Insulin Fights Inflammation and Even Small Amounts of Glucose Trigger it in Type 1 Diabetics

Findings of small UB study are significant for understanding, treating infections in Type 1 diabetics

A small University at Buffalo (UB) study has found for the first time that in Type 1 diabetics, insulin injections exert a strong anti-inflammatory effect at the cellular and molecular level, while even small amounts of glucose result in “profound inflammation.”

The findings show that in Type 1 diabetics, insulin has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. This effect essentially suppresses the important pro-inflammatory protein called HMG-B1, which facilitates the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines (messenger proteins) that induce even further inflammation when secreted and released by the injured cell.

The work builds on previous research by the investigators in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which showed that insulin had the same anti-inflammatory effect in obese and Type 2 diabetes patients, but it highlights some important differences.

According to the paper, published in February in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, insulin’s anti-inflammatory effect takes longer to occur in Type 1 diabetics, about six hours, as opposed to two hours in Type 2 diabetics and obese patients. It also took about six hours for inflammatory markers known as reactive oxygen species to wp-contentear in Type 1 diabetics after glucose infusion whereas it took wp-contentroximately one to two hours in Type 2 diabetics and obese patients.

“The reason for this delayed response to insulin and glucose in Type 1 diabetes patients is not clear and requires further investigation,” says Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine; chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the UB medical school; and first author on the study. “It is possible that these patients have a more intense level of inflammation, which requires a greater effort to induce a change.”

Another significant difference was found when the Type 1 diabetics were infused with glucose alone. While Type 2 diabetics and obese patients demonstrated no changes in glucose concentrations when administered small amounts of glucose, there was a small but significant increase in glucose concentrations in the Type 1 diabetics.

“The infusion of small amounts of glucose, 5 grams per hour over four hours, leads to a profound inflammatory effect, including the generation of the HMG-B1 protein,” says Dandona. “Since 20 grams of glucose is the equivalent of just four teaspoonfuls of sugar, this has extremely important implications for Type 1 diabetics.”

According to Dandona, even relatively small and brief increases in glucose concentrations induce an increase in the expression of inflammatory markers, such as toll-like receptors (proteins that play a key role in the innate immune system) and others at the cellular and molecular level in Type 1 diabetics, because they have no insulin reserve.

“Our findings show that even a small amount of carbohydrate cannot be tolerated by Type 1 diabetics without the protection of injectable insulin even over a short period of time without the risk of inflammation,” he says. “This has profound implications for the severity of inflammation in patients with infections and in terms of taking insulin before meals.”

In the study, 10 Type 1 diabetics received either insulin infusions of two units per hour with 100 milliliters of dextrose per hour or just the dextrose, following an overnight fast. Blood samples were collected at intervals of zero, two, four and six hours after the infusions.

In the group that received insulin plus dextrose, markers of inflammation were suppressed and blood sugar readings stayed normal, at around 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).

But those who received just dextrose experienced a blood sugar spike from 115 mg/dl after fasting to 215 mg/dl at four and six hours, as well as an increase in the generation of key inflammatory markers. These include reactive oxygen species and several toll-like receptors, which may be involved in inflammatory processes, including gram positive and gram negative infections, metabolic inflammation as associated with obesity and diabetes and atherosclerosis.

“We were interested in these inflammatory markers in particular because although Type 1 diabetics are already being treated with insulin injections, they can be susceptible to infections and other inflammatory conditions, which lead to very serious, even life-threatening, complications, such as septicemia,” he said.

“Based on these observations, we are now beginning a study on meals taken with and without insulin in Type 1 diabetics, so that we can better understand what missing even a single insulin injection at mealtime means to a Type 1 diabetic patient,” he concludes.

Co-authors with Dandona, all from UB, are Husam Ghanim, MD, research assistant professor; Kelly Green and Chang Ling Sia, research assistants; Sanaa Abuaysheh, research associate; Nitesh Kuhadiya, MD, UB medical resident; Manav Batra, UB medical resident; Sandeep Dhindsa, MD, and Ajay Chaudhari, MD, both formerly associate professors at UB.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

American Cancer Society Seeks Participants for Cancer Prevention Study

To better understand ways to prevent cancer, the American Cancer Society is recruiting men and women across the US and Puerto Rico for a landmark new research study – Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). Enrollment is being made possible in partnership with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus on Wednesday, June 19th at Roswell Park’s Gaylord Cary Conference Room from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Individuals may choose to participate if they are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study (which involves completing follow-up surveys periodically over the next 20-30 years), are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old and have never been diagnosed with cancer. For more information, visit www.cps3buffalo.org, call 1-888-604-5888 or e-mail mcps3@cancer.org.

CANCER

Roswell Park Scientists Advance Findings About Novel, Low-Toxicity Anticancer Agent

New FL118 formulation may prove effective against colon, head/neck, mesothelioma, ovarian and pancreatic cancers

Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have found that a new formulation of a promising anticancer agent, the small chemical molecule FL118, is even more effective in controlling two types of cancer than a version reported in PLOS ONE six months earlier proved to be. Additional evidence also suggests that the agent may successfully treat other solid tumors as well.

In their previous research, a team led by Fengzhi Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, demonstrated that FL118 eliminated human colon and head-and-neck tumors in animal models without relapse but was limited in that it could be delivered only by intraperitoneal (IP) administration. This new study, to be published in the April 8 issue of the American Journal of Translational Research, compares the earlier formulation of the agent to a new version that can also be administered intravenously, translating to much wider potential clinical wp-contentlication.

