News & Events

ASU researcher offers solution for early pancreatic cancer detection

April 11, 2017

Early detection is the key to successful treatment of any type of cancer. With pancreatic cancer, however, it’s even more critical. According to the American Cancer Society, four out of five people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within one year. One ASU researcher, however, hopes to change this grim prognosis with a new early detection tool. Tony Hu, an associate professor at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, uses an innovative strategy to analyze blood samples for a specific pancreatic...

ASU appoints Josh LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., as new executive director

March 30, 2017

Arizona State University announced today that Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., a leading researcher in cancer and personalized medicine, has been appointed the new executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, effective April 1, 2017. “Josh’s solutions-oriented research and innovative leadership make him uniquely qualified to guide the Biodesign Institute on its revolutionary path,” said Michael M. Crow, ASU president. “In many ways, Josh’s career trajectory...

Tuberculosis, then and now: from Old West to a new test to rapidly identify worldwide infections

March 27, 2017

Tuberculosis, once better known as consumption for the way its victims wasted away, has a long and deadly history, with estimates indicating it may have killed more people than any other bacterial pathogen. Consumption played a role in many of our stories of the Old West, but even today — despite $6.6 billion spent for international TB care and prevention efforts — it remains a major risk to human health. A group of maverick scientists from Arizona, Texas and Washington, D.C., has...

An expedition to the end of the gene

March 26, 2017

Proteins help account for the complexity and astonishing diversity among humans (and other living forms). They are the body’s workhorses, forming muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood; facilitating essential chemical reactions and protecting us from disease.  The sequencing of the human genome, however, presented science with a puzzle: despite their enormous physical variability, humans only have around 20,000 genes capable of coding for these proteins. How can this tiny...

New indicators to aid Crohn’s disease diagnosis and treatment

March 9, 2017

The diagnosis, understanding and management of Crohn’s disease may have just received a helping hand from a joint ASU Biodesign Institute and Mayo Clinic study aimed at developing a better blood test for the disease. The study, led by Biodesign scientists Josh LaBaer and Ji Qiu, along with gastroenterologists Shabana Pasha and Jonathan Leighton from Mayo Clinic Arizona, successfully identified several molecules, called biomarkers, that were unique indicators found only in patients with...

ASU Alumni Founders' Day to celebrate a pioneer in personalized medicine field

March 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: This story is one in a series of profiles of individuals being honored as part of the ASU Alumni Association’s 2017 Founders’ Day celebration on March 16. Visit the Alumni Association’s website to read the entire series.  Joshua L. LaBaer is being honored at Founders’ Day with the Faculty Research Achievement Award for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine. He is the interim executive director of the Biodesign Institute...

Sentinels in the blood: a new diagnostic for pancreatic cancer

February 6, 2017

Despite enormous research strides, detection methods for many diseases remain cumbersome and expensive, and often uncover illness only at advanced stages, when patient outcomes can be bleak. One such illness is pancreatic cancer, which may display no obvious symptoms in its early stages, yet can develop aggressively. Indeed, according to the American Cancer Society, a staggering 80 percent of those stricken with this form of cancer die within 1 year of diagnosis. Now, however, Tony Hu, a...

Tiny, pond-dwelling organism reveals nearly bulletproof DNA

January 23, 2017

Meet the tiny, hair-lined ciliate, Tetrahymena thermophila. This nondescript pond-loving, pear-shaped protist, only visible through the microscope, has long fascinated scientists---even fueling Nobel prize discoveries---due to its highly unusual cellular biology and genetic structure.  Now, it turns out that Tetrahymena’s genome, its genetic blueprint, is even more fascinating than previously thought.   ASU Biodesign Institute geneticist Reed Cartwright and colleagues at the...

The future of personalized medicine

January 13, 2017

The 21st century’s barrage of new technologies has revolutionized the ways doctors practice medicine in the clinic and in their laboratories.   The rate of change is only expected to get faster, and so it is difficult for today’s medical experts to accurately depict the future of health care. There are some ideas however, that clinicians hope to see continue into the next frontier of medicine.   One of these emerging ideas is personalized medicine. While there has...

The Future of Personalized Medicine

January 5, 2017

Karen Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics; Amy Foxx-Orenstein, D.O., Director, Mayo Clinic Arizona Weight and Wellness Solutions Program; and Heather M. Ross, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society and ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation Personalized medicine promises to transform health and health care in the 21st century with new approaches to diagnosing and...