News Release: Emory Healthcare, Research, Winship Cancer Institute, Woodruff Health Sciences

Jul. 14,  2009

Medical Advances Highlighted on YouTube and Emory Healthcare Web

News Article ImageFor videos on Emory Healthcare's medical advances, go to

Transforming Health and Healing...Together - this is the vision of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and its clinical arm Emory Healthcare. It means pioneering discoveries that advance our understanding of disease prevention and treatment, preparing the next generation of health professionals to save and improve lives in communities worldwide, and continuously improving the quality of care for our patients. Since 1905, Emory Healthcare has been at the forefront of medicine, putting cutting-edge interventional research and technology into lifesaving action and advancing the possibilities.

Emory Healthcare posts new video features about medical advances to its web site on an ongoing basis - to see more visit

Emory Comprehensive Neurosciences Center

Endoscopic Resection of Colloid Cysts

What if you had a colloid cyst brain tumor removed with just a tiny the only doctors in Georgia able to do it? Neurosurgeons at Emory University Hospital Midtown are now removing benign cystic tumors from deep within the brain through small incisions and openings in the skull no larger than a pea with the use of a 6-millimeter endoscope (fiberoptic camera). Visualization by the endoscope allows for identification of the colloid cyst in the third ventricle, and small instruments (2-millimeters) are passed through openings at the end of the endoscope for removal of the tumor. In addition to removing the tumor, surgeons are able to create new pathways for the cerebrospinal fluid to flow freely again, so no shunts to drain excess fluid are needed.

Costas Hadjipanayis, MD, Department of Neurosurgery

Emory Heart & Vascular Center

Endoscopic Atraumatic Coronary Artery Bypass (Endo-ACAB)

This groundbreaking advance in the surgical treatment of heart disease - performing coronary artery bypass surgery without opening up the chest cavity and stopping the heart - is now a reality at Emory. It is the most minimally invasive bypass surgery presently available. More than 1.3 million patients each year in the United States receive coronary artery revascularization treatment, including CABG and angioplasty (which uses a balloon-tipped catheter to push aside blockages in heart arteries). This approach can help many people who are candidates for bypasses, or who need a combination of bypasses and angioplasty.

Thomas Vassiliades, MD, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Emory Transplant Center

Transplant Immunology - Immunosuppressive Drugs

Emory is at the forefront of transplant immunology research, using groundbreaking strategies to prevent rejection of transplanted organs by establishing true immune tolerance with drugs that are less toxic and have fewer side effects (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney toxicity and diabetes) than traditional immunosuppressants. One agent used extensively in kidney patients is now being used in Emory's liver transplant program to improve outcomes. Other new, exciting developments in liver transplantation include improving the way patients with Hepatitis B are treated after transplantation and the knowledge that liver transplants can be successful when crossing blood groups.

James Spivey, MD, Medical Director, Liver Transplantation

Christian Larsen, MD, PhD, Chief, Transplantation Services, Chair of Surgery

Emory Winship Cancer Institute

RapidArc Rotational IMRT Therapy

A state-of-the-art radiation delivery system that significantly reduces treatment time for cancer patients is now available at Emory. We have developed better ways to identify the location of tumors and deliver the dose of radiation to the tumor. One of the revolutionary ways we do that is through a state-of-the-art technique known as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). Emory University Hospital Midtown is one of the first facilities in Georgia to offer the RapidArc treatment system, an extremely precise radiation oncology treatment that allows variation of the radiation beam's strength and can help doctors avoid delicate organs close to a tumor. Over the past decade, Emory's Radiation Oncology program has been a leader in that technology.

Walter Curran, MD, Radiation Oncology

Gene Silencing in Cancer

Emory has discovered that in cancer cells, good genes are turned off and bad genes are turned on by a process called DNA methylation. Methylation causes "good," cancer fighting genes to be suppressed or "silenced." If the methyl groups attached to the DNA that controls the good genes could be removed, and unsilenced, the good genes then can express themselves and suppress the cancer. Researchers at Emory found that human cancers from breast and lung have a common pattern of genes vulnerable to silencing by DNA methylation, a modification of the DNA molecule that marks genes for silencing. Emory's research is focusing on soy isoflavones, antioxidants found in soy beans, soy milk, or anything made of soy flour, like tofu, which have been shown to reverse methylation and help to "unsilence" these good genes, allowing them to fight growth of cancer cells. Preventing methylation of the good genes could not only prevent cancer, but could also help in the treatment of cancer by chemotherapy and radiation, decreasing the progression and metastasis of cancer.

