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The University of Chicago Medicine



A little boy gets his future back New hope for children and adults with severe, uncontrolled epilepsy

Surviving advanced head and neck cancer without surgery Personalized care sets kidney transplant program apart

Kids Health

A physician devotes her career to treating and curing a deadly childhood cancer

The University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences has been at the forefront of medical care, research and teaching for more than 90 years. Located in historic Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago, the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences includes: Patient Care Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital (adult) Comer Children’s Hospital Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine Numerous outpatient locations throughout the Chicago area

GREETINGS FROM THE FOREFRONT OF MEDICINE. This is an exciting time for the University of Chicago Medicine as we expand the horizons of health care and our own facilities. In June, we opened the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Ill. The new outpatient diagnostic and treatment center brings University of Chicago Medicine cancer specialists and their advanced and investigational therapies into a convenient, community hospital setting. We will follow that expansion with another on our Hyde Park medical campus, where our new hospital opens in February. January. The The10-story, 10-story,state-of-the-art state-of-the-artfacility facility combines the latest technologies with inspired architecture, providing a light-filled, comfortable setting with 240 private rooms for our patients and their families. As technologically advanced as they are, these buildings were designed with a much more important focus: putting the patient first. That mission underlies all that we do at the University of Chicago Medicine and is evident in the inspiring stories of our patients and physicians that fill the pages of this issue of Imagine. We hope you enjoy it.

Teaching Programs Pritzker School of Medicine Master’s and doctoral degree programs Postdoctoral programs Research Medical and basic science units Among our many honors and acknowledgements: 12 Nobel laureates; ranked 10th of all U.S. medical schools; one of only 41 National Cancer Institutedesignated comprehensive cancer centers; ranked second in nation for National Institutes of Health grant support per researcher. University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Executive Leadership Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and executive vice president for Medical Affairs for the University of Chicago Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center Richard Baron, MD, dean for clinical practice and chair of the University of Chicago Medicine Department of Radiology T. Conrad Gilliam, PhD, dean for research and graduate education, Biological Sciences Division Holly J. Humphrey, MD, dean for medical education, Pritzker School of Medicine

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD

Sharon O’Keefe

Dean of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and executive vice president for Medical Affairs for the University of Chicago

President of the University of Chicago Medical Center

Imagine is published quarterly by the University of Chicago Medicine. Editors: Anna Madrzyk Ginny Lee-Herrmann Email us at: Design: Group Chicago Contributing writers: Jamie Bartosch, Tanya Cochran, Megan Doherty, Elizabeth Gardner, Darcy Lewis, Gretchen Rubin, Anita Slomski and Matt Wood Contributing photographers: David Christopher, Dianna Douglas, Dan Dry, Jean Lachat and Bruce Powell

A Brand for the 'Forefront of Kids' Medicine'


The University of Chicago Medicine is the medical center’s new brand, unveiled earlier this year as preparation continues for the opening of the new hospital in 2013. The launch of the brand marks a new era in the academic medical center’s decades-long history, as it seeks to strengthen the connection between the internationally renowned University of Chicago and its clinical programs. The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital also introduced a new, updated logo, strengthening its connection to the University and re-emphasizing reemphasizing its itsplace placeas as the center for children’s specialized health care in Chicago.

Read what members of our team say about our new hospital, opening in February January 2013. 2013.— —Back Backcover cover

The University of Chicago Medicine 5841 S. Maryland Ave. Chicago, IL 60637 The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital 5721 S. Maryland Ave. Chicago, IL 60637 Telephone: 1-773-702-1000 Appointments: 1-888-824-0200 Follow the University of Chicago Medicine on Twitter at or visit our Facebook page at You can read more about our news and research at and at This publication does not provide medical advice or treatment suggestions. If you have medical problems or concerns, contact a physician who will determine your treatment. Do not delay seeking medical advice because of something you read here. For urgent needs, call 911 right away. Read Imagine online at



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Photo courtesy Yerkes National Primate Research Center

