e-Update: News for University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Faculty and Staff

Up Front

From left, Bal Lokeshwar, Ph.D., Shamaladevi Nagarajarao, Ph.D., and Lei Zhang turn allspice berries into a water extract with this high-pressure liquid chromotography machine.

From left, Bal Lokeshwar, Ph.D., Shamaladevi Nagarajarao, Ph.D., and Lei Zhang turn allspice berries into a water extract with this high-pressure liquid chromotography machine.

Researchers Discover Prostate Cancer-Fighting Compound in Jamaican Allspice

Essential to jerk seasoning, allspice is known for flavoring Jamaican and other cuisines around the world with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper but, according to a new study by Miller School researchers, the aromatic spice could be known one day for impeding the growth of, or maybe even preventing, prostate cancer, the No. 2 cancer-killer of men in the U.S.

In the study published online May 8 in the Oxford Journals’ Carcinogenesis and led by Bal L. Lokeshwar, Ph.D., professor of urology and radiation oncology and Co-Director of Research in the Department of Urology, researchers demonstrated that Ericifolin, a complex compound in the allspice berry, significantly slows the growth of prostate cancer tumors by suppressing the androgen receptor (AR). A molecule central to the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer, AR enables prostate cancer cells to survive even after hormone therapy, which along with surgery and radiation is the standard treatment for prostate cancer.

Read more about the study »

More News

Two months after Carlos Alfonso, M.D., right, made his emergency visit to Panama, Diana and Noel Zuniga are happy to be returning to their children.

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Two months after Carlos Alfonso, M.D., right, made his emergency visit to Panama, Diana and Noel Zuniga are happy to be returning to their children.

UMH Cardiac Team Makes Ultimate House Call to Save N.C.I.S. Agent in Panama

The request from cardiologist Alan Heldman, M.D., came on a Tuesday, March 19, just after 3 p.m., as Carlos E. Alfonso, M.D., was rounding at the VA: Could Alfonso mobilize a team and get to Panama right away? A 42-year-old diplomat at the U.S. Embassy had suffered a massive heart attack the day before, and without the mechanical pump UM doctors had helped prove effective in the U.S., he would likely die.

Arriving at Hospital Nacional in Panama City about six hours later, Alfonso, assistant professor of medicine, wasted little time threading a thin catheter with a tiny mechanical pump into the failing heart of Noel Zuniga. Rotating 60,000 times a minute, the pump took over the job of Zuniga’s heart and set the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Resident Agent in Charge in Panama on his long road to recovery, which culminated May 17 with a news conference at University of Miami Hospital. After nearly two months living at UMH, he and his wife wanted to express their gratitude for UM’s extraordinary response to the U.S. State Department’s urgent call for the equipment and expertise that had saved his life.

Read more and view pictures from the news conference »

Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., M.B.A.

Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., M.B.A.

Transplant Surgeon Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., M.B.A., Elected President of National Urologic Society

Gaetano Ciancio M.D., M.B.A., professor of surgery and urology, has been elected President of the Urologic Society for Transplantation and Renal Surgery, an academic forum within the American Urological Association.

Elected by society members and announced at the society’s annual meeting in San Diego on May 7, Ciancio will serve a one-year term.

“This prestige is not for me, but for the University of Miami,” said Ciancio, who is also the Brandon Kyle Simonsen Endowed Chair in Transplant Surgery and Chief Medical Officer and Chief Academic Officer of the Miami Transplant Institute. “It is a great representation of the University that they entrust me as president of this important academic society.”

Read more about Dr. Ciancio »

Donald B. Williams, M.D., left, and Mauricio G. Cohen, M.D.

Donald B. Williams, M.D., left, and Mauricio G. Cohen, M.D.

Study Supports Transaortic Approach Over Transapical for Valve Replacements

Cardiology experts at the Miller School showed in the first study of its kind that transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) using the transaortic approach may result in less bleeding, fewer vascular complications, and a shorter recovery time than using the transapical route. Published online ahead of print last month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study results hold promise for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for a transfemoral procedure.

A team of highly skilled interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, including Mauricio G. Cohen, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and Donald B. Williams, M.D., professor of clinical surgery, evaluated 44 patients with severe aortic stenosis who underwent transaortic TAVR at University of Miami Hospital between January 2012 and June 2012. The patients were compared with 76 others who received transapical TAVR, which involves inserting a catheter between the ribs and through the tip of the left ventricle, between May 2009 and June 2012.

Read more about the study »

Lucas Brenner carefully removes a gummy worm from a mock patient, with assistance from Pete Cabrera, onsite endoscopic specialist, left, and Alex Acosta, assistant director of perioperative business at University of Miami Hospital.

Lucas Brenner carefully removes a gummy worm from a mock patient, with assistance from Pete Cabrera, onsite endoscopic specialist, left, and Alex Acosta, assistant director of perioperative business at University of Miami Hospital.

Kids Visit Miller School for First Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Medical Campus

Participating in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day has been a tradition at the University of Miami since 1997. This year, for the first time, the Miller School hosted the event, attracting 125 children to the medical campus.

Kicking off in the University of Miami Hospital Seminar Center with breakfast and a special welcome from Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth, the May 2 event was designed to encourage the youngsters to explore new challenges.

Read more about Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day »

Call UHealth Connect, Your Employee-Dedicated Line for Enhanced Healthcare Access

Long recognized for its unwavering commitment to health, the University continues to strive for excellence in all aspects of wellness, especially employee healthcare. That’s why the University established UHealth Connect, an employee-dedicated line to improve access to UM’s leading healthcare experts.

By calling 305-243-CARE (2273) UM faculty and staff can access an enhanced call center service to schedule an appointment with any one of our 1,200 UHealth physicians in more than 100 specialties and subspecialties.

Read more about UHealth Connect »

Early Deadline for Submissions

Due to the Memorial Day Holiday, the submission deadline for the May 28 issue of e-Update is Wednesday, May 22. For inclusion in the May 28 issue, please send all requests to update@med.miami.edu no later than 5 p.m.