Comparing the antitumor efficacy and therapeutic index, or relative toxicity, of FL118 in its new intravenous (IV) formulation with the earlier form, the researchers found that maximum tolerated dose increased three- to seven-fold, depending on dosing schedule. While the original formulation contained Tween 80 or polysorbate 80, a solvent commonly included in drug formulations, the agent in its new composition is free of Tween 80, resulting in significantly lower toxicity.

FL118 is a targeted therapy that selectively inhibits the expression of four major cancer-survival gene products: survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and/or cIAP2. While both studies tested the agent’s effectiveness against models of head-and-neck and colon tumors, other research from Dr. Li’s lab suggests that mesothelioma, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, and potentially other solid tumors, may also be good targets for treatment with FL118.

“This work represents a significant move forward,” notes Dr. Li, senior author on the study. “We’re targeting four of the most resilient and pervasive cancer survival mechanisms, and because the findings from preclinical testing have been so striking, we’re anxious to see FL118 tested in the clinical setting.”

Xiang Ling, MD, PhD, a senior scientist in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, is co-author of the paper, “An intravenous (i.v.) route-compatible formulation of FL118, a survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP, and cIAP2 selective inhibitor, improves FL118 antitumor efficacy and therapeutic index (TI).” The study was e-published today and is available at http://goo.gl/y0oZy.

The work was supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense (PC110408), Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, and by shared resources supported by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Support Grant to RPCI (P30CA016056).

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716.845.859

SSO 2013 Lineup Includes 5 Talks by Roswell Park Cancer Institute Physicians

Presentations by RPCI surgeons cover issues of biomarker identification, quality improvement, treatment decisions

Five Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) physicians were invited to give oral presentations on cancer research March 8 at the 66th annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology, an international society for cancer surgeons. They were among 10 RPCI physicians who presented at this year’s meeting in National Harbor, MD. The symposium is a major annual meeting where new advances in cancer care are presented.

John M. Kane III, MD, FACS, Chief of the Melanoma/Sarcoma Service within the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “High Risk Soft Tissue Sarcoma Biomarker Expression Patterns and Outcome Following Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation” (abstract 64; session: Sarcoma). Dr. Kane, a member of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) sarcoma working group, presented research performed through his RTOG Translational Research Program grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Because outcomes for patients with “high-risk” soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) — those tumors that are large, deep and high-grade — are often poor, high priority has been placed on identifying biomarkers that might predict response to therapy and survival. Dr. Kane and a multi-institutional team of collaborators created tissue microarrays using pre- and post-treatment STS tumor samples from participants from two clinical research studies, looking to see how treatment impacted levels of seven different biomarkers. They found that two biomarkers, CAIX (carbonic anhydrase IX) and GLUT 1 (glucose transporter 1), decreased following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. The researchers also found that increased post-treatment p53 expression correlated with a higher chance of cancer recurrence.

“We’re always looking for ways to determine which patients might truly benefit from chemotherapy, sparing other patients that do not need it the potential side effects,” notes Dr. Kane. “In addition, these microarrays can also be used to identify new targeted therapies for these often-deadly sarcomas.”

Co-authors are Qiang Zhang, PhD, Asha George, MS, and William Kraybill, MD, of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia, PA; Thomas DeLaney, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; Alex Klimowicz, PhD, of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Anthony Magliocco, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; and Jeff Simko, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Shicha Kumar, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Clinical Impact of Real Time Reporting Using the Commission on Cancer’s Rapid Quality Reporting System: Is It Worthwhile?” (abstract 55; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Quality-control measures have been shown to correlate with improved cancer outcomes, yet deviations from desired standards of care often go undetected or are discovered late, limiting or preventing opportunities for effective intervention. The research team set out to assess the clinical impact of the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS), a tool developed by the Commission on Cancer for alerting providers to wp-contentroaching deviations from predetermined quality measures. They found that while relatively few deviations from standards occurred, RQRS is an easy-to-use tool for proactively identifying and improving delivery and documentation of cancer care.

“Our analysis shows the Rapid Quality Reporting System to be a helpful and reliable safety mechanism for identifying patients at risk for lapses in wp-contentropriate care,” Dr. Kumar says. “The providers we surveyed indicated that the system spurred more effective teamwork and improved documentation, and resulted in reduced concern over insufficient or delayed follow-through.”

Co-authors are Marian Betrus, Jaemi Fitzgerald, Camille Rinaldo, Kassia Delgado, Linda Hauck and Stephen Edge, MD, all of RPCI.

Moshim Kukar, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Fostering Coordinated Survivorship Care in Breast Cancer: Who is ‘Lost to Follow-Up’?” (abstract 57; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Patients who stop scheduling or showing up for wp-contentointments are a concern for many oncology providers. They are considered “lost to follow-up” (LTFU) when they stop seeking services or ongoing monitoring from a facility without having a transfer-of-care plan in place. Dr. Kukar and colleagues looked at nearly 13 years of RPCI records for patients treated for breast cancer, classifying them as LTFU if they had a two-year gap in visits to the facility. They then looked at patient, tumor and treatment characteristics to see whether any particular factors were correlated with LTFU status. They identified five characteristics associated with increased incidence of care abandonment: older age, earlier-stage disease, living longer distances from the facility, having no need for additional adjuvant therapies and absence of recurrence.

“We know that many breast cancer patients will self-triage away from oncology care and follow-up,” says Dr. Kukar. “This research shows that we have a real opportunity to prospectively identify who these women are so we can better assist them with the transfer of care to other providers and make sure that continuity of care is maintained.”

Co-authors are Nancy Watroba, MPA, Austin Miller, PhD, Dr. Kumar and Dr. Edge, all of RPCI.

