Media Coverage

Richard M. Gronostajski, PhD, professor of biochemistry and director of the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics graduate program, addresses ethical issues raised after a Chinese scientist claimed that he altered and edited the genes of twin baby girls to make them immune to the HIV virus using the new gene-altering tool CRISPR. “CRISPR has been revolutionary — it's been powerful,” he said. “It was anticipated that someone would eventually want to edit human beings. It’s a wake-up call.” 
BlueCross BlueShield has awarded $2.7 million in grant funding to nine health-based projects across Western New York, including $200,000 to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for the expansion of emergency access to medication-assisted treatment for patients with opioid-use disorder as well as rapid referral to long-term treatment.
An article about why so many adults are reluctant to get a flu shot despite scientific evidence that shows the benefits of the vaccine interviews Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases. “Historically, adults do poorly with vaccines,” he said. “The other thing is that there is a fair amount of misinformation out there.” A related article about why people should get a flu shot every year features answers by local and national experts, including Russo. “Whenever you take any medication, there’s a small but finite chance you can have an adverse reaction to it,” he said, “but it’s very rare with the flu vaccine.”
Reports on a study using animal models conducted by researchers in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions that found that chronic use of Ritalin without the presence of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder resulted in neuroinflammation in brain regions associated with motivated behavior, quote Panayotis Thanos, PhD, senior research scientist. “One month after use was stopped, the inflammation and structural changes were still there,” he said. “This could result in long-term risks for young adults, as these areas of the brain also influence addiction and the ability to respond to changes in the environment.”
A feature story on a website covering news in diabetes, covers the work of Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, that has shown that drugs developed for Type 2 diabetes are also effective in treating patients with Type 1 diabetes. Dandona now is recruiting patients with Type 1 diabetes in a major Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation-funded clinical trial to further test these drugs.
Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, was quoted in an article about a plan by President Donald Trump that would gradually lower drug payment levels to levels based on international prices and set payment amounts for storing and handling drugs that are not tied to the drug’s cost. “This latest proposal is innovative, very good and long overdue. It’s a step in the right direction and it’s a smart model,” Nielsen said. “However, it’s going to face enormous opposition to come to fruition.”
An article about medical crowdfunding campaigns and the role that GoFundMe now plays in paying for health care interviews Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy. “The Affordable Care Act had three goals. Two of them got met,” she said, noting that one goal was to reform insurance abuses like denial of coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Insuring as many people as possible was the second goal, she said, adding, “The third goal was to reduce costs. The third goal was not met.”
Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, was interviewed about his $1.6 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, in which he is enrolling Type 1 diabetes patients in a study of his “triple therapy” approach involving insulin plus two additional drugs that he has found help even out blood sugar control in Type 1 diabetics.
Evgeny A. Dyskin, MD, PhD, clinical assistant professor of orthopaedics, is performing a relatively new surgical procedure, intent on saving limbs of fracture patients. One of his patients is Allie Mazur, a UB senior who made a connection with Chicago Bears’ tight end Zach Miller because they suffered similar injuries.
An article about new funding to UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) to examine the possible role of alcohol use disorders in exacerbating the risk of problems with opioid use interviews Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the CRIA. The research will help determine whether a percentage probability can be assigned for opioid misuse in the alcohol use disorder population, based on certain factors, he said.
An article about the continuing growth of UBMD Physicians’ Group interviews Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and UBMD executive director. “We train to retain and UB has now trained over two-thirds of the physicians in Western New York through the medical school, residency or fellowship," he said. "That’s our mission and that’s what we’re focused on with our hospital partners and physician partners going forward.”
Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, is the subject of a Q&A interview. “I passionately believe we need to come together as a cohesive group. We need to be a strong health care system here in Western New York because we have competition all around us. We have the Cleveland Clinic, Rochester and Pittsburgh. We need to do an excellent job in terms of all the basics of good, quality patient care and be up to whatever the latest treatments are,” she said.
L. Nelson Hopkins, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of neurosurgery, was interviewed about his career, research and techniques he has innovated. “This is the most exciting place I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “Every day there is something new going on, whether it’s a heart procedure or a brain procedure. People are coming from all over the world to train here. How do you beat that?” he said.
Igor Puzanov, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, has worked with teams that have helped prove the effectiveness of a number of cancer drugs. He discussed how the new drugs work, checkpoint inhibitors and melanoma.
Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, was interviewed about why a national health system is needed to slow the opioid crisis. “The bottom line is, we need people to be alive if we want to help them,” she said.