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    Research Highlights

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    Joanna Cooper, M.D. – New Weapons to Fight MS

    New Weapons to Fight MS

    Joanna Cooper, M.D., and her colleagues are involved in a well-conceived, comprehensive program for multiple sclerosis (MS) care and clinical research, with a dozen projects currently under way, from single-center to international studies. Her work ranges from trials for innovative medications and combination therapies to a new tool for assessing an MS patient’s quality of life and symptom relief therapies. Collectively, the studies are broad in scope, addressing different types and various stages of the disease.

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    John Donovan, M.D. – Relief After Knee Surgery

    Relief After Knee Surgery

    Anesthesiologist John Donovan, M.D., is participating in a pilot triple-masked, placebo-controlled study to test the effect of continuous femoral nerve blocks on readiness for hospital discharge following total knee replacement surgery.

    This is a multicenter study being done with the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Donovan hopes to enroll approximately 12 participants at Alta Bates Summit. He will work with a number of surgeons, including George Pugh, M.D., Tom Peatman, M.D., Jeff Mann, M.D., Ken Caldwell, M.D., and Joe Cheng, M.D.

    If the study is successful, total knee replacement patients may have the option of routinely leaving the hospital earlier and with pain relief managed by local anesthetic administered via a portable pump.

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    Ward Hagar, M.D. – Targeting Sickle-Cell Pain

    Targeting Sickle-Cell Pain

    Ward Hagar, M.D., is currently working on a phase III double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to determine whether nitric oxide inhalation is effective in the acute treatment of sickle-cell pain.

    This is an international multicenter study with four participants currently enrolled at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and 93 enrolled studywide.

    While current therapies simply mask sickle-cell pain, this study focuses on treating the underlying cause of the tremendous pain crises sickle-cell patients suffer from. If nitric oxide therapy proves to be effective and safe, it could be life changing for people who have this inherited blood disease. Ideally, sickle-cell patients could carry a supply of nitric oxide with them and administer it upon onset of symptoms, alleviating pain immediately and eliminating the need for emergency room visits.

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