Jacqueline Oxenberg, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy to Define Biologic Behavior Prior to Resection of Primary Angiosarcoma” (abstract 71; session: Sarcoma).

In a retrospective review of RPCI patients treated for angiosarcoma, a rare and biologically aggressive tumor, the research team tested their hypothesis that neoadjuvant chemotherapy would provide insights that could help guide treatment decisions, particularly by defining those who would not benefit from more involved, higher-risk surgeries. They found that chemotherapy administered preoperatively was well tolerated and significantly decreased tumor size, decreased the number of surgeries needed to control tumors and was not associated with any increase in complications.

“We now have evidence that giving chemotherapy prior to surgical removal of angiosarcoma tumors allows us to better identify which patients would benefit most from surgery,” Dr. Oxenberg explains. “It’s an wp-contentroach that wp-contentears to be both effective and easy to implement.”

Co-authors are Dr. Kane, Nikhil Khushalani, MD, Kilian Salerno May, MD, and Kristopher Attwood, PhD, all of RPCI.

Timothy Platz, MD, is first author on “The Use of Modified 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography in 100 Consecutive Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism: An Argument for the Abandonment of Sestamibi SPECT” (abstract 25; session: Endocrine Cancer).

For many years, the vast majority of providers performing parathyroidectomy have used ultrasound and/or Sestamibi SPECT imaging technologies to help identify abnormalities and guide surgical planning. Looking at patients treated at RPCI between December 2010 and July 2012, Dr. Platz and colleagues performed a comparative analysis to determine whether a newer imaging option, 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography (4D-CT), might be an effective alternative to those standard imaging technologies. The team found that a modified form of 4D-CT, adapted to include volume rendering highlights the parathyroid abnormality in relation to neighboring structures, was superior to sestamibi SPECT and ultrasound, with similar levels of radiation exposure.

“We found that this modified 4D-CT wp-contentroach was much more reliable than the other modalities in providing a preview of the anatomy that we’d encounter when actually performing the surgeries,” notes Dr. Platz. “The distinctions between these wp-contentroaches proved to be so significant that we can present a persuasive case for other providers to consider abandoning sestamibi SPECT for these types of cases.”

Co-authors are Ahmed Abdelhalim, MD, Adrienne Groman and William Cance, MD, all of RPCI.

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

Brain Imaging to Identify Physical Reasons Why IBS Symptoms Improve with Drug-free Treatments

UB researchers and colleagues will correlate objective measures of brain changes with patients’ reports of relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Patients who suffer from the painful, often disabling, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often are surprised to find that behavioral changes, not drugs, provide significant relief. Jeffrey Lackner

Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo who have pioneered some of these behavioral treatments, along with colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Northwestern University, are using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal the biological basis for the relief. The research could help doctors choose the best treatment method for individual patients and could improve the quality of life for millions of people with IBS.

“We’re going to look at biological mechanisms that underlie these non-drug treatments, to discover what is going on in the brain that explains treatment benefits achieved by teaching patients specific skills to control and reduce their symptoms,” says Jeffrey M. Lackner, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a project principal investigator. “By using a brain scan to compare brain activity before and after treatment, we expect to get a picture of changes in the brain that correspond to improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms.”

The work is funded by a $2.3 million grant to UCLA, the lead institution; Northwestern; and UB by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It builds on the work of UCLA researchers at its Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress and a pilot neuroimaging study conducted by Lackner and colleagues at UB.

The brain imaging study came about partly as a result of a major, $8.9 million, seven-year, multi-site clinical trial Lackner is leading at UB to test behavioral treatments in IBS patients. It is the largest IBS clinical trial conducted to date and one of the largest behavioral trials ever funded by the NIH without a drug component. Developed at UB, these treatments are regarded as some of the most powerful treatments available to IBS sufferers.

Lackner is currently recruiting IBS patients for the behavioral and imaging studies at the Behavioral Medicine Clinic of the UB Department of Medicine at Erie County Medical Center. For more information on participating in one of the studies, call 716-898-4458 and leave a name, telephone number and convenient times to be contacted.

IBS is among the most common, disabling and intractable gastrointestinal disorders. Twice as common among women as men, it is estimated to affect between 25 million and 50 million Americans. Symptoms include pain, stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.

“We’re excited about the possibility of providing the first evidence for biological markers that correlate with treatment-induced symptom changes, and developing a better understanding of the mechanism behind IBS,” says Lackner. “Such cutting-edge translational research is going to help foster individualized, specific treatments for patients.”

One treatment developed at UB aims to control symptoms by changing specific thinking patterns and behaviors found to aggravate IBS. Using state-of-the-art brain-imaging methods, UCLA researchers, under the leadership of Emeran Mayer, MD, hope to identify the biological mechanisms underlying their effectiveness. Mayer is a professor of medicine and psychiatry at UCLA, director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and principal investigator of the imaging study.

Scientists believe that IBS symptoms are the result of dysregulation of brain-gut interactions, resulting in abnormal muscle contractions in the gut and heightened sensitivity to painful stimuli.

“Just as faulty wiring between the neural connection of the brain and gut can bring on symptoms, so learning new ways of thinking and behaving may ‘rewire’ brain-gut interactions, resulting in reduced pain and bowel symptoms that otherwise take a major toll on patients,” says Lackner. “Determining whether behavioral treatments work by targeting specific areas of the brain that have a direct effect on gut function and sensation is a major goal of this study.”

Correlating structural brain changes with symptom reduction is, for both Lackner and Mayer, a primary goal that they say will demonstrate an ‘organic’ component to IBS, which is critical. “IBS is often unfairly dismissed as a psychosomatic condition,” says Mayer. “These findings will be important in dispelling the notion once and for all that IBS symptoms are not real and are ‘only psychological.’”

