Recently in Masonic Cancer Center Category

U of M & Mayo Clinic have their sights set on myelodysplastic syndrome

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Earlier this week, ABC's Robin Roberts announced she is battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease of the blood and bone marrow. In patients with MDS, the bone marrow keeps trying to make more blood cells to make up for a deficit, but many of these cells die before they make it into the blood stream. The condition is often treated with chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.

MDS can be a scary condition for patients. More than 10,000 patients are diagnosed with the condition each year and 30 percent of those cases progress into acute leukemia. The condition can occur seemingly at random with few known causes.

For reasons still unknown, Minnesota owns the country's highest incidence rate of MDS. As a result, both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic have made MDS research a priority, which spells good news for MDS patients across the country.

Together, the two institutions are taking the lead on the development of new tools to both diagnose and treat the condition.

Recently, U of M and Mayo researchers were awarded $1.35 million by the Minnesota Partnership to combat the disease. That grant comes on the heels of a five-year, $2.5 million grant awarded last year to U of M epidemiologist Julie Ross, Ph.D., and pediatric hematologist-oncologist Erica Warlick, M.D., to conduct the nation's first large scale epidemiologic study of MDS.

"There aren't many studies where we look at newly-diagnosed patients and follow them over time, so we've never truly investigated why people get MDS," said Ross. "Therefore we can't definitively say which patients will see their disease progress into leukemia. We want to take the speculation and shift it into fact, giving patients a better chance against the disease."

KSTP recently caught up with Warlick to learn more about MDS. You can watch that video here. For more on University of Minnesota research into MDS, visit

U of M researchers hope to raise breast cancer screening awareness via cell phone

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Technology has provided a host of ways to get information into the hands of an end user. Specifically, cell phones have opened up new doors for passing along information via text message or specialized alerts.

Now, U of M researchers from the School of Social Work, Masonic Cancer Center and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health will receive $675,000 over three years from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to develop new ways to use cell phones to promote breast cancer screening to Korean women.

Hee Yun Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work and Masonic Cancer Center, will lead the project and Doug Yee, M.D., director of the Masonic Cancer Center, and Rahel Ghebre, M.D., assistant professor in both the Masonic Cancer Center and the Medical School's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health will act as co-investigators.

Congratulations to the researchers and we'll keep readers updated on the project as it moves forward.


42% of American adults will be obese by 2030, study says

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Image: LA Times LogoThe ranks of obese Americans are expected to swell even further in the coming years, rising from 36% of the adult population today to 42%. Robert Jeffery, School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, discusses how policymakers can help prevent increased obesity.

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Cholesterol Reducing Foods: Which Foods Affect Cholesterol?

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Image: AHC LogoThere are several foods, in addition to sensible eating, may indeed help drive down cholesterol levels. Joanne Slavin, Masonic Cancer Center, talks about how flaxseed can be a great way to help lower high cholesterol.

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Good Question: What Does It Mean To Be Obese?

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Image: WCCO LogoWCCO's Good Question segment asks what are the factors that make someone obese. Allen Levine, Masonic Cancer Center, talks about how body mass index and other factors lead to the diagnosis of obesity.

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