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Montefiore Gala 2018

Research Round-ups

Award for Patient-Oriented Opioid Research

Award for Patient-Oriented Opioid Research—The New York State Department of Health’s Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) has awarded a two-year, $574,166 grant to the Montefiore/Einstein Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CCER). The CCER will look for ways to help patients with or at risk for opioid use disorder (OUD) achieve better outcomes. Led by Julia Arnsten, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the division of general internal medicine at Montefiore and Einstein, the CCER was established in 2013 to improve patient-centered health outcomes in urban, diverse, and underserved populations. The five projects funded by the new grant will include studies to see how medical cannabis compares with opioids for controlling chronic pain in people living with HIV; examine using medical cannabis for reducing opioid use in patients with head and neck cancer; assess strategies for safer opioid prescribing for patients with sickle cell disease; and improve treatment access for people with opioid use disorder.

Insights Into Metastasis

Insights Into Metastasis—Cancer stem cells generate and sustain tumors, leading to tumor recurrence and metastasis. The cell cycle inhibitor p21CIP1 (p21) is a protein that plays a well-known role in halting cellular proliferation. But in previous work, Rachel B. Hazan, Ph.D.,  and colleagues have shown that p21 also exerts pro-metastatic effects in mammary tumor models via an unknown mechanism. Their paper, which published on July 1 in Molecular Cancer Research demonstrated that p21 expression activates Wnt signaling, a key signaling pathway known to be dysregulated in many types of cancer. Knocking out p21 in the PyMT mouse model of breast cancer suppressed Wnt signaling. p21 was found to turn on Wnt signaling by increasing levels of the transcription factor TCF1 and Cyclin D1, proteins that are important activators of Wnt signaling. The findings imply that targeting p21 in combination with chemotherapy might be an effective therapy against metastasis. Dr. Hazan is professor of pathology at Einstein.