Developments in Medical Research

The heartbreaking progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias is the reason for groundbreaking research at UH, which will hopefully turn the tide for treating patients.

UH research teams provide hope for tomorrow’s cures
UH research teams provide hope for tomorrow’s cures.

Supported by a $9.6 million grant from the American Heart Association/Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment, UH initiated a major study to determine whether jointly targeting blood cells and blood vessels can combat the rapid rise in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias. Mukesh K. Jain, MD, Chief Academic Officer, University Hospitals; Chief Scientific Officer and Harrington Endowed Scientific Director, Harrington Discovery Institute; and Ellery Sedgwick, Jr. Chair and Distinguished Scientist in Cardiovascular Research, will lead a team of investigators, including Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, President, Harrington Discovery Institute and Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation, and Andrew A. Pieper, MD, PhD, Director, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation-Harrington Scholar Program and Gund-Harrington Scholar Program, Morley-Mather Chair in Neuropsychiatry. UH is one of only three national recipients of this prestigious funding initiative.

In other research, Alan J. Lerner, MD, Director, UH Brain Health & Memory Center, Neurological Institute Chair for Memory and Cognition, and his team are examining Alzheimer’s disease gene markers in the international Generation Program study. They are investigating drugs that may remove the harmful plaques of Alzheimer’s disease, thus preventing their build-up – a novel approach to current treatment.

Studies Spanning Specialties

UH is dedicated to academic research, with more than 2,100 active clinical research studies and 600 clinical trials across several therapeutic areas. Among these, some notable studies in 2018 included:

  • A novel device to replace mitral valves in hearts is under investigation in the APOLLO trial at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute.1
  • UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital researchers are studying whether two drugs currently used in adult patients are safe for children and teens with type 2 diabetes.2
  • UH gastroenterologists are testing a next-generation drug for ulcerative colitis.3

Coordinating UH Clinical Research

The UH Clinical Research Center, led by Director Grace McComsey, MD, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation John Kennell Chair of Excellence in Pediatrics, supports these studies by streamlining regulatory requirements and expediting the research process. The center also promotes UH research to foster a culture of innovation that attracts research talent. “Research is both the foundation and the future of medicine,” she said. “Its importance has been proven through significant discoveries, continuous development of novel therapies, a remarkable increase in life expectancy, and improvement in quality of life from infancy to aging.”

The entire UH system is involved in pursuing the latest advances through medical research. For example, phase II and III industry-sponsored cancer trials, in coordination with UH Seidman Cancer Center, are being conducted at 14 community site locations.

UH progresses research as a teaching hospital through affiliations with the University of Oxford and Case Western Reserve University, where clinical practice and academic research form the hope for tomorrow’s cures.

Led by Guilherme F. Attizzani, MD, Co-Director, Valve & Structural Heart Disease Center, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Co-Director,  Cardiovascular Imaging Core Laboratory, UH Cleveland Medical Center; and Alan Markowitz, MD, Chief Surgical Officer, and Co-Director, Valve & Structural Heart Disease Center, Interim Chief, Division of Adult Cardiac Surgery, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute; Marcella “Dolly” Haugh Chair in Valvular Surgery.

Led by Jamie Wood, MD, Mary Blossom Lee Chair in Pediatric Diabetes.

Led by Jeffry Katz, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, UH Cleveland Medical Center.