2015: A Year of Progress, Healing and Thanks

2015 Year End Blog_v1

The physicians, researchers, managers and associates of the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, a collaboration of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health, extend a heartfelt thank you to our friends who supported our tripartite mission throughout 2015. With your help we continued to build upon our efforts to provide the best available treatments and family-centered care, to aggressively pursue new therapies and potential cures for neurological disease, and to educate future physicians and the public.

During the past year we have touched the lives of thousands of individuals. Our work has been steadfastly supported by donors, sponsors, private foundations, volunteers and the leaders of our Community Advisory Councils, who together have contributed millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of our research and patient education programs. We are grateful for the millions of research dollars we have received from tax-supported institutions that include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense and the UC College of Medicine. And we are indebted, above all, to our study participants, whose selfless role in clinical trials fuels our research and makes future discoveries possible.

From this memorable year, here is a sampling of highlights:

TRANSFORMATION

Joseph Broderick, MD, Director, UC Neuroscience Institute, speaks during the Neuroscience Institute Campaign Kickoff at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II / University of Cincinnati.

Joseph Broderick, MD, Director, UC Neuroscience Institute, speaks during the Neuroscience Institute Campaign Kickoff at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II / University of Cincinnati.

In August the UC Neuroscience Institute launched a $123 million project that will fund a new world-class outpatient facility for people with neurologic and psychiatric diseases. The campaign also will expand existing research programs, create new research initiatives, spark recruitment of additional physicians and researchers, support new training fellowships, and expand community-wide programming. More than $30 million of the $54.5 million philanthropic goal for the project already has been raised.

The new facility will be designed around a holistic and integrated patient-care model and will help expand services, enhance coordination of clinical care, seamlessly incorporate clinical research and innovative treatments and include supportive services such as rehabilitation therapies and integrative medicine.

“We envision a new hub for the UC Neuroscience Institute that will provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in a single location,” said Joseph Broderick, MD, Director of the UC Neuroscience Institute. “The design and infrastructure will enhance our processes to more efficiently integrate research and education with clinical care and to improve the patient experience. In addition, it will provide space for educational workshops and seminars to benefit the entire community.”

CLINICAL CARE

During the 2015 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2015, UC Neuroscience Institute clinician-researchers gave their patients access to more than 90 clinical trials.

The University of Cincinnati Medical Center was recertified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, the highest level of certification, which is reserved for institutions with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. For the second straight year, the Medical Center also received the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers named the UC Epilepsy Center a Level 4 Center, the highest level possible, for an 11th consecutive year.

The University of Cincinnati Medical Center, led by the Brain Tumor Center team, continued to perform seven times more brain tumor surgeries than any other area hospital.

The Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis underwent a major expansion with the hiring of four new neurologists, a nurse practitioner, a social worker and two medical assistants. The Waddell Center, never more robust than it is today, can now offer clinical services at the highest level to patients in the tristate and beyond.

The Mood Disorders Center began implementing a collaborative care model at UC Health’s resident internal medicine clinics at Hoxworth Center in Clifton and at the Margaret Mary Hospital system in Batesville, Indiana.  The UC Neurosensory Disorders Center provided free voice assessments; UC Health launched a spinal cord injury clinic at the Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care; and multiple centers helped patients and families cope with illness through support groups, exercise classes, aquatic and massage therapy, and yoga classes.

RESEARCH

Pooja Khatri, MD

Pooja Khatri, MD, Professor of Neurology and Director, Acute Stroke Program

During the 2015 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2015, UC Neuroscience Institute researchers published at least 170 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to serve as a founding member of two elite NIH-funded clinical trial networks:  StrokeNet and NeuroNext, while serving as the national coordinating center for StrokeNet, which directs all NIH-funded stroke trials in the United States.

NIH awarded a $6.8 million, 5-year renewal of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Study, which has identified 20,000 cases of stroke and transient ischemic attack in a racially diverse, five-county region since 1993. The study has shed light on stroke incidence while creating widespread awareness.

Endovascular specialists at the Stroke Center helped prove that the new generation of clot-removing devices could save more patients who had dangerous, large-vessel blockages than medication alone.

Researchers from the Mood Disorders Center were approved for $12.9 million in funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to assess strategies for minimizing obesity and weight gain in children with bipolar disorders. Melissa DelBello, MD, is the principal investigator at UC for the study.

The Epilepsy Center completed its part in a $2.6 million, multicenter trial that found that generic antiepileptic drugs were biologically and clinically indistinguishable from brand drugs. The Epilepsy Center also completed the SMILE study, funded by the Shor Foundation, which demonstrated in a scientifically rigorous way that a stress-reduction program reduced seizures in people with medication-resistant epilepsy.

With UC Health’s purchase of a clinical trials practice in Dayton, Ohio, the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis greatly expanded the number of clinical trials it could offer its patients. The Dayton practice includes three clinical trials coordinators and more than a dozen ongoing clinical trials in MS.

The Neurobiology Research Center awarded a record eight peer-reviewed pilot grants, totaling $200,000, for basic science research in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, stroke and brain cancer.

Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, researcher at the UC Brain Tumor Center

The research and development of improved therapy for metastatic brain tumors and high-grade gliomas is the focus of $200,000 in pilot grants awarded to three scientists by the UC Brain Tumor Center’s Molecular Therapeutics Program: El Mustapha Bahassi, PhD, Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology; Pankaj Desai, PhD, Professor of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism; and Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Brain Tumor Center researchers contributed to a finding by the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, a national consortium, that some glioma tumors that appeared to be “lower grade” contained a genetic characteristic that caused them to behave like the most aggressive, high-grade gliomas, also known as glioblastoma multiforme.

