That’s a Wrap! Highlights from ASA 2019

That’s a Wrap! Highlights from ASA 2019We would like to thank all members of our department who helped make this year’s American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) meeting in Orlando a success. Duke Anesthesiology made a big impression at this year’s event with 43 faculty and trainees participating in the conference, including 86 lectures, workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and more.

During the conference, we hosted Duke Anesthesiology’s 31st Annual ASA Alumni Event at Lafayette’s Music Room for a night of celebration. Thanks to our winning bidders at this year’s silent auction of Duke basketballs, we raised $2,450 to benefit our Global Health Program; these funds will directly support our residents’ global health missions. Two other anticipated highlights of the evening were: 1) the reveal of the 2020 DREAM Innovation Grant (DIG) recipients and 2) the announcement of the 2020 scholars of our Academy for Building Leadership Excellence (ABLE) Program.

Congratulations to:

DIGs are part of the Duke DREAM Campaign, which was launched in 2007. These grants support innovative high-risk and potentially high-reward investigations to accelerate anesthesia and pain management research. Each DIG recipient can receive up to $30,000 in seed money for their pilot study which ultimately helps them apply for and obtain extramural funding. To date, $842,378 has been funded by DIGs, which has led to nearly $15 million in extramural funding. We would like to express our appreciation to the DIG Application Review Committee and the donors who continue to support our research programs and initiatives, ultimately helping us transform the future of patient care. Please click here to make an online donation to our DREAM Campaign.

The ABLE Program is designed to accelerate career development for junior faculty in their chosen pathway by pairing them in a one-year program with a personal coach. Congratulations to those selected for the 2020 ABLE Program, which officially begins on January 2nd: Drs. Nazish Hashmi (Education), Grace McCarthy (Education), Aurelio Alonso (Clinical Operations), Brian Starr (Clinical Operations), W. Michael Bullock (Clinical Research), Marie-Louise Meng (Clinical Research) and Katherine Martucci (Translational Research).

It was also another successful fundraiser at the 10th Annual ASA-Sponsored Run For The Warriors 5k race, dedicated to the men and women wounded during service, their families and families of the fallen. We are proud to announce that for the ninth consecutive year, the Duke Anesthesiology team won first place for fundraising – a total of $8,100 in donations. All proceeds from the race benefit wounded warriors and their families through the many Hope For The Warriors® programs. At the event, we were presented with the 2019 Give Hope Award for our contributions and selfless service. And, Dr. Richard Moon received the 2019 Top Fundraiser Award. Thank you to Richard and all of the race participants and donors who raised money for this nonprofit veteran service organization. A special congratulations goes to our teammates who medaled in their division in this year’s race: Professor Mike Grocott and Drs. Joseph Mathew, Richard Moon and Annemarie Thompson.

We sincerely appreciate your continued support of Duke Anesthesiology and your commitment to our mission of providing extraordinary care through a unique culture of innovation, education, research and professional growth. We are particularly grateful to those who worked in the operating rooms during the ASA so that others on our team could attend. And, thank you to Stacey Hilton and Jaylynn Nash for organizing our ASA events. Here’s to a successful 2020 and we look forward to celebrating at our ASA Alumni Event next October in Washington, DC.

Stacey HiltonThat’s a Wrap! Highlights from ASA 2019
Read More

Humacyte, Duke Alums, Remodel Blood Vessels to Form Living Tissue

Dialysis (Shawn Rocco, Duke Health News)Humacyte is an innovator in biotechnology and regenerative medicine. Today, they announce publication in the journal Science Translational Medicine of pivotal scientific work demonstrating Humacyte’s human acellular vessels (HAVs) repopulate with the patient’s own cells to form a living vascular tissue. The published study presents a comprehensive microscopic evaluation of HAV samples retrieved 16 weeks to four years after implantation in patients enrolled in the company’s Phase II clinical trials providing vascular access for hemodialysis. The results suggest that the HAV may be an innovative advance as a bioengineered vessel that develops characteristics of a living tissue over time.

Heather Prichard, Ph.D., Humacyte’s chief operations officer and former senior vice president of product development, is the senior author of the report. Science Translational Medicine, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, is one of the world’s leading medical publications devoted to publishing research and issues of strong interest to the translational medicine community.

Humacyte’s HAVs received the FDA’s Fast Track Designation in 2014 and the Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation in 2017.  The foundational scientific data published today provides support for the biocompatibility and regenerative nature of the HAV in patients. The HAVs are acellular at the time of implantation into human recipients.  However, according to the published analysis of clinical tissue samples, the HAVs became populated with numerous types of the patient’s own cells.  Over time, these cells transform the HAV into a multi-layered living tissue similar to native blood vessels. The study also showed evidence of ongoing cellular repair of HAV tissues that had been previously injured during cannulation with dialysis needles. These findings may suggest that the recellularized HAV is capable of self-healing. “As a regenerative medicine product, we’re excited to see evidence of functional tissue recellularization in actual patients, which may have the potential to enhance long term efficacy and safety,” said Dr. Prichard.