Omer Kucuk, MD, Medical Oncology

Emory Respiratory Health

Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism

Shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood, fainting, a drop in blood pressure. These are all symptoms of an acute pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that usually develops in the legs (venous thrombosis) or upper extremities that breaks off and goes into the lung.  In the past, this pronouncement was typically a death sentence. Today, Emory is dedicated to reducing the occurrence of pulmonary embolisms with a new Post Acute Pulmonary Embolism Clinic that is unique in Georgia. The mission of this clinic is to bring other subspecialties such as hematology, the anticoagulation clinic, radiologists, and surgeons together in the management of patients who've had pulmonary embolism. Emory is at the forefront in terms of a disciplined diagnostic and management approach toward patients with pulmonary embolisms, using the spiral CT and other imaging tests such as MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography).

Kenneth Leeper, MD, Pulmonary Disease

Emory Eye Center

Intraocular Lenses

Emory has been at the forefront of major developments in ophthalmology, including refractive surgery, which corrects nearsightedness for those who used to wear glasses and contact lenses. Emory provides the FDA-approved intraocular lens (IOL) for cataract patients, providing them with a new option for post-surgery vision correction that frees individuals from the need for glasses. The lens provides near, intermediate and far vision capabilities. In addition, a new experimental treatment called corneal collagen crosslinking with Riboflavin (CXL) stiffens the cornea and treats two eye conditions - keratoconus and ectasia. With subspecialties in cornea, retina, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, ophthalmic pathology and pediatric ophthalmology, Emory has long been a fertile training ground for physicians. For patients, it is seen as a place of innovative treatment and groundbreaking research.

R. Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD

Emory Predictive Health Institute

Predictive Health

A doctor's office usually exists to treat sick people but the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute is reexamining that premise to create a new and innovative model of health care that focuses on maintaining health rather than treating disease and engaging patients more fully in their own care. Emory believes that keeping people healthy is more efficient and effective than waiting until people get sick and trying to get them well again. This proactive approach uses new tools of bioscience to identify and measure risks and deviations from health, develop common processes that promote health maintenance and restore faulty processes to healthy ones before diseases occur. The Predictive Health Institute reaches across disciplines to touch on not only medicine, but public health and nursing, anthropology, ethics, behavior, health policy, law, business and religion.

Kenneth Brigham, MD, Pulmonary Medicine

Michelle Lampl, PhD, Department of Anthropology.

Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Single Incision Anterior Total Hip Arthroplasty

This exciting alternative technique for hip replacement surgery allows the surgeon to expose the hip without removing as much muscle from the bone and minimally disturbing the capsule of the hip joint, which means faster recovery time. This approach involves a single, very short incision into the patient's leg and is performed by entering the front of the hip as opposed to the back of the hip. Emory physicians perform this procedure on a special orthopaedic table called the Hannah table which can be moved in any direction so the leg can be turned and rotated, offering easy access to the top part of the femur bone. This procedure is unique to the state of Georgia as Emory is the only facility in Atlanta performing it. Emory offers this innovative procedure that provides quicker recovery times and the best outcomes for our patients.

Thomas Bradbury, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery

Magnetically Expandable Prosthesis

One of the most exciting arenas in the treatment of pediatric extremity sarcomas is the development of expandable implants and a procedure that uses magnets to treat sarcoma of bone and soft tissue. The latest devices allow lengthening of the bone using a noninvasive technique with a simple magnet held against the patient's leg, which preserves the patient's own joint. Instead of doing an amputation, physicians perform reconstructions of the bone in the midshaft and patients are back on their feet days after the operation. The implants are used to reconstruct bone that's been taken out for tumors, such as sarcomas. This treatment has only recently become available and there are only a few centers in the country performing this procedure. The Emory Musculoskeletal Oncology and Limb Reconstruction Center is the only center in Georgia that offers this treatment.

David Monson, MD, Department of Orthopaedics

Shervin Oskouei, MD, Department of Orthopaedics

Alternative Biomaterials for Hip and Knee Replacement

Orthopaedics is a constantly evolving sub specialty where medical technology and research drives the development of new products used for reconstruction of body parts, specifically for hip and knee replacements. Emory has been on forefront of investigating and using three materials for these replacements: ceramic on ceramic surfaces, metal on metal surfaces, or highly cross-linked polyethylene. These newer biomaterials can reduce wear rates by over 99 percent compared to previous materials, thus enhancing the life of the new hip or knee.

James Roberson, MD, chair, Department of Orthopaedics 


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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