IMAGINE THAT! The buzz on beehive extract The sticky stuff that bees use to patch up holes in their hives might someday be used to help treat prostate cancer. Honeybee hive propolis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to treat everything from sore throats to burns. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found the active ingredient stops early-stage prostate cancer by blocking tumor cells’ ability to detect nutrition sources. “So it doesn’t kill the cancer, but it basically will indefinitely stop prostate cancer proliferation,” said genomics researcher Richard Baker Jones, PhD, senior author of the study published in Cancer Prevention Research. The leading-edge technique the researchers developed to study the biological effects of “bee glue” now may be used to study other promising natural remedies. Neural balls and strikes Hundreds of times during a baseball game, the home plate umpire must instantaneously call a fast-moving pitch as a ball or strike. Researchers at the University of Chicago have pinpointed an area in the brain where these kinds of visual categories are encoded. For this task, the brain’s surprise MVP turns out to be a region known as the posterior parietal cortex, which demonstrated faster and stronger categoryspecific signals than the prefrontal cortex, typically associated with

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higher cognitive levels. “The number of decisions we make per minute is remarkable,” said neuroscientist David Freedman, PhD. Understanding this process from a basic physiological perspective, he said, will be “particularly important for patients suffering from neurological illnesses, brain injuries or mental illness that affect decision making.” The study is published in Nature Neuroscience.

Medical student Laura Blinkhorn pulls weeds outside a senior housing complex during the University of Chicago Medicine’s 10th annual Day of Service and Reflection in May. Blinkhorn, a fourth-year student at the Pritzker School of Medicine, was among more than 200 volunteers during the Urban Health Initiative event, which fosters ties between the medical center and its South Side neighbors. “As a medical student, it’s important to know the community, where our patients come from,” Blinkhorn said.

Genetic social climbing New research conducted in female monkeys suggests that social factors can penetrate deep into DNA. A study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that a rhesus macaque’s social ranking and the stress associated with it affect nearly 1,000 genes — including more than 100 related to immune system function. Not only that, but when a monkey climbed the social ladder, her gene expression also changed within a few weeks. While researchers say it’s speculative to apply the results to people, “an encouraging message to humans is the fact that the effects are plastic, reversible and change on a really large scale when rank changes,” said Yoav Gilad, PhD, senior author of the study, published in PNAS. “Whatever it is that causes stress through social environment, you might be able to fix.”

By the Numbers


pediatric cochlear implant surgery performed in spring 2012

Cordero Rice, 1, hears for the first time. The toddler, deaf since birth, was the recipient of the University of Chicago Medicine’s 100th pediatric cochlear implant surgery, performed by surgeon Dana L. Suskind, MD, left, and her team.

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Wild at Heart 7 to 8:30 p.m., September 12 Regenstein Center for African Apes Lincoln Park Zoo 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago Join University of Chicago Medicine heart failure specialist Allen S. Anderson, MD, and Lincoln Park Zoo’s Kathryn Gamble, DVM, for a special evening as we explore heart health across species. Light refreshments will be served. $25/$20 for zoo members.


young physicians chosen for prestigious Bucksbaum Institute fellowships on enhancing the doctor-patient relationship


Monica Peek, MD, MPH, internal medicine specialist and a fellow of the new Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, is studying whether removing racial and cultural obstacles in doctor-patient interactions will reduce health disparities among African Americans with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Average number of clinical trials conducted at the University of Chicago Medicine each year




with Mitch Posner, MD

Mitchell C. Posner, MD, is an internationally recognized expert on upper gastrointestinal cancers, including pancreatic, esophageal, stomach and liver cancers. Posner is chief of general surgery and surgical oncology and medical director of clinical cancer programs at the University of Chicago Medicine. The cancer program at the University of Chicago Medicine is ranked No. 1 in the state of Illinois for 2012-2013 by U.S. News & World Report.

>> What should a patient with gastrointestinal cancer expect

when he calls to make an appointment at the University of Chicago Medicine? We strive to see patients within a week of their initial call, and I think we’re very good at that. Our new goal is to schedule a visit within three days. We have a dedicated intake team that coordinates appropriate appointments with medical oncology, surgical oncology, gastroenterology and radiation oncology. They are experienced, knowledgeable and able to navigate patients in a very seamless way through a complex process.

>> What are some things patients should consider when they

are deciding where to be treated? It’s important for patients to have a comfort level with both the physician and the treatment plan. From a surgical perspective, it’s well known that surgeons and hospitals treating high volumes of a particular type of cancer have better outcomes.

>> What is the role of clinical trials in upper GI cancers?

