October 1, 2012

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Almost anything can affect the success of a business. Economics, location ...Read More

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Healthcare Heroes

The Quiet Champions of Healing and Hope

Sarah Cutler, Di Lewis, Sarah Ryther Francom

October 1, 2012

Their groundbreaking research began in April 2011 when the University of Utah Pediatric Critical Care Data Coordinating Center was selected by the National MS Society to manage the MS Pediatric Data Coordinating and Analysis Center. This team, led by Casper and Rose, began to study and analyze data collected from 10 Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence located throughout
the country.

“They have been instrumental in setting up a centralized high quality data collection system, which includes the first pediatric MS registry in the world,” says Jane Bjorklund, clinical outreach and education manager of the National MS Society Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter. “The work that is being done here at the University of Utah will certainly change how the medical community looks at pediatric multiple sclerosis.”

The research that Casper and Rose are conducting will provide important clues as to how genes and environment play a role in MS. They are also working to recognize potential triggers that may lead to MS vaccines in the future.

“These researchers believe pediatric MS might hold the keys to unlocking the great mystery of the origins, triggers and development of the disease—and could further the quest to end this disease once and for all,” says Bjorklund. “We hope that eventually through this work that kids will not have to hear the words ‘you have MS.’”

Dr. James G. Carlisle

St. Mark’s Hospital

For individuals fighting cancer, deep vein thrombosis or other conditions, ground-breaking treatments that improve care and make recovery easier are now available. Dr. James Carlisle is one of the state’s leading providers of such treatments. And he works not only to bring specialized care to patients, but is also passionate about educating other physicians about the range of options to improve patient care.

Carlisle is an interventional and vascular radiologist at St. Mark’s Hospital, working to improve outcomes and reduce negative impacts of treatment. One of the ways he’s doing that is with a technology developed in Utah called MicroThermX. This innovation surrounds a tumor with small antennas and heats it with microwaves until the tumor cells are destroyed.

As the first MicroThermX specialist in the state, and still one of a few nationwide, Carlisle is a highly sought expert who has treated a growing number of cancer patients. And patients can go home with just a band-aid to cover the incision.

He’s using a similarly non-invasive treatment to fight deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Traditionally, patients have received a blood thinner to break up the blood clot that is the root of the problem in DVT, but this method is time consuming and puts the patient at risk for the clot to travel to the lungs. Carlisle uses a more effective way to treat DVT. His treatment involves isolating the clot, then treating it via catheter with medication. The device then vibrates quickly to help break up the clot and restore blood flow.

This dedication to finding new and effective treatments sets Carlisle at the top of his game. He is passionate about helping patients in the best way possible, especially if other treatments have failed.

Dr. Blake D. Hamilton
Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Urology, University of Utah

Dr. Blake D. Hamilton treats some of the most complex urological problems, including kidney cancer and obstructions, yet it’s often hard to tell he was even there. Hamilton is one of the Intermountain West’s pioneering surgeons in the use of minimally invasive surgery. Through the use of robotic, endoscopic and laparoscopic techniques, Hamilton’s incisions are about one centimeter—the same length of a grain of rice.

Beyond his minimally invasive approach, Hamilton is a respected urology expert known for treating the most complicated cases. He credits the team he works with for his medical achievements. “We’re frequently referred patients who can’t be treated elsewhere, because we can bring all of our individual experience together and work as a team,” says Hamilton.

Outside of the operating room, Hamilton is a respected professor who provides his students with the unique opportunity to see complicated cases they wouldn’t find elsewhere. He has worked with hundreds of young medical students and says it makes him proud to see students transform into leading physicians in the community.

“You watch young medical graduates come in with eagerness and enthusiasm and over the course of five years become remarkable practitioners of the surgical art,” he says. “I‘ve watched this cycle over and over and it still thrills me to see this progression. When they leave ‘home,’ they go off into the world and make us proud as they establish themselves and become ambassadors not just for the Division of Urology but for the entire University of Utah.”

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