Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Journal Record Health Care Briefs: March 15, 2011

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Journal Record Health Care Briefs: March 15, 2011

Article excerpt

Hamms donate $20M for diabetes center

Harold and Sue Ann Hamm have announced a $20 million gift to launch a $100 million campaign for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

"This is the largest single gift in the history of the Health Sciences Center," said University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren. "Added to their previous support, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm have provided more than $30 million to help us create an internationally top-ranked, university-based center for diabetes research and clinical care."

The five-year, $100 million campaign seeks to raise money to support research.

"The Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center is on a mission to find a cure," Boren said. "While we work toward that goal, we are educating people about the challenges of living with diabetes, teaching them how to prevent the development of diabetes and its complications and providing the best possible diabetes care."

The center also announced the establishment of a 33-member board of advisers.

OMRF-tested lupus drug gains FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new lupus drug that was tested at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Benlysta, the first new lupus drug approved in 56 years, went through clinical trials led by OMRF physician-scientist Joan Merrill. The OMRF trials took place in the foundation's Clinical Pharmacology Research Program, which treats and studies thousands of Oklahomans suffering from lupus and other autoimmune diseases.

"We were one of the many sites around the world that participated in several of the studies of this treatment over the years," said Merrill, who is also medical director for the Lupus Foundation of America. "This approval is great news for patients."

The OMRF's involvement in the testing of Benlysta began in 2005, when physicians started administering the drug as part of Phase 2 - or safety - testing to Oklahoma lupus patients interested in receiving the experimental treatments. Testing at OMRF continued for the next six years as the drug progressed to large-scale safety and efficacy trials and a follow-up safety trial.

One stumbling block to the drug was overcome with OMRF's help. Patients who took part in OMRF's initial Phase 2 study were given the option of continuing to receive the drug. Information from their monthly treatments over the ensuing half-decade helped provide long- term safety information critical for Benlysta's approval, Merrill said.

"We're a long way from a cure or even a comprehensive treatment," Merrill said. "What this does is give doctors one more tool to help lupus patients live longer and healthier. And we will continue to research novel treatments for the disease to give physicians and patients more and better options."

St. Anthony's receives Medicare awards

St. Anthony Hospital has been named a top performer in a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Premier health care alliance value- based purchasing project that rewards hospitals for delivering high- quality care in six clinical areas.

Based on fifth-year results from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project, St. Anthony Hospital earned $42,615 for its performance in acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care improvement project.

St. Anthony also received a Top Improver Award for its results for acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft, heart failure and hip and knee replacement. …

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