Growth, expansion and leadership are central elements of our strategic plan. As part of that plan, we continue to make substantial investments in clinical and research operations to stay at the forefront of patient care and research. Some of the highlights from our past year include:
The Integrated Center for Genes, Environment and Health conducts research to understand the genetics of complex lung and immune-related conditions. Recently, with assistance from the federal government, we added a new supercomputer to help analyze vast the amounts of genetic and molecular data we are gathering to better understand pulmonary and immunologic disease in our patient populations.
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
This past year, we opened a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab. Cardiac catheterization is the most effective method for diagnosing pulmonary hypertension, a common condition among our patients. The new lab allows us to offer enhanced continuity of care and to identify trends that can help us design clinical trials for pulmonary hypertension.
Investment in Infrastructure
Expanding and updating our campus infrastructure is essential to accommodate our growth. Over the summer, we completed a much needed 460-space parking lot expansion. This will benefit all our employees and doctors as well as improving parking for our patients.
This fall we were excited to introduce a patient portal to help connect National Jewish Health patients with their doctors in a safe, online environment. Patients can now make and manage appointments, ask questions of their doctors and review clinical summaries. We’ll be adding functionality throughout the year including the ability to receive select test results.
Finally, you may have read that National Jewish Health has been named by U.S. News & World Report as the number one respiratory hospital in the nation for the 15th consecutive year. We are proud of this national recognition of our expertise and success in respiratory medicine. We have earned this ranking because of the dedication and commitment to care and excellence that is exemplified in all of our doctors, researchers and staff.
Science truly transforms lives every day at National Jewish Health. I appreciate your continued support.
Michael Salem, MD, FACS
President and CEO
Former Fellow Highlight: Ivan Cardona, MD
Ivan Cardona, MD, completed his allergy and immunology fellowship at National Jewish Health in 2006, where he studied under Donald Leung, MD. Dr. Cardona explains that witnessing the remarkably rapid improvements of Atopic Dermatitis (AD) patients through the “soak and seal” method during his training, forever changed him. Read Dr. Cardona's full story.
New Patent: SERCA2: Novel Target for the Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis
Modulation of the activity of sarcoendoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA2) can profoundly affect Ca(2+) homeostasis. Although altered calcium homeostasis is characteristic of cystic fibrosis (CF), the role of SERCA2 has never been explored. Our scientists have shown that SERCA2 expression was decreased in the airway epithelium of CF patient samples. Decreased SERCA2 expression causes enhanced susceptibility to oxidants and oxidative stress to airway epithelium and can be an important component of disease pathogenesis and exacerbations.
Therefore, increasing SERCA2 expression or activity could be a valuable approach for the treatment of respiratory diseases like CF or asthma.
Our scientists have found that:
- SERCA2 is decreased in the epithelium of proximal and distal airways of CF subjects.
- SERCA2 is required for survival of airway epithelial cells under oxidant stress such as those caused by ambient concentration of ozone and concentrations of H2O2 and TNF found in CF airways.
- Increasing SERCA2 activity reduces ozone-mediated proinflammatory cytokine production.
- SERCA2 activity can be modulated/enhanced in CF airway epithelial cells by drug treatment.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009, May 179 (9):816-826 (PMID: 19201925)
This product is available for licensing. Please contact Emmanuel Hilaire, PhD, Manager, Technology Transfer at 303.398.1262 or HilaireE@njhealth.org.
Fellow to be Placed in Hal Nelson Fellowship
Thank you to all the former fellows who made contributions. Along with your donations and a generous gift from TEVA Pharmaceuticals, the Hal Nelson Endowment has reached the $500,000 level. The fellowship will provide for an additional National Jewish Health Allergy/Immunology fellow position to be shared between the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics. While we are excited to place a deserving physician in this fellowship, it is important to note that the fund must reach the $700,000 level to be considered fully funded by the institution.
In the News
Bronchoscopy Can Guide Effective Treatment for Refractory Asthma
Using a bronchoscope to visually examine the airways and collect fluid and tissue can help guide effective therapy for difficult-to-treat asthma patients, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. Reporting in the March 2012 issue of the journal Chest, the researchers identified five distinct phenotypes among the refractory asthma patients, and successfully treated four of them, often with reduced asthma medications.
Bacteria Subverts Immune Response to Aid Infection
National Jewish Health Immunologists Laurel Lenz, PhD; Peter Henson, PhD; and their colleagues, reported in the May 25, 2012, issue of the journal Immunity that production of nitric oxide (NO) by activated macrophages, which is normally thought of as an infection-fighting response, actually helps Listeria monocytogenes to more efficiently disseminate between infected and neighboring uninfected cells.
Trial Combines Biomarkers and Imaging Seeks to Improve Lung-Cancer Screening
National Jewish Health is seeking to refine and improve lung-cancer screening by combining a blood test with CT imaging to detect disease earlier and more effectively.
Severe Reactions to Food More Common than Thought in Young Children
Young children with allergies to milk and egg experience an unexpectedly high number of reactions to these and other foods, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. More than 70 percent of preschool children with documented or suspected food allergies suffered a significant reaction during the three-year period. Researchers also found that caregivers failed to administer the medication epinephrine in 70 percent of the severe and potentially life-threatening reactions. The study, conducted by the NIH-funded Consortium of Food Allergy Research, was published in the June 25, 2012, issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Patients with Mild and Moderate Asthma May Not Need Daily Steroids
Patients with mild to moderate asthma may not need to take daily doses of inhaled corticosteroids, according to a new study by researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues in the Asthma Clinical Research Network. The researchers, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, found that patients who adjusted their medication use based on symptoms fared as well as did those whose therapy was guided by physician assessment or the measurement of biomarkers in exhaled breath. They also missed fewer days of school and used less medication.
Trial Seeks to Sniff out Lung Cancer
National Jewish Health and Metabolomx are working to identify exactly what dogs smell in a cancer patient’s breath and how that information might be used to detect lung cancer. “We know that early detection of lung cancer can greatly improve a patient’s chances of survival,” said James Jett, MD, Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health. “The multitude of chemicals in a person’s breath may provide valuable insight into what is occurring inside a person’s body, and a noninvasive method to detect lung cancer before a person feels any symptoms.”
Clinical Trials at National Jewish Health