not only compelling, it is inspiring to cancer survivors and their loved ones, and clinical care teams as well.”

After Parker lost her mother and sister to cancer, and she was diagnosed multiple times personally, she became determined to understand her family’s history with the disease. Parker has survived breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cancer in her liver.

In 1994, she became one of the first women in Canada to be tested for the BRCA1 gene mutation after Dr. Mary-Claire King, a geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley, had discovered the gene is responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers. Parker’s results were positive for the gene. The story was the inspiration for the 2013 film, “Decoding Annie Parker.” Parker also tells her story in her 2014 book, “Annie Parker Decoded.”

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 1.7 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. The local event is an effort to highlight the different treatments, new research and care options in the area.

“We remain committed to training the next generation of physicians and believe that by continuing to evolve available treatment options and enhancing our education and research, we will be that much closer to finding a cure,” Cooper said.