Health Sciences

Penn Researchers Find New Role for Cancer Protein p53

PHILADELPHIA - The gene for the protein p53 is the most frequently mutated in human cancer. It encodes a tumor suppressor, and traditionally researchers have assumed that it acts primarily as a regulator of how genes are made into proteins.

Karen Kreeger

Immune Cells Protect Body from Invaders, According to Penn Researchers

PHILADELPHIA - So-called barrier sites -- the skin, gut, lung – limit the inner body’s exposure to allergens, pollutants, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Understanding how the immune system works in these external surfaces has implications for understanding such inflammatory diseases as asthma, psoriasis, IBD, and food allergies, all of which occur at the body’s barriers.

Karen Kreeger

New Study from Penn Medicine: Antidepressant Use Reduced Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women

“Our findings suggest that among healthy women who were not depressed or anxious, a 10 to 20 milligram dose of escitalopram – which is well below the dosage level for psychiatric use – provides a nonhormonal, off-label option that is effective and well-tolerated in the management of menopausal hot flashes,” said Elle

Olivia Fermano

Researchers Uncover New Gene for Heart Failure in Caucasians

Nearly five million Americans live with heart failure, with as many as 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In addition to lifestyle factors, scientists have shown that heart failure has a strong heritable component, but identifying the responsible genes has been a major challenge.

Jessica Mikulski

In the News


The brain’s traffic problems

James Shorter of the Perelman School of Medicine was cited for research about breaking up “stress granules,” tiny packets of protein and RNA that form during cellular stress, which can accumulate in, and ultimately harm, people with ALS or frontotemporal dementia. Shorter’s work aims to equip cells with a gene that would prevent that accumulation.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Researchers call for oversight of burgeoning brain stimulation market

In a recent issue of the journal Science, Anna Wexler of the Perelman School of Medicine called for more oversight of brain stimulation devices and apps, which claim to improve cognitive performance. “We just don’t know what the long-term effects of brain stimulation are,” said Wexler.



How some wellness programs encourage toxic attitudes about body size

The Perelman School of Medicine’s Rebecca Pearl spoke about workplace wellness programs. “It’s important for leaders or people who are implementing these programs to be aware that employees, especially employees with obesity, might feel self-conscious or targeted,” said Pearl. “If it’s creating an atmosphere in which other employees are commenting on each other’s weight or eating choices, we should be conscious of the potential downstream effects of being stigmatized.”


USA Today

Unproven medical treatments cost us lives and money. Let research tell us what works

PIK professor Ezekiel Emanuel and Justin Bekelman of the Perelman School of Medicine wrote that expensive, experimental medical treatments may be a waste of money until proven effective.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

What makes addiction a disease?

Charles O’Brien and Daniel Langleben of the Perelman School of Medicine discussed the brain’s reward system and its relationship to addiction.