Many of the diseases we treat are among the most lethal of

SUMMER sun smarts

University of Chicago Medicine dermatologist Diana Bolotin, MD, PhD, is an expert in Mohs micrographic surgery — an advanced technique for the removal of common skin cancers. She offers these tips for smart sun care: Use a water-resistant “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against both UVB light and UVA rays daily. Opt for an SPF of at least 30 on an average day, bright or cloudy. Use a higher SPF for outdoor activities. Apply liberally every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and SPF 15-30 lip balm. See a dermatologist for a yearly skin exam.



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cancers. Clinical trials provide the mechanism to test new agents, new surgical techniques and new approaches, and are, I think, a critical component of care. For pancreatic cancer, nearly every patient would benefit from being in a clinical trial, in my opinion.

>> What are your goals as medical director of clinical cancer

programs at the University of Chicago Medicine? Providing patients easy access to what is rated as the No. 1 cancer center in Chicago and one of the leading cancer centers in the country. Communicating with referring physicians in a more standardized fashion. Offering an ideal patient experience.

>> What inspires you about the University of Chicago Medicine? Great people in a great setting that has the perfect balance of research, clinical excellence and the training of the next generation of both academic and clinical leaders. It sounds like Shangri-la, but I believe it. So that’s what inspires me.

Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross opens The new University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital brings University of Chicago cancer specialists and their advanced treatment programs to a convenient community setting. The $21.6 million, 20,000-square-foot outpatient cancer treatment center — a joint venture between the University of Chicago Medicine and Silver Cross — opened June 25 in New Lenox, Ill.

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital offers leading-edge treatments not typically available in a community hospital setting.

The cancer center offers state-of-the-art chemotherapy and radiation therapy and access to innovative clinical trials. Technology includes the TrueBeam next-generation linear accelerator, which delivers targeted radiation therapy to provide the safest and most precise treatments. TM

Other services include cancer screenings, patient support groups and a resource center. University of Chicago Medicine physicians will provide gynecologic oncology services at Silver Cross Hospital in conjunction with the center.

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‘WHYmy mother

is alive today’

Collaborative care for patients with aortic disease Jean Bacarella says her 78-year-old mother is alive today because of the skill of vascular surgeon Ross Milner, MD. Milner repaired Betty McGuire’s abdominal aortic aneurysm in a complicated, 8-hour surgery in December 2011. Mother and daughter were so impressed with Milner’s expertise and bedside manner that the Elk Grove Village, Ill., matriarch chose to follow him when he took a new position at the University of Chicago Medicine. “No one showed the care and compassion for our whole family that Dr. Milner did,” Bacarella said. Not only that, but “he had endless patience for my endless questions,” she said. Milner and cardiac surgeon Mark Russo, MD, MSc, are co-directors of the University of Chicago Medicine Center aortic diseases program. The team includes experts from several specialties — vascular and cardiac surgery, general and interventional radiology, anesthesia, imaging and nursing — working collaboratively to treat patients with these complex conditions. “We feel we offer something very unique in the whole Midwest,” Milner said. The center treats a variety of aortic conditions, including aneurysms,


for patients with high blood pressure

Ross Milner, MD, and Betty McGuire

dissections and congenital aortic disease, such as Marfan syndrome. In February, the University of Chicago Medicine was the first hospital in Chicago to perform a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) outside of a clinical trial setting. This nonsurgical treatment for severe aortic stenosis “clearly has been shown to provide improved survival and better quality of life for patients who are poor

candidates for surgery and for whom no options previously existed,” Russo said. Patients often are unsure whether they should see a vascular or cardiac surgeon. Milner and Russo offer a combined aortic clinic on Tuesdays. “A patient can make an appointment with either physician, and we will ensure that they see the appropriate physician during their visit,” Milner said.

The American Society of Hypertension (ASH), the nation’s largest organization of hypertension specialists, has designated the University of Chicago Medicine as a Comprehensive Hypertension Center, the first in the country. The center offers individualized care to patients who have hypertension in addition to other health conditions, including early kidney disease, diabetes and high risk for heart attack or stroke. “Basically, hypertension said George Bakris, MD, director of the it’s one-stop shopping for hypertension,” University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Hypertension Center and board-certified ASH hypertension specialist. The “comprehensive” designation is the highest level of formal recognition by ASH for academic medical centers that demonstrate expertise in treating patients with complex hypertension and related illnesses.