Lackner’s UB’s colleagues on the study include Michael Sitrin, MD, professor, Christopher Radziwon, PhD, research assistant professor, Greg Gudleski, PhD, clinical research assistant professor, Leonard Katz, MD, professor emeritus and Rebecca Firth, senior research support specialist, all in the Department of Medicine and Susan Krasner, PhD, clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

Roswell Park Study Finds Substantial Use of E-Cigarettes by Smokers

Nearly 80% of smokers who use electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, believe the devices are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and authored by a team of scientists led by Richard O’Connor, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology and Director of the Tobacco Research Laboratory at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).
“This study offers a snapshot in time on the use of e-cigarettes from mid-2010 to mid-2011 and examines awareness, use and product-associated beliefs among current and former cigarette smokers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom,” said Dr. O’Connor.

Nearly 6,000 adult smokers from the four largest English-speaking countries participated in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Study results include:

  • Overall, 46.6% of those surveyed were aware of e-cigarettes (US: 73%, UK: 54%, Canada: 40%, Australia: 20%)
  • Younger, non-minority, heavy smokers with higher incomes were more likely to be aware of e-cigarettes.
  • Younger, non-daily smokers and those who believe e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes were four times more likely to try e-cigarettes.
  • E-cigarette use was higher among non-daily smokers and those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.
  • 79.8% of smokers believe using e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
  • 85% of current e-cigarette users indicate that they are using the devices as a tool to help them quit smoking, yet only 11% had successfully stopped smoking.

“This study provides valuable insights into the use and attitudes surrounding e-cigarettes among smokers,” adds Dr. O’Connor. “However, questions remain regarding the impact of these devices in nonsmokers, such as what potential exists to induce nicotine addiction in non-smokers and/or maintain addiction in current smokers who might otherwise stop smoking.”

Regarding future steps, the researchers suggest that the net impact of e-cigarettes on public health be examined. If evidence shows that e-cigarettes reduce the number of cigarette smokers and do not attract use among nonsmokers, they note, then the net public health effect is likely to be positive.

The study, “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey,” will be published online today at http://www.ajpmonline.org.

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

 

New Vaccine Research Aims to Prevent Recurrent Ear Infections

Lab in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center is one of few in the world studying an increasingly prevalent bacterium, once considered harmless
Children’s ear infections cause more than pain and sleepless nights; they temporarily disrupt hearing when children are at a critical age for speech and language development.  They also have major social and economic costs.

But while infants and children receive immunizations against infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcus, there is no vaccine against Moraxella catarrhalis, an increasingly prevalent bacterium that causes at least ten percent of otitis media cases.

Now, University at Buffalo scientists, among just a handful of researchers in the world studying this organism, have received a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a vaccine against it. The researchers are among the first tenants in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, which opened in September on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The goal of the current research, funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is to identify new virulence mechanisms for this understudied pathogen, identify the structure of a candidate antigen for a new vaccine and develop a new vaccine.

According to Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and principal investigator on the NIH grant, research on M. catarrhalis has lagged because it was originally believed to be a “commensal” or harmless bacterium. While it does cause milder cases of middle ear infections (otitis media) than other bacteria, Murphy said it is becoming more prevalent. Preliminary evidence also shows that existing ear infection vaccines are changing colonization patterns among otitis media pathogens, possibly increasing the prevalence of M. catarrhalis infections.

“Of the 15 to 20 million cases of otitis media each year in the U.S., about ten percent are recurring, causing incredible disruption for the child and the family,” explains Murphy. “When a child has the infection, the middle ear fills with fluid, a condition that can last for a month or longer. During that time, the child’s hearing is muffled, which disrupts the normal development of language and speech skills, potentially resulting in long term delays and learning problems in school.”

Recurrent ear infections also require repeated courses of antibiotics, which then contribute to the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Some children must undergo insertion of drainage tubes under general anesthesia.

“The best option would be to prevent these infections in the first place,” says Murphy.

The goal of the UB researchers is to identify M. catarrhalis antigens that are very similar among all strains so that a vaccine based on a single antigen will protect against as many strains of the bacterium as possible.

“Based on our results thus far, it looks like we will be able to identify antigens that are identical or very similar among all strains and genetic lineages,” says Murphy.

He and his colleagues are using bioinformatics to identify genes predicted to encode proteins on the surface of the organism, construct a gene chip to test which of more than 300 possible genes on the surface are identical or similar among multiple strains and then clone genes for some of the predicted proteins for testing in in vitro and mouse models.

The UB group is now testing several promising vaccine antigens that they have identified. A new vaccine could be ready for human testing in three to five years.

Murphy and his colleagues at UB are global leaders in the study of M. catarrhalis in otitis media in children and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations in adults. Their hope is that the same vaccine could be used to prevent both kinds of infections.

In addition to directing the M. catarrhalis research, Murphy directs UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center and is senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the UB medical school. For more than a decade, Murphy has studied how M. catarrhalis causes both otitis media in children and infections in chronic obstructive COPD in adults.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

Molecule Inhibitor, CFAK-Y15, Could Treat Certain Brain Cancers

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have published findings from a preclinical study assessing the effectiveness of a small-molecule inhibitor, CFAK-Y15, in treating some brain cancers. The paper, published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, demonstrates for the first time that inhibiting the protein focal adhesion kinase (FAK) with CFAK-Y15 is an effective wp-contentroach to controlling growth of glioblastoma tumors, especially in combination with the standard chemotherapy agent temozolomide (Temodar).
FAK is overexpressed, or produced in excessive amounts, in tumor cells, and has been shown to play a key role in survival of cancer cells. In this study, a team led by Vita M. Golubovskaya, PhD, an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Surgical Oncology, found that animal models treated with CFAK-Y15 demonstrated significantly prolonged survival compared to the control group. CFAK-Y15 provides FAK kinase-specific inhibition by upstream targeting of autophosphorylation sites on the FAK protein. It belongs to a class of ‘two for one’ compounds that also inhibit the oncoprotein Src by inhibiting its autophosphorylation.

