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MMCRI Researchers Develop Collaborative Projects with Tufts University Medical Center

Anne Breggia, Joel Wirth, Cliff Rosen, Paul Han

MMC's collaborative ventures with Tufts University are expanding and covering a wide range of biomedical research and education topics. Recent collaborative grants include the following:

"Development of a Diagnostic Test for Advanced Glycation End-products in Pulmonary Hypertension." 

Tufts University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Grant
Anne Breggia, PhD, MMCRI, Center for Clinical and Translational Research
Joel Wirth, MD, MMC, Division Director, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Kari Roberts, MD, Tufts University, Assistant Professor of Medicine

Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) are a class of molecules formed by a nonenzymatic reaction between carbohydrate and amino groups on proteins and lipids.  AGEs are elevated in a variety of diseases including diabetes, artherosclerosis and pulmonary hypertension.  Although detection of AGEs in patient samples would be beneficial for diagnosis and treatment management of these diseases, reliable assays for high throughput testing ofpatient samples do not exist.  The goal of the Tufts CTSI award is to develop an immunoassay for quantifying both total and specific AGEs simultaneously in patient samples utilizing the novel multiplex platform of the Sector Imager 2400 instrument from Mesoscale Discovery.

"Vitamin D for Type 2 Diabetes (D2D Trial)"

NIH Planning Grant
Clifford Rosen, MD, Director, MMCRI, Center for Clinical and Translational Research
Anastassios G. Pittas, MD, Co-Director, Tufts Medical Center Diabetes Center.

Dr. Rosen is a co-investigator and Dr. Anastassios is the P.I. on an NIH-funded two year planning phase to prepare for a multi-center randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation for prevention of type 2 diabetes.  Maine Medical Center will be one site of a multi-site clinical trial once the planning phase is complete and the trial phase begins.   

"Development of a novel risk communication curriculum for medical students"

Tufts University Innovations in Education Award. 
Paul Han, MD, Clinical Investigator II, MMCRI, Center for Outcomes and Research Evaluation

The communication of risk information about the probability of future outcomes is an essential task of evidence-based health care and informed and shared decision making. However, this task is extremely challenging for physicians, and has been historically underemphasized in medical education. The goal of this project is to address these problems by developing and pilot testing a novel curriculum to teach 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year medical students theoretical knowledge and practical skills in communicating risk information to patients in an understandable and patient-centered manner.  The curriculum will be adapted from the only such program reported in the literature, developed in the United Kingdom at St. Georges, University of London.  The curriculum will be piloted initially among Maine Track Tufts University Medical School students, in order to obtain "proof of principle" evidence on its feasibility and effects on students' knowledge and their self-perceived and objective competence in risk communication. The project will produce a set of curriculum materials that can then be disseminated and integrated within the larger Tufts University School of Medicine teaching program. The final phase of the project will be devoted to these latter activities, undertaken in collaboration with faculty from both campuses. 

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