School of medicine

School Notes: School of Medicine
May/June 2016

Robert J. Alpern |

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library reaches milestone

The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, which serves the biomedical and health-care information needs of the Yale–New Haven Medical Center and the university, is celebrating its 75th anniversary throughout 2016. A series of events will commemorate this milestone, including installations in the library and rotunda, a collection of audio interviews about the library’s significance (posted on its website), and a presentation on June 3 entitled “Harvey Cushing and John Fulton: Two Icons of the Roaring Twenties Bonded by Medicine and Books” by Dennis D. Spencer, the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, and Gordon M. Shepherd, professor of neuroscience. The events will culminate in an anniversary gala on October 5. 

Researchers link lipids to myelomas

Yale Cancer Center researchers have identified a link between lipids and the origin of a third of all myelomas, a type of cancer affecting plasma cells. The findings, published February 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine, could change the way this cancer and others are treated. Multiple myeloma is a cancer involving the growth of plasma cells, which are immune cells that make antibodies to fight infection. Uncontrolled growth of these cells leads to anemia, bone pain, kidney problems, Gaucher disease, and myeloma. Despite recent advances, including several new FDA-approved therapies for myeloma, the disease remains incurable, and nearly all patients eventually die from it. The new study shows that chronic stimulation of the immune system by lipids made in the context of inflammation underlies the origins of at least a third of all myeloma cases. “These studies set the stage for newer approaches to lower the levels of these lipids in patients with Gaucher disease and others with precursors for myeloma,” said senior author Madhav Dhodapkar, the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Professor of Medicine and Immunobiology. “Potentially, this could be achieved with drugs or lifestyle changes to reduce the levels of lipids to lower the risk of cancer.” The new findings build on prior research from the Dhodapkar lab demonstrating that patients with Gaucher disease, an inherited lipid storage disorder, have a significant increased risk for developing myeloma.

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