“We found that CFAK-Y15 significantly decreased the viability of the glioblastoma cells, and in many cases wp-contenteared to cause tumor shrinkage — especially when CFAK-Y15 was given in combination with temozolomide,” noted Dr. Golubovskaya, the paper’s first author. “These compounds target FAK signaling, which is critical for cancer cell and cancer stem cell survival, especially in invasive and metastatic cancers.”

“We’re eager to see this research move to the clinical phase because of the great need for more effective treatments for glioblastoma,” noted senior author William G. Cance, MD, FACS, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology. “The potential impact is great because glioblastomas are such an aggressive tumor, and because we know they produce FAK in especially high quantities.”

The authors also included researchers from the University of California at San Diego and faculty from the Department of Pathology at RPCI. CFAK-Y15 is being developed by CureFAKtor Pharmaceuticals LLC (www.curefaktor.com). Drs. Cance and Golubovskaya, both of whom also serve on the management team of CureFAKtor, were part of the team that first identified CFAK-Y15, in research published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 2008.

The new abstract and paper, “Pharmacological blockade of FAK autophosphorylation decreases human glioblastoma tumor growth and synergizes with temozolomide,” can be accessed online at http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2012/12/12/1535-7163.MCT-12-0701.

This work was supported by Susan Komen for the Cure Foundation grant BCTR0707148 and three National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants: R01CA065910, R01HL073396, and the NCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant for Roswell Park Cancer Institute (P30CA016056).

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

Investigational Brain Cancer Vaccine to Be Tested in Phase I Roswell Park Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 27, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

Investigational Brain Cancer Vaccine to Be Tested in Phase I Roswell Park Study
Peptide vaccine targets cancer survival protein, putting tumor cells in a Catch 22

BUFFALO — A new clinical research study at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) will test a first-of-its-kind cancer “vaccine” that may prove effective against many forms of solid-tumor cancers. The vaccine, to be investigated in a trial involving patients with brain cancer, generates an immune response that wp-contentears to put the target molecule, the cancer survival protein survivin, into a bind it can’t escape.

The peptide vaccine, developed at Roswell Park by Robert Fenstermaker, MD, and Michael Ciesielski, PhD, is based upon a specially engineered small protein molecule called a “peptide mimic.” Dr. Fenstermaker is principal investigator of the phase I clinical research study, which will test the safety and immunological effects of the vaccine in patients with two types of brain cancer: glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic glioma. Called SurVaxM, the injectable vaccine will initially be given in four doses to nine patients.

Survivin, produced by at least 80% of cancers, is a protein that helps cancer cells to survive under stressful conditions. It is present only in diseased cells, which are caught in an unwinnable situation when exposed to the vaccine.

“SurVaxM puts cancer cells in a Catch 22,” says Dr. Fenstermaker, who is Chair of RPCI’s Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Institute’s Neuro-Oncology Program. “The vaccine kills tumor cells that express survivin. If the cells turn survivin off to escape the vaccine, they’re essentially committing suicide.”

The engineered peptide used in the vaccine is able to stimulate an immune response because the cancer recognizes it as a foreign molecule.

“We arrived at this peptide through reverse immunology,” notes Dr. Ciesielski. “We knew we wanted to target survivin because it is expressed by so many tumors. We looked at many survivin peptides trying to find the best one to use as our vaccine. Once we identified one that looked promising, we engineered it to be more potent and produce a better response by enlisting multiple arms of the immune system.”

In preclinical studies, the vaccine was effective against several cancers, including gliomas and prostate, ovarian, breast and kidney tumors that produce survivin. Studies in which human glioma, lymphoma and leukemia cells were exposed to the vaccine outside the body also produced a strong response. “In those earlier studies, the response was persistent,” Dr. Ciesielski says. “It wp-contentears that the vaccine continues to provide lasting immunity after the tumor has been eliminated.”

Roughly 15,000 people are newly diagnosed with glioblastomas and anaplastic gliomas in the U.S. every year. These cancers are very difficult to treat, and are often fatal.

“Survival rates for malignant gliomas have improved modestly over the last two decades, but better therapies are desperately needed,” Dr. Fenstermaker says. “We’re anxious to move ahead with this study and, hopefully, go on to larger studies in the years ahead, but we first have to show that this is a safe and well-tolerated drug for a group of terrible diseases.”

Because they enlist the body’s own cells to fight cancer, immune-based therapies generally have few adverse side effects. The trial is the fourth clinical research study launched through RPCI’s Center for Immunotherapy this year.

The study is National Cancer Institute trial no. NCT01250470. For more information about SurVaxM and this new phase I research study, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

Ciesielski and Fenstermaker credit early seed funding from donations with helping to move their research forward and generating additional dollars in new grant funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (R21 NS049309-01) and the American Cancer Society. Additional support from The Jayne and Phil Hubbell Family was instrumental in advancing the team’s research.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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Editor’s note: Photo caption: Robert Fenstermaker, MD, left, and Michael Ciesielski, PhD. Video interview with Drs. Fenstermaker and Ciesielski available at https://vimeo.com/48443468. For additional photos and multimedia, including B-roll video, send request to: annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org.