Stopping Nathanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seizures When nothing else helped, Nathanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents turned to Michael Kohrman, MD, and the epilepsy experts at the University of Chicago Medicine

Michael Kohrman, MD, and Nathan Kalina



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ive-year-old Nathan Kalina, who likes playing with action figures and acting out scenes of valor from his favorite movies, has been free of seizures for a year, after enduring between 60 and 100 a day for months. Before his family gave up on sending him to preschool, he’d been wearing a face mask and a helmet so he wouldn’t hurt himself in seizure-related falls. Now he’s looking forward to kindergarten in September, without any protective gear, and his mother, Megan, is cautiously starting to wean him off some of the five antiseizure drugs he takes to control his myoclonic-astatic epilepsy, also known as Doose syndrome. “He’s completely recovered and suffered no long-term damage,” Megan Kalina said. “His milestones have caught up, he’s growing like a weed, and we can breathe again.”

“Ultimately our goal is no seizures and no side effects.” MICHAEL H. KOHRMAN, MD, expert on childhood epilepsy

The Kalinas, who live in Naperville, Ill., previously had tried two other hospitals and many drugs, as well as a special high-fat diet that ended up making Nathan sick. A friend recommended Michael Kohrman, MD, director of the pediatric epilepsy program at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. After trying one more drug, with some success but not enough, Kohrman had Nathan evaluated for surgery. One month after pediatric neurosurgeon Leila Khorasani, MD, implanted a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), Nathan was seizure free. The vagus nerve originates in the brain stem and supplies nerve fibers to various organs. The stimulator, powered by a small battery implanted in Nathan’s chest, sends a tiny electric shock to the nerve

every 5 minutes, causing him a little tickle at the back of his throat but otherwise not bothering him at all. “No one understands 100 percent why VNS works, but it can reduce seizures in the right kind of patient,” says David M. Frim, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery. Nathan’s apparently complete recovery isn’t typical; approximately 30 percent of epilepsy patients treated with VNS experience a major improvement in seizure control, while another 30 percent show some improvement. The University of Chicago Medicine adult and pediatric epilepsy programs provide seamless care for patients from infancy through adulthood. Both adult and pediatric programs are recognized as Level 4 treatment centers — the highest possible — by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Adult and pediatric epilepsy care is offered on the main University of Chicago Medicine campus in Hyde Park. In addition, pediatric epilepsy experts see patients at offices in Elmhurst, Ill., Hinsdale, Ill., Naperville, Ill., Palos Heights, Ill., and Merrillville, Ind. The epilepsy program offers surgical procedures that aren’t widely available elsewhere, as well as multiple ways to image the brain and study its electrical wave patterns. As a result, the multispecialty team is often able to make the definitive diagnosis that has eluded many seizure patients, leading to more effective treatment. Patients also benefit from the clinical trials of drugs and other therapies at the University of Chicago Medicine. “We have one of the most active epilepsy research programs in the city, if not in the Midwest,” Kohrman said. On the one-year anniversary of Nathan’s surgery, Kohrman received an email from Megan Kalina. “You gave us our son back,” she wrote, “and Nathan his future back.”

Sharon O’Keefe, left, and Susan Axelrod

The quest for a cure Susan Axelrod co-founded Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) in 1998 out of frustration after not being able to find successful therapy for her daughter Lauren’s seizures. The Axelrods (Susan's husband, David, is an advisor to President Barack Obama) tried countless drugs, special diets and surgery, with no effect. Lauren, now in her 30s, suffered brain damage. But she has been seizure free since 2000, thanks to a single drug that proved effective for her. Since its inception, CURE has raised more than $18 million for epilepsy research and awareness. University of Chicago Medical Center President Sharon O’Keefe was named to the national organization’s board in May. “I have seen how epilepsy can disrupt the lives and plans of patients and their families,” said O’Keefe, the mother of a child with epilepsy. “I also have seen remarkable progress toward understanding this disease through innovative research. I look forward to this new role in helping speed up the pace of progress in understanding, treating and, we hope, curing this disorder.” For more information, visit

Epilepsy expert joins team Pediatric neurologist Charles Marcuccilli, MD, PhD, joined the Pediatric Epilepsy Center on July 5. Marcuccilli, who conducts basic and clinical research in epilepsy and seizure control, will see patients in a new clinic in Hinsdale, Ill., as well as at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

Mapping the brain A brain-mapping technique developed at the University of Chicago Medicine puts data from brain scans through a complex mathematical algorithm to produce a 3-D image of the brain that often shows exactly where the seizure activity is occurring. This helps epilepsy specialists decide whether surgery is the best option for controlling the patient’s seizures.

