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Benson R. Wilcox, M.D.
The Thoracic Surgery Directors Association has renamed its Resident Award the Benson Wilcox Award for Best Resident Paper in honor of Benson R. Wilcox, M.D., former president of the TSDA. Dr. Wilcox is a professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is emeritus chief of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
The Best Resident Paper award is presented annually at The Society of Thoracic Surgeons' annual meeting for the best scientific abstract submitted by a cardiothoracic surgery resident.
TSDA is a group of doctors who are directors of cardiothoracic surgery residency programs across the United States. Dr. Wilcox was instrumental in establishing TSDA and drafting the association’s bylaws. Dr. Wilcox, a heart surgeon, is a longtime leader in cardiothoracic surgery education and was TSDA’s first secretary/treasurer from 1977-1980. He also served as president-elect from 1983-1984 and as president from 1985-1986. TSDA was formed to improve cardiothoracic surgery education.
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Thomas M. Egan, M.D., M.Sc.
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has made a $30,000 loan to X-In8 Biologicals Corp., a new biotechnology company founded by Thomas M. Egan, M.D., M.Sc., a faculty member in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The company is a spinoff from work that Dr. Egan has done in his lab at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The company plans to use the loan to finalize its business plan and prepare to seek financial backing from investors and federal grants. Until now, Dr. Egan's research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the UNC Lung Transplant Research Fund.
Dr. Egan is working to develop therapies that might thwart inflammation and related damage (ischemia reperfusion injury) that occurs as blood flow is restored to tissues after a period of restricted blood supply. The compounds he is developing might keep naturally occurring immune-system proteins from contributing to IRI, reducing tissue damage after organ transplants. The research also could be useful in treatment of patients who have had heart surgery, strokes and heart attacks.
Read the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's news release.
Thirty-two new cardiothoracic surgery resident physicians from across the nation attended the second annual Thoracic Surgery Resident Boot Camp July 31-Aug. 2 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During 2½ days of intensive simulator-based training, the incoming residents learned and practiced basic cardiothoracic operating skills that will help them as they begin their residencies. More than 40 medical educators assisted with training on Cardiopulmonary Bypass Skills, Large/Small Vessel Anastomosis, Bronchoscopy/Mediastinoscopy, Open Lobectomy and Orientation to Aortic Valve Surgery.
The training was directed by Dr. Richard Feins of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. James Fann of Stanford University and Dr. George Hicks of the University of Rochester, and was held at UNC's William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. It was sponsored by the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association under a grant from the Joint Council on Thoracic Surgery Education, Inc. with support from these companies: CryoLife, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Immersion Medical, Karl Storz Endoscopy, Medtronic, Olympus America, Inc., Teleflex Medical, Scanlan International, Sorin Group and St. Jude Medical.
For related article, see You Never Know Unless You Try, published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
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Thomas M. Egan
In its July 2009 issue, American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology published a paper, "Novel critical role of toll-like receptor 4 in lung ischemia-reperfusion injury and edema," from the lab of Thomas M. Egan, M.D., M.Sc., of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
The manuscript adds to the growing body of evidence that the innate immune system contributes to non-infectious lung injury and proposes a completely new role for toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) – regulation of acute microvascular endothelial cell permeability. Because of phenotypic similarity to many other types of acute lung injury, the Egan lab's findings have far-reaching implications. The research provides evidence that functional TLR4 on pulmonary parenchymal cells is responsible for very early and profound pulmonary edema following lung ischemia and reperfusion.
Dr. Egan’s research has focused for many years on lung ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), particularly as it relates to the possibility of lung retrieval after an interval of warm ischemia for possible transplant from cadavers, or non-heart-beating donors (NHBDs). If this became widely practical, it could eliminate the critical shortage of lungs for transplant.
The first author of the article, Giorgio Zanotti, MD, was a visiting research scholar in Dr. Egan's lab from the University of Pavia, Italy. He is now a surgery resident at Duke University. The other authors were Monica Casiraghi, MD; John B. Abano, MD; Jason Tatreau, BS (now a UNC medical student); Mayura Sevala, PhD; Hilary Berlin, BS; Susan Smyth, MD, PhD; William Funkhouser, MD; Keith Burridge, PhD; Scott Randell, PhD; and Dr. Egan.
Reference for the article:
Zanotti G, Casiraghi M, Abano JB, Tatreau JR, Sevala M, Berlin H, Smyth S, Funkhouser WK, Burridge K, Randell SH, Egan TM. Novel critical role of toll-like receptor 4 in lung ischemia-reperfusion injury and edema. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2009; 297(1):L52-63.
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Bill Friday and Brett Sheridan
On UNC-TV's "North Carolina People," host Bill Friday recently interviewed Brett Sheridan, M.D., about heart surgery and heart health. Dr. Sheridan replaced Mr. Friday's aortic valve last winter, and Mr. Friday asked him questions about this surgery. Dr. Sheridan is associate professor of surgery at UNC and is director of adult cardiac surgery at UNC Hospitals. Mr. Friday was president of the University of North Carolina for 30 years and hosts "North Carolina People" weekly on UNC-TV.