RPCI Scientists Publish Findings About Novel Anticancer Agent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

RPCI Scientists Publish Findings About Novel Anticancer Agent
Camptothecin analog FL118 shown to inhibit production of key cancer survival genes

BUFFALO — Some 500,000 people die of cancer in the United States each year, often because their cancers have become resistant to wp-contentroved therapies. Scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have made headway in the effort to overcome resistance to treatment, publishing findings about a novel cancer drug that has been shown to inhibit several genes associated with the ability of cancer cells to survive and reproduce.

A team led by Fengzhi Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, assessed the antitumor effects of FL118, a camptothecin analog that is structurally similar to irinotecan and topotecan, in preclinical studies.

The ability of cancers to resist treatment with chemotherapy or radiation is rooted in the tendency of tumor cells to overproduce key genes that enable cancer cells to survive, such as survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and cIAP2. Dr. Li and his colleagues found that FL118 inhibits expression of these genes in cancer cells and ultimately causes those tumor cells to die.

They also found that cancer cells die in the presence of FL118 even when the cells contained no p53, a key tumor-suppressing gene product. Because this protein is functionally eliminated in many cancers, it is important that cancer cells are sensitive to FL118 regardless of their p53 function. Preclinical studies showed a complete loss of detectable tumor mass in animal models following treatment with FL118, even for tumors that did not express “wild-type” p53 — a level of efficacy rarely seen with standard cancer therapies.

Importantly, FL118 was equally effective against tumor cells that are not normally considered to be resistant to therapy, and showed no wp-contentarent toxicity at these therapeutic levels.

“Our studies show that FL118 may become a superior option for effective control of both early and late-stage cancer, with or without metastasis,” said Dr. Li. “We still need to identify the exact biochemical targets as well as the pharmacokinetic and toxicological profile for FL118 before it goes into clinical studies, but we are encouraged by the implications of these compelling preclinical findings.”

The paper, “A Novel Small Molecule FL118 That Selectively Inhibits Survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and cIAP2 in a p53-Independent Manner, Shows Superior Antitumor Activity,” published September 19 in PLOS ONE, is available at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045571.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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RIA Takes the Challenge on Reducing College Student Substance Use

For release: September 20, 2012Contact: Sara R. Saldi, saldi@buffalo.edu
University at Buffalo
716-645-4593

RIA Takes the Challenge on Reducing College Student Substance Use

BUFFALO, N.Y. — No longer considered an innocent rite of passage, binge drinking among college students contributes to wp-contentroximately 1,800 deaths and nearly 600,000 injuries each year.

And that’s just alcohol.

The University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), an internationally recognized leader on the subject of substance use and abuse since 1970, is tackling this problem head on.

This fall RIA will offer a three-pronged wp-contentroach to educating students, health care and mental health workers, and college administrators about the dangers, new trends and treatments for reducing substance use and excessive drinking in college kids.

RIA Director, Kenneth Leonard, PhD “Despite strong efforts, excessive alcohol and substance use among college students have not substantially diminished in the past decade. While many colleges have educational programs or referral services, many college administrators are not aware of or have not implemented services that have been shown to be the most effective.

“Therefore, there is a pressing need for a more active and ongoing dialogue among researchers, practitioners and administrators regarding the current state of knowledge about college student drinking and substance use—a dialog that will also benefit parents and their children in college.”

A photo of Leonard is available at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13681.

First, the RIA is releasing the fifth in its series of expert summaries, “RIA Reaching Others: College Student Drinking,” a fact sheet describing the dangers of college student drinking, especially binge drinking—the scope of the problem, specific points for parents and the value of prevention.

The fact sheet is available at: http://www.ria.buffalo.edu/ExpertSummaries/ES5.html.

Second, as part of RIA’s Fall 2012 Seminar Series, Mark Wood,  PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and an expert on substance use among college students, will speak on “Individual and Environmental Preventive Intervention to Reduce Collegiate Alcohol Abuse: A Full-Cycle Approach.”

His presentation will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 26 in Room 132 of the RIA building, 1021 Main St. on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It will be free and open to the public.

For more information on the Wood presentation, visit: http://www.ria.buffalo.edu/events/index.html

Third, RIA is hosting a two-day conference, titled “The Challenge of Reducing College Student Substance Use: A Conversation in the Disciplines,” to take place Nov. 8 and 9 in the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, 2402 North Forest Road near the Audubon Parkway in Getzville, adjacent to the UB North Campus.

The two-day event will feature alcohol and substance use experts from UB and from across the state.  It is sponsored by the Conversations in the Disciplines Program of the State University of New York.

The conference will bring together front-line staff from throughout the SUNY system who grwp-contentle with the real problems of college students’ alcohol and substance use and abuse, and the researchers who seek to develop and evaluate substance-use prevention and intervention strategies. It also will provide an opportunity for participants to present information about their programs and to discuss issues regarding the startup and operation of effective programs.

Even more importantly, however, the conference will explore the potential for developing a multi-campus network of researchers and practitioners across New York State to address excessive college student substance use.

“This will facilitate the development and evaluation of innovative and comprehensive wp-contentroaches to reducing substance use, and provide a communications network that will enhance the efforts of practitioners to offer the most effective strategies for their campuses,” Leonard said.

Information about the conference and how to register are available at http://www.ria.buffalo.edu/CID2012/index.htm

UB Awarded $1.6M Grant for Students to Study Cybersecurity

News Release

Cory Nealon

cmnealon@buffalo.edu

716-645-4614

Release Date: September 18, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo has received a $1.6 million federal grant to teach students how to protect the United States from cyberattacks.