David M. Frim, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery, says it makes his job much easier and simpler. “We can concentrate on finding the safest and least traumatic way to remove the seizure-causing area,” Frim said, “because we’re so sure that we are operating on the correct tissue.”



‘I feel great today’ Surviving stage 4 head and neck cancer without surgery


iping the sweat off his face after a 10-mile run in 2009, Craig Martin discovered the lump under his left jaw. Suspecting a sinus infection, Martin tried two rounds of antibiotics before seeking the advice of an ear, nose and throat physician. The diagnosis was grim: the 46-year-old arborist from Libertyville, Ill., had stage 4 tonsil cancer. After extensive research, Martin chose the University of Chicago Medicine for its vast experience treating advanced head and neck cancers and excellent survival rates. “The team at the University of Chicago gave me an 85 percent chance of beating my cancer, which was a lot better Kerstin Stenson, MD, and odds than the 60 Daniel J. Haraf, MD percent chance another oncologist gave me,” said the father of three. The multidisciplinary team is nationally known for pioneering a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation therapy that effectively treats stage 4 head and neck cancers 80 percent of the time. “Sacrificing a larynx or tongue through surgery should never be a first step to treating cancer,” said Daniel J. Haraf, MD, medical director of radiation oncology. Martin’s treatment consisted of weekly chemotherapy for 15 weeks and 50 treatments of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Haraf was one IMAGINE


Craig Martin of Libertyville, Ill., is back to serious running after treatment for advanced tonsil cancer at the University of Chicago Medicine.

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of the first physicians in Chicago to offer IMRT, which shapes the radiation field to the contour of tumors by altering the beam hundreds of times during a treatment. “With IMRT, we can target tumors with high doses of radiation and limit radiation to tissues and organs we want to spare, such as salivary glands or the spinal cord,” he said. Surgery can be the preferred treatment for small, early-stage lesions. “For the newly diagnosed patient, we have every tool to remove the cancer while preserving function of their organs. Endoscopic laser surgery, new reconstructive techniques and robotic surgery allow us to remove tumors through the mouth instead of opening up the neck,” said Kerstin Stenson, MD, who directs the medical center’s head and neck surgery program. For patients with recurrent cancer, options often include surgery with or without a second round of full-dose radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy — a treatment few cancer centers offer. But Haraf, one of the world’s leading authorities on reirradiation, has a 20-year track record of curing recurrent head and neck cancer. “Experience makes all the difference in getting successful outcomes,” he said. Martin, whose cancer went into remission last fall, is back to serious running and biking. “I have no limitations, and I feel great today,” he said. “But even when I was at my sickest, the team at the University of Chicago made me feel strong mentally because of their confidence that my treatment would work.”

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Targeted treatments for tiny patients Maggie Leander

Families turn to world-class neuroblastoma team for expertise, support

The only sign that 2-year-old Maggie Leander ever had cancer is a tiny dot — a radiation tattoo — on her belly. Maggie was just 10 days old when Iowa doctors told Breanna and Luke Leander that their baby had neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerve cells.

“We have a long way to go, but we’ve also come a long way.” SUSAN L. COHN, MD, internationally recognized neuroblastoma expert

Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in infants and one of the most common in children younger than 10. It’s an unusual cancer, in that some children

will have a spontaneous remission without treatment. In others, the disease is aggressive and deadly despite intensive chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants. Maggie had a low-risk form, but as the tumor in her tiny body grew to the size of a cantaloupe, her breathing became labored and rapid. The Leanders, who live in western Illinois, wanted a second opinion. One sleepless night, while reading a book from the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, Breanna Leander spotted the name of an internationally recognized expert on the disease from the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital — pediatric oncologist Susan L. Cohn, MD.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there is someone in my state who’s an expert on this. And it’s Dr. Cohn,’” Leander said. Cohn has dedicated her career to caring for children with neuroblastoma and to researching new treatments. She is one of the few pediatric oncologists in the United States conducting Phase 1 clinical trials of the very newest therapies, which offer hope for children with aggressive, relapsed disease. She also is co-chair of an international task force that is compiling data on neuroblastoma patients from around the world. “The main goal is to use the data to further understand the biology of this complex cancer and develop more effective treatments,” Cohn said. That type of expertise immediately drew Maggie’s parents to Cohn. So did her warm, relaxed nature and “confident but cautious” approach, Breanna Leander said. “Here’s this leading expert from the University of Chicago, and she told me I could call her at home if I had any questions,” Leander said. “It was unheard of.” Cohn immediately started tiny Maggie on inpatient chemotherapy. During Maggie’s four-week hospital stay, the Leanders were impressed with the level of expertise shown by the entire treatment team, from the ultrasound technicians to Susan L. Cohn, MD the pathologists. Soon, Maggie’s tumor began to shrink, and her liver, which had been marbled with cancer, was clear. While the Leanders could continue their twice-yearly follow-up appointments closer to their home in Cambridge, Ill., the family prefers to make the 2-hour drive each way to see Cohn. “There’s no way I’m going anywhere else,” Leander said. “People have told me she is the best in the country. I think so, too.” neuroblastoma



