Sept. 26 - 30, 2011

To serve more, home needs to expand
The Triangle Business Journal
In March 2008, SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals opened its 40-bedroom facility for seriously ill adult patients at UNC Hospitals and their families. Now, SECU Family House, which in 2010 served nearly 1,400 families, is talking to an architect about doubling the size of the facility, an expansion that could cost $5.5 million.

Sperm Reprogramming Process decoded by UNC Researchers
... Now, a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has illuminated a key step of demethylation, giving stem cell researchers critical information as they try to reprogram adult cells to mimic the curative and self-renewing properties of stem cells. ... The current finding, published online in the September 22, 2011, issue of Science (ScienceExpress), suggests that the disappearance of these chemical tags in the later steps of demethylation is not an active process catalyzed by an enzyme but is rather a passive process.

UNC leader asks lawmakers not to sell Rex Healthcare
The head of the University of North Carolina Health Care System told a legislative panel that selling Rex Healthcare to WakeMed Health & Hospitals isn’t in the state’s best interest. State lawmakers heard testimony from UNC Health Care’s top administrator, who explained why board members rejected WakeMed’s unsolicited $750 million offer to buy Rex. The Raleigh-based hospital is one of several properties under review by the House Select Committee on State-Owned Assets, which held its first meeting Thursday.

Healthy competition at hospitals
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte-area hospitals compete for your business in many ways, as you can see from interstate highway billboards that advertise both high-tech and high-touch services. ... And UNC Chapel Hill School of Medical recently opened a branch campus at CMC, where 22 students now spend their third and fourth years of med school. That's in addition to CMC's residency program, which has been training doctors for decades.

Laws aren’t enough to make sure girls are vaccinated for HPV
The Washington Post
... And Noel Brewer, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina who has also studied HPV vaccine use, said the public controversy has been less harmful than the fact that many doctors simply don’t know or choose not to recommend it, or that many parents have insurance plans that don’t cover the vaccine or charge large co-pays for it.

Rex Healthcare gets approval for Holly Springs hospital
Triangle Business Journal
State regulators today approved two projects for Rex Healthcare  -- quickly drawing complaints from crosstown rival WakeMed Health & Hospitals of an unnecessary duplication of service. Pending appeals, Rex, which is wholly owned by UNC Health Care , will expand its cardiovascular services at its main campus in Raleigh. It also will build a new 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs.

Rex on the block  (Letter to the Editor)
The News & Observer
On Sept. 22, UNC Health Care CEO Bill Roper defended his organization's ownership of Rex Healthcare before the House Select Committee on State-owned Assets. Legislators didn't appear to buy it, though, and I don't blame them (Under the Dome, Sept. 23). ... Roper said that over the past 10 years, Rex has given $20 million to the larger UNC Health Care system. That's $2 million per year. For comparison, the school will receive $61.5 million from the state this year and received $106 million from UNC Health Care last year. Roper himself earns roughly $1.5 million a year, three quarters of Rex's contribution.

White coats, and a white hat (Editorial)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Even before the ceremony began, we were all feeling good about humanity. Memorial Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus was pretty full last Saturday at noon, with the families of 170 or so first-year medical students attending the "White Coat Ceremony," in which those students are given their lab coats by faculty members. It is a somber ritual. Looking over the doctors-to-be (and this is where humanity comes in) one had to feel optimistic, as they were young, bright, eager, and so committed to a long journey. Dr. Bill Roper, the dean, and his top guns made it clear in their early remarks that personal character was a factor in admission.

Falls are fifth-leading cause of death for people over 65
“If you fall, you have a potential for breaking your hip. You have a potential for brain injury and hospitalization,” said Dr. Jan Busby-Whitehead, with UNC Hospitals' geriatrics department.

Vaccine May Turn HIV Into ‘Minor Infection
ABC News (Blog)
A potent vaccine  may reduce HIV to a minor chronic infection, similar to the herpes virus, Spanish researchers said Wednesday. But experts warn that a cure for HIV/AIDS is still a long way away.... “This [vaccine] is about a vibrant immune response,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, chief of the division of infectious diseases at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “But that is really not the same as demonstrating prevention or control of HIV.”

UNC researcher wins national award
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A UNC-Chapel Hill researcher has won the highest honor given by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Thomas L. Kash, an assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, will receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Research group wins $3 million grant to develop cell technology
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A UNC-Chapel Hill spinoff that is developing drugs to protect patients from cellular damage caused by radiation or chemotherapy has won a $3 million federal grant to bring its products to market. RTP-based G-Zero Therapeutics, which was started in 2008 based on technologies from UNC-CH, is getting the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

UNC Hospitals, Rex named among top hospitals for women
Triangle Business Journal
UNC Hospitals and Rex Healthcare are the area’s top hospitals for women, according to WomenCertified, an organization that bills itself as the voice of female consumers.

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