Highlights from the Published Study:

  • Scanning electron microscopy shows that the HAV is composed of densely-packed and aligned extracellular matrix fibers.
  • Following implantation, histological evidence demonstrated recellularization of the HAVs over time, with multiple cell populations from the patient. Cell types identified include smooth muscle and endothelial progenitor cells that mature over time. The histological evidence also suggests that these cells may form distinct tissue layers in the HAV similar to that of native blood vessels. These layers include a surrounding neoadventitial layer containing microcapillaries and progenitor cells, a dense and circumferentially aligned medial smooth muscle layer, and the presence of a potentially functional endothelium on the lumen.
  • Regions of the HAV wall that were previously injured or disrupted by needle cannulation during dialysis showed evidence of restoration by host cell populations, which suggests a self-healing potential of recellularized HAVs.
  • No evidence of adverse inflammatory or immune reaction to the HAV was observed in the clinical tissue samples.

Humacyte is currently supporting two Phase III trials across 40 sites in the U.S., Europe and Israel. The studies are evaluating the efficacy and safety of the blood vessel as a conduit for hemodialysis in patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) requiring renal replacement therapy. To explore additional clinical indications, the company is also conducting a U.S. Phase II clinical trial, investigating use of the HAVs as an arterial bypass vessel in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and a U.S. Phase II vascular trauma clinical trial, investigating the HAVs in the setting of vascular trauma in patients who require vascular repair.

Additional Authors: Robert D. Kirkton Ph.D., Maribel Santiago-Maysonet B.A. HTL, Jeffrey H. Lawson M.D. Ph.D., William E. Tente M.S., Shannon L.M. Dahl Ph.D., and Laura E. Niklason, M.D. Ph.D.

Source: Humacyte news release (Research Triangle Park, NC – March 27, 2019)

This story was also featured by Science News.

The co-founders of Humacyte include Duke Anesthesiology faculty alumnus, Dr. Laura Niklason, Duke University alumnus, Dr. Shannon Dahl, and Dr. Juliana Blum. The company’s CEO is Dr. Jeffrey Lawson, who as a professor of surgery at Duke in 2013, successfully implanted the first bioengineered blood vessel in a kidney dialysis patient.

Stacey HiltonHumacyte, Duke Alums, Remodel Blood Vessels to Form Living Tissue
Read More

That’s a Wrap! Highlights from ASA 2018

2018 ASA Wrap-UpWe would like to thank all members of our department who helped make this year’s American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) meeting in San Francisco a success. Duke Anesthesiology made a big impression at this year’s event with 47 faculty and trainees participating in the conference, including 96 lectures, workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and more.

During the conference, we hosted Duke Anesthesiology’s 30th Annual ASA Alumni Event at Cityscape for a night of celebration. Thanks to our winning bidders at this year’s live auction (emceed by John Borrelli), we raised $5,225 to benefit our Global Health Program; these funds will directly support our residents’ global health missions. Two other anticipated highlights of the evening were: 1) the reveal of the 2019 DREAM Innovation Grant (DIG) recipients and 2) the announcement of the inaugural scholars of our new Academy for Building Leadership Excellence (ABLE) Program.

Congratulations to:

John Whittle, MBBS, MD, FHEA, FRCA, FFICM

“Can a Structured Exercise Intervention Modulate the Vagal Inflammatory Response in High-Risk Surgical Patients?”

Huaxin Sheng, MD

“Effect of Neuronal Stimulation in Enhancing Injured Spinal Cord Repair”

Andrea Nackley, PhD

“A Molecular Exploration into Comorbid Chronic Pain and Obesity”

DIGs are part of the Duke DREAM Campaign, which was launched in 2007. These grants support innovative high-risk and potentially high-reward investigations to accelerate anesthesia and pain management research. Each DIG recipient can receive up to $30,000 in seed money for their pilot study which ultimately helps them apply for and obtain extramural funding. To date, $752,378 has been funded by DIGs, which has led to nearly $11 million in extramural funding. We would like to express our appreciation to the DIG Application Review Committee and the donors who continue to support our research programs and initiatives, ultimately helping us transform the future of patient care. Please click here to make an online donation to our DREAM Campaign.

The ABLE Program is designed to accelerate career development for junior faculty in their chosen pathway by pairing them in a one-year program with a personal coach. Congratulations to those selected for the 2019 ABLE Program, which officially begins on January 2nd: Drs. Elizabeth Malinzak (Education), Amanda Kumar (Education), Timothy Stanley (Clinical Operations), Lisa Einhorn (Clinical Operations), Mary Yurashevich (Clinical Research), John Whittle (Clinical Research) and Jamie Privratsky (Translational Research).