MaryLou Krippner and Yolanda T. Becker, MD

Restored to health Kidney and kidney-pancreas transplant patients receive leading-edge, personalized care


ugust 15, 2011, seemed like just another day for MaryLou Krippner. The Lisle, Ill., resident had already worked a full day when she received a phone call: The new kidney she had awaited since 2006 might become available that night. Six hours later, she learned the kidney would be hers, and by the end of the next day Krippner was at the University of Chicago Medicine with a new, functioning kidney. Five years of home dialysis and kidney failure had come to an end. No one knows why Krippner’s kidneys stopped working, but for 25 percent of kidney transplant patients, kidney failure is a complication of diabetes. And of the growing number of patients who receive a combined kidney-pancreas transplant at the University of Chicago Medicine, almost all have diabetes. Kidneys clean the blood by continually filtering out waste products, which then leave the body as urine. But when kidneys fail, wastes build to life-threatening levels. Patients eventually have only two



options: have a dialysis machine clean their blood for the rest of their lives or pursue a kidney transplant. When it came time to select a transplant center, Krippner, 54, knew she wanted to be at “an institution on the leading edge where they develop the next innovations in transplants.” She chose the University of Chicago Medicine. “The University of Chicago Medicine is a transplant leader, which is important because patients — especially those with diabetes — may need many options, including multi-organ transplants like kidney-pancreas and even heart-liverkidney,” said J. Michael Millis, MD, chief of transplant surgery. Every transplant patient is assigned to a personal transplant coordinator starting with the initial evaluation and continuing through the wait for a donor organ. “We create a personalized schedule for updating each patient’s testing and visits so when the organ becomes available, we can move immediately,” said Katrina Harmon, RN, MSN, CCTC, pre-transplant nurse coordinator. “This personalized care continues through the eventual hospitalization and follow-up with dedicated team members.” Yolanda T. Becker, MD, director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program, says this individualized approach is a University of Chicago Medicine hallmark. “We are growing our kidneypancreas program, but not beyond providing this level of personalized, team-based care to complex patients,” she said. “This is major surgery, and most patients gain profound quality of life improvements after the initial recovery.” This is what Tim Kramer, a kidneypancreas transplant recipient from Lakewood, Ohio, experienced. The 38-year-old social worker, who has type 1 diabetes, had been waiting for donor organs for three years and on dialysis for five months. “Dialysis was really hard. All I could do was work, dialysis and sleep,” he said. Now, “I’ve already run a 10K and half-marathon since surgery. Running again has been the best gift of all.”

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Rare triple transplant: one year later What a difference a year makes. In March 2011, Darryl Williams of Westchester, Ill., was critically ill with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that attacked his heart, liver and kidneys. Williams became the 11th person in the country — and the fourth at the University of Chicago Medicine — to undergo a rare heart-liver-kidney transplant. “We are proud to have one of the most successful programs of its kind in the world,” said J. J.Michael MichaelMillis, Millis,MD, MD,chief chiefofoftransplant transplantsurgery. surgery.“And “And we arewedelighted are delighted to follow to follow thesethese very complex very complex patients long after surgery.” Now Williams has passed the crucial one-year follow-up with flying colors. Follow-up care: “For the first year I went every month for a heart biopsy and blood tests. Now I’ve graduated to visits every three months because I’m doing so well.” How he’s feeling: “I haven’t felt this good in years. My organs are not showing any signs of rejection whatsoever.” What he’s doing: Williams returned to work as a software design/test engineer in May. “I also want to start playing racquetball again soon.” Favorite post-transplant moments: “I vacationed last summer and walked on the beach as long and often as I wanted, just like before I got sick. I even shot a round of basketball — it was wonderful!”