The UC Brain Tumor Center began recruitment of an esteemed researcher who will lead efforts to understand, target and prevent the spread of metastatic cancer to the brain while holding the prestigious Harold C. Schott Endowed Brain Tumor Molecular Therapeutics Chair.

UC was admitted into the Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium, an international research collaborative based in Boston. Membership in the consortium, known as NEALS, positions the UC Health ALS Clinic for acceptance into ALS clinical trials and will enable the clinic to bring the most current clinical ALS research to the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region.

Alberto Espay, MD, Medical Director of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, found that people’s perceptions of the cost of a drug may affect how much they benefit from the drug, even when they are receiving only a placebo.

Researchers in the UC Neurotrauma Center contributed to a finding that progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone in men and women, may not significantly improve outcomes in patients who have suffered a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.

HONORS

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Michael Privitera, MD, Medical Director of the UC Epilepsy Center, became President of the American Epilepsy Society.

Peter Stambrook, PhD, Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology and a member of the Brain Tumor Center, was honored by UC with the Lifetime of Achievement in Research Award.

Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, Co-Medical Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, was appointed Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Women’s Initiatives at the UC College of Medicine.

David Plas, PhD, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology and a member of the Brain Tumor Center, was named the inaugural holder of the Anna and Harold W. Huffman Endowed Chair in Glioblastoma Experimental Therapeutics.

Tom Mueller, an integral member of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation, was honored with the 2015 Sunflower Victory Award at the Sunflower Revolution Symposium & Expo for inspiring, empowering and giving hope to others in the Parkinson’s disease community.

David Hom, MD, an otolaryngologist with the Neurosensory Disorders Center, and Daniel Woo, MD, MS, Director of Clinical Research for the UC Neuroscience Institute, were inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Alberto Espay, MD, was named a Health Care Heroes finalist in the provider category by the Cincinnati Business Courier. Brian Wiles and his brother, Joe Wiles, co-chairs of Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, were  named finalists in the community outreach category.

EDUCATION

The UC Neuroscience Institute continued its commitment to community education by hosting its 11th Sunflower Revolution Parkinson’s Disease Symposium & Expo, which has provided education and inspiration to more than 4,600 patients, family members and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease since 2005.

The Institute also presented the Midwest Regional Brain Tumor Conference, the UC Mood Disorders Center’s symposia for the community and for mental health professionals, a conference on the cognitive effects of anti-cancer therapies, and a sold-out public symposium for people affected by epilepsy. With support from the Charles L. Shor Foundation, the Epilepsy Center held its annual symposium about stress and epilepsy, which attracts national leaders in the field.

COMMUNITY

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We would not be where we are today without the members of our Community Advisory Councils. A special salute to our Advisory Council Chairs: Kathy Beechem (Brain Tumor Center) and Adam Mueller (Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders).

A $3 million gift from the Anna and Harold W. Huffman Foundation created the Brain Tumor Center’s third endowed chair as well as a dedicated research program to drive new treatments for glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer.

A generous donation from the Harold C. Schott Foundation continued to support a nurse navigator at the UC Neuroscience Institute, while ongoing monies from the MS Clinic Fund under the leadership of Lee Carter and Eric “Buck” Yeiser support a nurse practitioner at the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to benefit from gifts and the ongoing legacy of Bonnie Mitsui and her foundation.

A generous donation from Dorothy “Bunny” Whitaker enabled the Memory Disorders Center to add a nurse practitioner and social worker to its multidisciplinary team.

Harry “Tim” Brown honored his wife and soul mate with a $100,000 gift to the ALS Fund, enabling the Neuromuscular Center to better serve patients’ complex needs.

The 2015 Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure, co-chaired by Brian Wiles and his brother, Joe Wiles, attracted more than 3,400 participants and raised more than $330,000. The 6-year-old walk has now raised more than $1.3 million for education and research at the Brain Tumor Center.

The Parkinson’s Disease Support Network of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana donated $35,000 in proceeds from the annual Jerry Wuest-Pete Hershberger Dinner Gala & Golf Classic to the Gardner Family Center, bringing PDSNOKI’s total giving since 2004 to $457,000.

The UC Neuroscience Institute also enjoyed proceeds from:

  • The Annual Wine Tasting Event, chaired by Rich Seal and Scott Hau for the Brain Tumor Center
  • The Shemenski Bowl-A-Thon, spearheaded by Jeff Eggleston for the Brain Tumor Center
  • Mary’s Socks Fund, which provides socks for patients with brain tumors during the holidays and also helps to fill basic, unmet needs for patients who experience significant hardship during their illness and hospitalization
  • The Forget-Me-Not Gala, a dinner fundraiser chaired by Arden Steffen and Tara Steffen for the Memory Disorders Center
  • Putting for Parkinson’s, led by Joy and  Scott Layman for the Gardner Center
  • Chipping Away at Parkinson’s, led by Paul Lake and Bob Dames for the Gardner Center

IN MEMORIAM

With sorrow and enduring gratitude, we also remember members of the UC Neuroscience Institute family who passed away this year:

Charles Kuntz, IV, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery and an internationally recognized expert in complex diseases, disorders and injuries of the spine

Pete Hershberger, Parkinson’s hero and co-anchor of the Jerry Wuest-Pete Hershberger Dinner Gala & Golf Classic

Michael Wood, MD, distinguished otolaryngologist and captain of Dr. Mike’s Mischief Makers in the Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure

In closing, we thank you again for your continuing generosity and support, and we extend our very best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and prosperous 2015.

Sincerely,

Joseph Broderick, MD, Director, UC Neuroscience Institute
Lori Uphaus, Administrative Director, UC Neuroscience Institute
Peggy A’Hearn, Director of Development, College of Medicine
— and the entire UC Neuroscience Institute Team

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