It was also another successful fundraiser at the 9th Annual ASA-Sponsored Run For The Warriors 5k race, dedicated to the men and women wounded during service, their families and families of the fallen. We’re proud to announce that for the eighth consecutive year, the Duke Anesthesiology team won first place for fundraising – a total of $5,025. All proceeds from the race benefit wounded warriors and their families through the many Hope For The Warriors® programs. At the event, we were presented with the 2018 Team Award for our participation and fundraising efforts. And, Dr. Richard Moon received the 2018 Top Fundraiser Award. Thank you to him and all of the race participants and donors who raised money for this nonprofit veteran service organization. A special congratulations goes to Duke Medical School students, Reed Kamyszek, who placed first in the overall race (with a time of 17:16), and Tiffany Dong, who placed third in her division.

We sincerely appreciate your continued support of Duke Anesthesiology and your commitment to our mission of providing extraordinary care through a unique culture of innovation, education, research and professional growth. We are particularly grateful to those who worked in the operating rooms during the ASA so that others on our team could attend. Here’s to a successful 2019 and we look forward to celebrating at our ASA alumni event next October in Orlando.

Stacey HiltonThat’s a Wrap! Highlights from ASA 2018
Read More

Revered Scientist “Retires” from Duke Anesthesiology

Drs. Wei Yang, Wulf Paschen, and William Maixner.

Drs. Wei Yang, Wulf Paschen, and William Maixner.

After 13 years with Duke Anesthesiology and a 43-year career in basic science research, Wulf Paschen, PhD, has returned to his roots in Germany, where his wife and two daughters were awaiting his arrival. “I learned a lot at Duke. It’s a great atmosphere with people who are very supportive, particularly in our department, but it’s time for me to move on. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and cooking for them,” says Paschen, who views his move not as a retirement nor a goodbye, but a transition; a handing of the baton to his mentee and friend, Dr. Wei Yang – a young scientist whom Paschen recruited to his Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory within the department and credits much of his success.

“Scientifically, this was the best time in my life,” says Paschen. “It was my dream to once in my life, have an excellent co-worker. Our projects were very innovative for the experimental stroke field. I’m extremely lucky; we were just the perfect match and are now good friends.”

“It’s not often that you see this close linkage with bi-directional intellect and enthusiasm,” adds Dr. William Maixner, the department’s vice chair for research. “This is the ideal situation.”

Dr. Wulf Paschen with Dr. Wei Yang.

Dr. Wulf Paschen with Dr. Wei Yang.

Paschen’s initial Duke connection was Dr. David Warner, who also studies experimental stroke. He was eventually recruited from the Max Planck Institutes in Germany by former Duke Anesthesiology chairman, Dr. Mark Newman. After 28 years of well-funded research there, he “hit the re-set button” and moved to Duke to finish his projects. Paschen started his own lab with the equipment he brought with him. Once he arrived, he had to learn how to navigate through the competitive National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant system, quickly realizing the skill set needed to craft an exceptional proposal to earn funding. “It was a learning process. While it may be clear in your brain, it’s not clear until you write it down,” says Paschen, who also found himself in need of an investigator in his lab; he placed an ad in which Yang responded while completing his PhD in Germany.

“It was just luck. Wei has a very strong background in molecular biology, which was not a specialty offered during my studies, but it’s what I needed to accomplish my research at Duke. He was the missing link,” says Paschen, whose particular research interest is the role of the endoplasmic reticulum in the pathological process induced by transient cerebral ischemia and culminating in neuronal cell death. Yang also became instrumental in helping Paschen shape his grant proposals; working as co-investigators, the “dream team” as they’re referred to, has been awarded a total of nine collaborative grants in anesthesiology – seven of which were NIH awards, four of them R01s. Their most recent NIH projects include “The Unfolded Protein Response and Neuroprotection in Stroke” and “Effect of Aging on Brain Ischemia/Stroke Outcome: Pathways, Mechanisms and Rescue.

“You can always trust Wulf’s data,” says Yang, who notes that he taught him to be creative and innovative, yet critical about the data to ensure that they were producing scientific knowledge. “He also established a friendly, but professional work environment for everyone – that is key for a lab to develop and be efficient.”

“Success requires that you have good personal relationships,” says Paschen. “I was always happy coming into the lab because Wei is such a pleasant person. To have a good atmosphere in the lab is very important.”

With Paschen’s departure, Yang’s new role is acting director of his mentor’s lab with a long-term goal of improving outcomes in patients who suffer from stroke or other forms of ischemic injury in the brain. “I’m excited about what’s to come and the future of our lab, because it’s still growing. I’m happy that Wulf can take a break because he’s worked very hard,” says Yang.

“Wulf exemplifies everything we would ever want in an individual and in a scientist,” adds Maixner. “Our future is going to be based on past and present; Wulf’s past has created a solid foundation for the ‘cathedral’ that often times takes several generations to make. The department and university are very appreciative for what Wulf has provided, and he now hands us a wonderful opportunity as we continue to build that ‘cathedral.’”

Stacey HiltonRevered Scientist “Retires” from Duke Anesthesiology
Read More