Darryl Williams

Eyeing the future

Seenu M. Hariprasad, MD

Grateful patients donate to support research to help solve the challenge of age-related vision loss

After two failed eye surgeries, Richard Hill of South Bend, Ind., was getting desperate as the vision in his right eye continued to deteriorate from retinal detachment. That changed the moment he met Seenu M. Hariprasad, MD, a vitreoretinal specialist and director of clinical research in ophthalmology and

visual science at the University of Chicago Medicine. “He touched my arm, looked at me and said, ‘I can fix this,’” Hill recalled. Hariprasad, named one of the top ophthalmologists in the country by Becker’s Healthcare, is known for his innovative approaches to surgery,

including a sutureless microincisional vitrectomy technique that reduces both operative time and postoperative pain. “It’s no secret we deal with patients who have complex issues,” says Hariprasad, who specializes in diabetic eye diseases, intraocular infections and age-related macular degeneration. Hariprasad also is director of a highly specialized fellowship program in diseases and surgery of the retina, macula and vitreous. To date, grateful patients have donated $56,000 to help train future retina specialists. “By the year 2020, the number of patients who go blind each year will double due to age-related diseases; there are not enough vitreoretinal specialists to treat them,” he says. “People who donate to us are really training the future of this field.” Hill, an attorney with a passion for boating, is once again able to function without limitations. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Dr. Hariprasad, not only for his surgical proficiency and skill in training fellows, but also for the caring approach he extends to his patients,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward to a great sailing season on Lake Michigan. I really missed that last year.” For more information or to support the research of Seenu M. Hariprasad, MD, please contact Alicia Kearns at

Our South Side Community

partnering on violence prevention As part of an ongoing antiviolence initiative, the University of Chicago Medicine has committed to funding a violence interrupter over the next three years. This professionally trained counselor will work to arbitrate and defuse conflicts in South Side neighborhoods served by the medical center. The effort is the result of a new partnership with CeaseFire Chicago, a nonprofit organization that takes an interdisciplin-

ary, public health approach to curbing violence in our city. “Gun violence is one of the most pressing health concerns threatening our urban communities,” said Quin R. Golden, associate vice president for strategic affiliations and the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medicine. CeaseFire identifies high-risk neighborhoods, forms personal relationships with influential community members and works

to change behavior before arguments spiral into aggression. The public safety program gained worldwide attention after the 2011 release of “The Interrupters,” an award-winning documentary that chronicled the efforts of three CeaseFire violence interrupters as they worked on some of Chicago’s toughest streets. In addition to supporting the violence interrupter, the University of Chicago Medicine

is sponsoring several screenings of “The Interrupters” and hosting expert panel discussions in different community partner sites around the city this summer. “We’re hoping that through this partnership we can establish a real genuine relationship, and the result will be less violence on the South Side and a healthier community,” said Tio Hardiman, director for CeaseFire Illinois.




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Committed to care and compassion Our new hospital opens February 2013 on the University of Chicago medical campus At the Forefront of Care and Discovery SM

All the rooms are private and larger than what we have now, so we will be able to accommodate families who want to stay. That’s the part I really like. Many of our cancer patients are here for a month or longer. If they can have their family with them, it brings a little bit of outside normalcy back into their lives. It really makes a big difference. Keri Kordas, BSN, RN, OCN, oncology nurse

The new hospital’s integrated diagnostic and interventional platform will have the latest technology, including two state-of-the-art neuroangiography suites. Everything we need to deliver leading-edge neurointerventional care — an expert team of neurosurgeons and neurologists, advanced imaging, patientoriented nursing and support services — will be close by and tightly organized.

I walk five or six miles a day, but my job is more than getting patients where they need to be. It’s putting them at ease, talking to them and giving them an ear to listen, answering their questions, getting them a blanket when they are cold. I am a representative of our quality staff at the University of Chicago Medicine. Joseph Flowers, patient transportation specialist

Seon Kyu Lee, MD, PhD, director of interventional neuroradiology

UCM Connect (for appointments and inquiries): 1-888-824-0200

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Imagine - Summer 2012 - University of Chicago Medicine