UB will use the grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation, to bring up to 16 students into its Center of Excellence in Information Systems, Assurance, Research and Education (CEISARE). It is one of wp-contentroximately 50 federally designated centers that supply the United States with graduates trained to protect the nation from computer-based attacks. For more information, visit: http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/caeiae.

The grant will cover the cost of student stipends ($25,000), in-state graduate tuition and fees ($12,000) and books, travel expenses and health insurance ($3,000) for two years. At roughly $80,000 per student, this equals $1.3 million. The remainder of the grant, roughly $345,000, will cover the cost of running the center for five years.

In exchange for the financial support, students must agree to work for the federal government for two years upon graduation. CEISARE Director Shambhu Upadhyaya said students can choose from numerous agencies including the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the FBI.

“When students graduate with a specialty in cybersecurity, they can basically go wherever they want,” said Upadhyaya, professor of computer science and engineering.

For a picture of Upadhyaya, visit: http://ubphoto.smugmug.com.

An interdisciplinary program, CEISARE includes a varied group of UB faculty. For example, the grant’s co-investigators are: Thomas Cusick, professor of mathematics; H. Raghav Rao, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in management science and systems department; and Mark Bartholomew, associate professor of law.

The diversity reflects the nuances of computer warfare, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said is the most serious economic and national security threat that the United States faces. She and other national security officials have warned that electric grids, transportation systems, banks and other industries reliant on computer systems are susceptible to cyberattacks.

Upadhyaya pointed to the 2009 hacking of sensitive information from the Pentagon’s $300 billion, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project as an example.

The $1.6 million grant is the second multi-year award received by CEISARE. In 2008, it received $860,000 to educate 11 students, some of whom went on to work for the National Security Agency, the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Inspector General.

Division within WCHOB Department of Pediatrics Receives $1.1 M Grant

The Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo’s (WCHOB) Division of Neonatology received a grant for $1.1 M from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. A published SUPPORT report trial revealed that there is a lack of knowledge regarding oxygen supplementation, delivery and toxicity in newborn infants. The Optimal Oxygenation in Neonatal Lung Injury grant will be used to propel the research focusing on infant oxygen supplementation.
Neonatal resuscitation is necessary when an infant is asphyxiated. When an infant is born, its pulmonary circulation shifts in order to adjust to the environment outside of the womb. When that adjustment is not flawless and is met with immediate complications, the result can be a condition called Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) which can be fatal.

Dr. Satyan Lakshminrusimha, the Chief of the Division of Neonatology and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University at Buffalo, is the grant’s principal investigator. His research  focuses on the pathophysiology of the cardio-pulmonary transition – how fetal lungs change at birth in order to breathe air – and disorders of this transition such as birth asphyxia, PPHN, retained lung liquid and respiratory distress syndrome.

The Division’s research goals are to deliver the best critical care to infants with respiratory depression at birth and reduce oxygen toxicity; to discover the optimum management of newborns with PPHN; and to further the treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a gastrointestinal disease that disproportionately affects pre-term infants.

The grant’s disbursement over a 5-year period, with $235, 523 given to the Division each year will go towards the collection of physiological data that will help to establish guidelines for optimal oxygen delivery to premature infants.

The WCHOB has the region’s only level 4 unit in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, meaning it can provide immediate trauma care that can evaluate, diagnose, and stabilize patients, also offering a degree of surgery and critical care services. The hospital is Western New York’s center for state-of-the-art pediatric, neonatal, perinatal and obstetrical care.

Discovery of Essential Genes for Drug-Resistant Bacteria Reveals New, High-Value Drug Targets

Release Date: September 14, 2012Contact: Ellen Goldbaum, goldbaum@buffalo.edu
University at Buffalo
716-645-4605

Discovery of Essential Genes for Drug-Resistant Bacteria Reveals New, High-Value Drug Targets

By studying A. baumannii under “clinically relevant” conditions, the researchers have a more precise understanding of how the bacteria infects humans — and how best to fight it

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Biomedical scientists collaborating on translational research at two Buffalo institutions are reporting the discovery of a novel, and heretofore unrecognized, set of genes essential for the growth of potentially lethal, drug-resistant bacteria.  The study not only reveals multiple, new drug targets for this human infection, it also suggests that the typical methods of studying bacteria in rich laboratory media may not be the best way to identify much-needed antimicrobial drug targets.

The paper (http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/4/e00113-12) focuses on a Gram-negative bacteria called A. baumanni. It is published in the current issue of mBio, as an ‘editor’s choice’ paper. The findings may be relevant to other Gram-negative bacteria as well. (A graphic related to the research is at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13673.)

A. baumannii is responsible for a growing number of hospital-acquired infections around the world. It can be fatal to patients with serious illnesses, the elderly and those who have had surgeries. Infections also have been seen in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with battlefield injuries.

“Generally, healthy people don’t get infected,” explains lead author Timothy C. Umland, PhD, research scientist at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) and professor of structural biology in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  “But what’s challenging about A. baumannii is that it can survive in the hospital environment and is very hard to eradicate with common disinfectants, leading to healthcare-associated infections.”

Typically, the way that essential genes for microbial pathogens are found is by growing the bacteria under optimal conditions, says co-author Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor in the UB departments of medicine and microbiology and immunology. Genes found to be essential for growth are then entered into the Database of Essential Genes (DEG), which contains genes considered essential for the sustenance of each organism.

The researchers at HWI and UB decided to try to better understand what A. baumannii needs in order to grow when infecting patients.

