Washington University School of Medicine | St. Louis Public Radio

Washington University School of Medicine

Washington University's Siteman Cancer Center offers patients with certain blood cancers a new gene-altering therapy that uses the immune system to attack cancer cells.
Provided by Washington University in St. Louis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved a drug that genetically modifies a patient's immune cells to attack cancer cells. Washington University's Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is among the first medical centers to offer the treatment, which is aimed at helping those with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and some types of blood cancers. 

Yescarta, manufactured by California-based Kite Pharmaceuticals, is part of a new wave of drugs that use the immune system to fight cancer, also known as immunotherapy.

First-year Washington University medical school students board a school bus after a stop on a trip around St. Louis in August.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Every year, for the past 15 years, first year students at Washington University’s School of Medicine have climbed on board three yellow school buses and headed north. They take a route that passes through the city’s poorest neighborhoods, in a bid to introduce medical students to the lives of their future patients.

It’s a trip the school hopes will make them better doctors.

What are the latest advances in sleep research? On Thursday, "St. Louis on the Air" tackles the subject.
Jon Huss | Flickr

Love it, hate it, don’t get enough of it — we can all agree that a healthy relationship with sleep is integral to a successful life.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the latest in sleep research and answered your questions about sleep with Paul Shaw, an associate professor of neuroscience with Washington University’s School of Medicine.

A researcher holds a tray of Zika virus growing in cells at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Huy Mach | Washington University School of Medicine

New research from Washington University provides the first evidence of a human antibody capable of protecting fetuses from the Zika virus. 

In pregnant women, the virus can cause severe birth defects, most notably microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads. 

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature, scientists tested multiple human antibodies on infected pregnant mice. One antibody, ZIKV-117, was able to defend the mice fetuses from all existing strains of the Zika virus. 

Wash U virologist Michael Diamond, a co-author of the study, said the finding makes significant progress in combating the virus.

Dr. Julian Mosley was the second African-American to graduate from the Washington University Medical School.
Provided by the family

Julian Mosley Jr. was the second African-American to graduate from Washington University School of Medicine, which had been in existence for more than 80 years when he received his medical degree in 1972. Ten years earlier, Dr. James L. Sweatt had been the first.

“I think that happened because, among blacks, the Washington University medical school was perceived not only as traditionally white and expensive, but also as requiring almost impossibly impeccable credentials,” Dr. Mosley said last year. “Even well-qualified blacks didn’t think they would have much of a chance.”

Dr. Joan Luby and Stephen Zwolak discussed how to help a child dealing with mental health issues.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the mental health issues facing young children and how to address them. Joining the program were Joan Luby, a doctor and professor of child psychiatry with the Washington University School of Medicine and Stephen Zwolak, the executive director the University City Children’s Center.

Robert Boston | Washington University School of Medicine

Dermatologist Brian Kim has seen many patients who can't seem to stop itching. Often, it's difficult to determine what's causes the irritation, which can make deciding a course of treatment challenging.

"Most of the drugs I use only work a small minority of the time, so we have to be patient," said Kim, co-director of Washington University's Center for the Study of Itch. "But as you can imagine, as a patient, when you fail with three different medications, it can be incredibly frustrating."

Researchers have produced insulin-secreting cells from stem cells derived from the skin of patients with type 1 diabetes. The cells (blue), made from stem cells, can secrete insulin (green) in response to glucose.
Credit: Millman Laboratory

After a meal, your blood sugar tends to rise. When it does, there are cells in your pancreas called beta cells that react by releasing insulin, which controls blood sugar.

People who have Type 1 diabetes have damaged beta cells and can't produce insulin. To manage the disease, they either have to inject insulin or wear a pump all day.

But new stem cell research at Washington University could lead to a breakthrough that helps their bodies produce the insulin they need.

Dr. Bernard Becker
Provided by Washington University

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bernard Becker, M.D., a world renowned ophthalmologist who fought anti-Semitism as a student and, as a professional, refused to work in a hospital that would not provide care to African-American patients, died Wednesday (Aug. 28), at his home in the Central West End. He was 93.