Three UVA Health discoveries will compete for 2022’s Biggest Biomedical Advance in the STAT health news site’s annual “STAT Madness.”
For the fifth year in a row, a UVA Health discovery was nominated and the public is welcome to vote to determine the winner of the tournament.
STAT Madness is the scientific version of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Voting is available online. New rounds open each week, with winners advancing until a final winner is determined. The public may vote once per day.
The UVA Health discoveries nominated are from UVA’s School of Medicine:
FIGHTING ALZHEIMER’S: UVA neuroscience researchers led by John Lukens, PhD, discovered a molecule in the brain responsible for orchestrating the immune system’s responses to Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, potentially allowing doctors to supercharge the body’s ability to fight those and other devasting neurological diseases. The molecule directs immune cells called microglia to remove plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer’s and prevent the debris buildup that causes MS.
HALTING BREAST CANCER’S SPREAD: An unhealthy gut triggers changes in normal breast tissue that helps breast cancer spread to other parts of the body, research from UVA Cancer Center revealed. The gut microbiome can be disrupted by poor diet, long-term antibiotic use, obesity or other factors. When this happens, the ailing microbiome reprograms important immune cells in healthy breast tissue, called mast cells, to facilitate cancer’s spread, found researchers led by UVA’s Dr. Melanie R. Rutkowski. The finding could help scientists develop ways to keep breast cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
PREVENTING HEART FAILURE: The loss of the male sex chromosome as many men age causes the heart muscle to scar and can lead to deadly heart failure, new research from UVA’s Dr. Kenneth Walsh and collaborators revealed. The finding may help explain why men die, on average, several years younger than women. The new discovery suggests that men who suffer Y chromosome loss may particularly benefit from an existing drug that targets dangerous tissue scarring