“Laboratory conditions create a different type of environment from what hwp-contentens in patients,” Umland says, “where certain nutrients the bacteria need will be present in very low amounts and where the bacteria encounter immune and inflammatory responses. We were purposely trying to test for genes that are important for growth in these more realistic environments.”

The team performed a genetic screen designed to identify bacterial genes absolutely required for the growth and survival of A. baumannii in human ascites, a peritoneal fluid that accumulates under a variety of pathologic conditions.

“We found that nearly all of these 18 genes had not been identified as essential in the DEG because they weren’t necessary for growth in an ideal laboratory environment,” explains Russo. “This is a large set of genes that has been flying under the radar.”

He adds: “The biggest concern is that quite a few strains of A. baumannii are resistant to nearly all anti-microbial drugs and some strains are resistant to all of them. To make things worse, there are no new agents being tested for human use in the drug pipeline that are active against A. baumannii. This is a huge problem.”

Not only do the new genes suggest brand new, high-value drug targets for A. baumannii infections, but the genes that have been identified may be relevant to other Gram-negative infections.

“So far, our computational models show that these genes seem to be conserved across Gram-negative infections, meaning that they may lead to new drugs that would be effective for other drug-resistant infections as well,” says Umland.

The researchers who collaborated on the study are now pursuing antibacterial drug discovery efforts focused on the newly identified bacterial targets.

The research was funded by grants from the Telemedicine and Advance Technical Research Center of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, an interdisciplinary grant from UB and a VA Merit Review grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Other co-authors are: L. Wayne Schultz, PhD, of HWI and UB, and Ulrike MacDonald, Janet M. Beanan and Ruth Olson of the UB Department of Medicine, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and UB’s Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis.

Researchers Create Approach to Analyze Genetic Disease Data More Efficiently

Collaborating with the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke University, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) researchers have developed a method to dexterously determine genetic factors that cause disease.
In a recent research study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, RPCI’s Dr. Qiangian Zhu and fellow researchers have established a computational method called the “preferential linkage disequilibrium” wp-contentroach to isolate causal variants, the genetic irregularities that suggest the presence of a particular disease.

Dr. Zhu is a biostatician who is also the Assistant Member of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and the Director of Statistical Genetics and Genomics Resource at RPCI. Her research interests lie in developing statistically sound and computationally efficient methods to find the causal genetic variants of human diseases and traits utilizing high-throughput genetics and genomics data.

Continuing her postdoctoral research after joining RPCI, Dr. Zhu, along with her research collaborators, used variants recorded from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) that analyze people’s DNA to capture genetic variations associated with a disease. The group of researchers cross-referenced variants with a comprehensive variant catalog generated through robust “next generation” sequencing in order to identify the causal variants.

The study examined the DNA from 479 individuals of European descent. “To test our method, we ran it on five diseases for which the causal variants are known, and in every case we did identify the real causal variant,” said Zhu. The group hopes to have the method wp-contentlied to GWASs related to diseases that do not have specific causal variants, resulting in advances towards the development of targeted wp-contentroaches to treating diseases.

Fellow author of the study, David B. Goldstein, Richard and Pat Johnson Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Human Genome Variation at DUMC stated that “This wp-contentroach helps to intergrade the large body of data available in GWASs with the rapidly accumulating sequence data.”

Learn more about the study: Prioritizing Genetic Variants for Causality on the Basis of Preferential Linkage Disequilibrium

National Study Recommends Smoke-Free Apartment Policies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 10, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

National Study Recommends Smoke-Free Apartment Policies
Majority of those surveyed support policies prohibiting smoking anywhere in multi-tenant residential buildings

BUFFALO — A majority of Americans who live in multi-unit housing have adopted smoke-free rules in their private homes but millions remain involuntarily exposed to secondhand smoke in this environment, according to a study published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers led by senior investigator Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), recommend smoke-free building policies to protect all multiunit residents from secondhand smoke exposure in their homes.

“A vast majority of multi-unit housing residents continue to be exposed to toxic compounds found in secondhand smoke in spite of the adoption of voluntary smoke-free rules for their private homes,” said Dr. Hyland. “This study demonstrates widespread support of the adoption of smoke-free building policies.”

The national study evaluated attitudes, experiences and acceptance of smoke-free policies among residents of multi-unit housing in the United States. Approximately 80 million Americans live in multi-unit housing. Using the results of this study, the researchers estimate that 30 million multi-unit housing residents with smoke-free rules in their homes may still be exposed to tobacco smoke that enters their residence from other areas of the building.

Hyland and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of multi-unit housing residents who live in apartments, duplexes, double/multifamily homes, condominiums or town houses was 2010. The study sample included both landline and cell-phone-only users. Overall, 29% reported living in smoke-free buildings. Among all respondents, 56% support the implementation of policies prohibiting smoking in all areas of their building, including living units and common areas.

The study also found that 79% of multiunit housing residents have implemented voluntary smoke-free home rules. Those who have reported having these rules were more likely to be non-smokers, have higher education and live with children. Forty-four percent of those with smoke-free rules at home reported being exposed to secondhand smoke in the past year that originated from smoking in other parts of their buildings.

“Residents of multi-unit housing are particularly susceptible to secondhand smoke exposure from nearby units and shared areas such as hallways,” said lead author Andrea Licht, MS, a doctoral student with the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University at Buffalo. “These residents are trying to protect their families from the dangers of secondhand smoke by not allowing smoking in their homes and would welcome policies that support that goal.”

The publication, “Attitudes, Experiences, and Acceptance of Smoke-Free Polices Among U.S. Multi-unit Housing Residents” can be found at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300717.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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