(Images and web link used by permission of UNC-TV.)
In its Spring 2009 issue, the UNC Medical Bulletin traces the development of the heart and lung transplantation programs at UNC Hospitals. Dr. Michael Mill and Dr. Thomas Egan, both still on the faculty at UNC, started the programs after they were recruited by Dr. Benson Wilcox in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Today, UNC has six transplant surgeons; the transplant program includes a skilled team of transplant coordinators, nurses, perfusionists, anesthesiologists, surgeon's assistants, cardiologists, pulmonologists and pathologists.
To read the article in the UNC Medical Bulletin, click here. (Article begins on page 4 of the PDF.)
The elderly are at high risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) but receive less cardiac medication and invasive care than other groups. Two factors may explain this: limited data from randomized clinical trials and uncertainty about benefit and risk with advancing age.
In two articles published recently in the journal Clinical Geriatrics, Dr. Brett Sheridan (right) and colleagues in the UNC School of Public Health, UNC Division of Cardiology, and Sheps Center for Health Services Research reviewed the use of therapies for ACS and the challenges of diagnosing and treating ACS in the elderly. They also examined outcomes results of invasive therapies (percutaneous coronary intervention and coronary artery bypass grafting).
Given the benefits observed in recent trials, age alone should not prevent consideration of invasive treatment of ACS in the elderly, but rather should intensify it, the group concluded.
The research was supported by an NIH R01 grant (Acute coronary syndrome outcomes in Medicare patients) on which Dr. Sheridan is co-principal investigator.
Read the articles:
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: Intervention in Older Persons with Acute Coronary Syndrome - Part I (Sheridan BC, Stearns SC, Massing MW, Stouffer GA, D'Arcy SP, Carey TS). Clinical Geriatrics 16(10):39-44, 2008.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: Intervention in Older Persons with Acute Coronary Syndrome - Part II (Sheridan BC, Stearns SC, Massing MW, Stouffer GA, D'Arcy SP, Carey TS). Clinical Geriatrics 16(11):40-46, 2008.
|Dr. Benjamin Haithcock talks to patient Glenda Frazier about her lung surgery. (Copyright NBC 17 TV.)|
In a recent interview on NBC 17 TV, Benjamin E. Haithcock, MD, a UNC cardiothoracic surgeon, discusssed disparities in treatment of lung cancer. He discussed the same topic at a Lung Cancer Awareness Symposium at UNC's Lineberger Cancer Research Center on Nov. 17.
Glenda Frazier, 40, came to UNC from Fort Bragg after a doctor found a spot on her left lung. Dr. Haithcock biopsied the lung, discovered cancer, and then removed part of Frazier's lung using minimally invasive surgery.
Frazier was lucky because of the early diagnosis, but also because she got the right treatment.
Haithcock says she's an exception. He believes too many people, especially African Americans, don't try to seek specialized care or learn about treatment options that could save their lives. He says patients should always talk to their doctors about their options before agreeing to treatment.
|Dr. Haithcock says patients deserve a thorough explanation of treatment. He uses a drawing to explain a patient's cancer and surgery. (Copyright NBC 17 TV.)|
Dr. Benjamin Haithcock of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery was featured in a television interview about minorities and treatment of lung cancer. The interview was broadcast on WNCN TV (NBC 17, Raleigh) on Nov. 16, 2008.
Knowing Options May Prevent Deaths From Lung Cancer
By Julie Henry
©NBC-17 TV, Raleigh
Nov. 16, 2008
At just 40 years old and an avid runner, Glenda Frazier hardly fits the picture of a lung cancer patient.
But last spring, a spot on her lung brought her from her home at Fort Bragg to see a doctor at UNC's cancer center.
"He said, ‘We'll go in, I'll biopsy it while you're asleep’... amazing!" said Frazier. " ‘If it's cancerous, we'll go ahead and take it out and remove it.’ "
Thoracic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Haithcock confirmed it was cancer and did a minimally invasive procedure to remove the lower lobe of Frazier’s left lung.
Frazier didn't have any follow-up chemotherapy or radiation. She was lucky because she was diagnosed early, but also because she got the right treatment. Haithcock says she's an exception to the rule. He believes too many people, especially African Americans, don't try to seek specialized care or learn about treatment options that could save their lives.
"I think there is a reluctance to have an operation, I think there is a reluctance to see any kind of surgeon," said Haithcock. "And I think there is still that reluctance, especially in elderly African Americans, of just going to a physician."
Haithcock says more blacks die within five years of diagnosis than whites, but with proper treatment, whether it's medicine or surgery, the survival rate is the same. He says patients should ask questions of their doctors and get more information before any kind of treatment.
Glenda Frazier is living proof.
"Do your research, talk to your doctors, talk to a specialist, not just some general person, and also talk to your friends," said Frazier. "Don't settle for no."