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Baylor Scott & White Health Completes Acquisition of Lakeway Regional Medical Center

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Baylor Scott & White Health Completes Acquisition of Lakeway Regional Medical Center

Travis County hospital becomes part of statewide network focused on improving population health

Baylor Scott & White Health has completed the process to acquire the hospital operations of Lakeway Regional Medical Center in Lakeway, Texas, officials announced today. As of September 1, 2016, Lakeway Regional is officially part of the Baylor Scott & White statewide network.

“Bringing our brand’s vision and promise to our friends in the Lakeway community is important to us,” said Jay Fox, president of Baylor Scott & White Austin/Round Rock region. “Becoming partners in the health of this community is our mission. Together, we’ll work to engage Lakeway and surrounding communities to identify ways to improve overall health and wellness, for both the near future and for the generations to come.”

“This is an exceptional moment for our hospital. Transforming Lakeway Regional into the Baylor Scott & White system is a significant step forward that will directly benefit patients, physicians, employees and the health of our community,” said Lakeway Regional’s CEO, Philippe Bochaton.

While the transaction is complete, the transition process now begins in order for the hospital to transform into a fully integrated member of Baylor Scott & White, with the ability to deliver on the brand’s vision and promise, including the adoption of the system’s best practices, protocols and procedures over a period of time. The hospital will be renamed as Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Lakeway and operate as an additional campus of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock.

As the integration process continues, bringing the hospital into the Baylor Scott & White system will allow physicians and other caregivers to provide increasingly coordinated care to patients. Providers will be able to more easily access quality clinical resources, including a large network of specialty medical expertise, state-of-the-art equipment upgrades, training resources and a robust electronic medical record system.

Increased collaboration between Central Texas healthcare providers and a network of clinical excellence across the state is expected to improve quality and access to care for people in the Austin/Round Rock region. Lakeway Regional Medical Center is key to Baylor Scott & White’s population health initiatives in Central Texas, the system’s mission to advance healthcare for all patients. In partnership with Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance, Baylor Scott & White Health is committed to utilizing clinical and administrative data and best practices to improve quality and efficiency, lower healthcare costs and accelerate medical innovation in patient care.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 46 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 44,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit: BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements

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Two Baylor Scott & White Health Hospitals Earn Advanced Palliative Care Certification

The Joint Commission designation recognizes exceptional, patient-centered palliative care

Two Baylor Scott & White Health hospitals were re-designated with The Joint Commission’s Advanced Palliative Care Certification, which recognizes hospital inpatient programs with exceptional patient and family-centered care that improves quality of life for those with serious illness.

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth are among only five facilities in Texas with the Advanced Certification in Palliative Care. Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the first program in Texas – and one of the first 10 in the nation – to receive the certification in September 2013. Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth was first certified in 2014.

“We’re honored to be among a handful of facilities in Texas recognized for our dedication to quality, patient-centered palliative care,” said Robert L. Fine, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, clinical director of the Office of Clinical Ethics and Palliative Care for Baylor Scott & White Health. “Our multidisciplinary team is specially trained to care for patients facing serious illness with everything from symptom control to long-term care planning to help improve their quality of life.”

Supportive and palliative care teams include physicians, advance practice nurses, social workers, chaplains, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, speech therapists, music practitioners and volunteers who care for patients diagnosed with a serious illness and their families. Both hospital programs include certified child life specialists who help the children and grandchildren of seriously ill patients cope with the impact of the illness.

The intensive certification process involves an on-site review, submission of quality metrics and evidence of effective, timely palliative care using a multidisciplinary team approach. The certification demonstrates Baylor Scott & White Health’s commitment to providing quality, comprehensive care.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 48 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 40,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit:BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements

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Research Identifies Key Protein That May Prevent Colon Inflammation and Tumor Growth

Baylor Scott & White immunologists’ paper published in Nature Immunology

Venuprasad Poojary, PhD, an associate investigator at Baylor Institute for Immunology Research (BIIR), part of Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, reported this week in the journal Nature Immunology the role of a key protein in the regulatory pathway that is involved in limiting colon inflammation and tumor growth. The paper, titled “Itch inhibits IL-17-mediated colon inflammation and tumorigenesis by ROR-gt ubiquitination,” is available online in advance of the print edition.

Dr. Poojary focused on how the ubiquitin ligase protein, referred to as Itch, controls colonic inflammation. Inflammation is a protective response to microbial infection and tissue injury. However, uncontrolled inflammation is a major risk factor for the development and growth of colon cancer, which is the main cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Uncontrolled expression of interleukin 17 (IL-17), an inflammatory growth cell, in the intestinal mucous membrane is associated with inflammation and colon cancer. However, the mechanisms by which IL-17 production is regulated remain unclear.

“We found that deficiency in the Itch protein led to spontaneous colitis and increased susceptibility to colon cancer. Our biochemical analysis revealed that Itch targets ROR-gt (a protein that induces IL-17 expression) for degradation, which reduces intestinal inflammation and inhibits colon cancer growth. Thus, we have discovered a novel regulatory mechanism that inhibits colonic inflammation and carcinogenesis,” Dr. Poojary said.

Chronic inflammation can lead to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which greatly reduce the quality of life of patients. IBD patients also are at high risk of developing colon cancer. Further supporting the role of Itch and the regulation of IL-17, patients with stage I/II colon cancer who have high levels of IL-17 are much less likely to have disease-free survival. According to Dr. Poojary, the new findings will lead to specific targeted therapies and their direct delivery to the site of inflammation in IBDs and colon cancer.

Dr. Poojary started his studies on protein ubiquitination in the Division of Cell Biology at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in San Diego, Calif. Since joining BIIR in 2013, Dr. Poojary has developed several projects to identify key regulatory mechanisms in the immune system with the goal of targeting these pathways to treat human inflammatory disorders. Some of his projects are currently funded by the American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

About Baylor Scott & White Health

Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 48 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 40,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit:BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Kristine Hughes
Kristine.Hughes@BSWHealth.org
214-820-7556

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Cowboys And Baylor Scott & White Health Team Up to Unveil Plans For Sports Health Centric Facility

New Facility Aims to Make North Texas Safest Place in the Country to Play Sports

Baylor Scott & White Health—the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas—together with the Dallas Cowboys, today broke ground on a game-changing sports medicine, research and performance facility that will be located at The Star in Frisco, home of the new Dallas Cowboys World Corporate Headquarters.

The 300,000 square-foot campus, to be named Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star, will focus on injury prevention, research and wellness for athletes of all levels, and is expected to become a nationally recognized model for the holistic treatment of physically active individuals upon its completion in early 2018. It is also a first-of-its kind collaboration between an NFL team, a health system and a school district—Frisco Independent School District.

“With a focus on preventing injuries and keeping people healthy, the goal of Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star is to make North Texas the safest place in the country to play sports,” said Joel Allison, President and CEO, Baylor Scott & White Health. “This initiative is a perfect complement to Baylor Scott & White’s broader strategy of serving communities, with a focus on overall health and wellness.”

Services offered will complement and enhance healthy and active lifestyles, and will include diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation. The campus at The Star in Frisco will include an ambulatory surgery center, diagnostic imaging, a sports performance program, an urgent care center, outpatient rehabilitation, a pharmacy and more, provided by Baylor Scott & White Health and its affiliates:

  • Imaging Center: The Imaging Center on The Star campus will serve all patients, including Dallas Cowboys football players, with an additional local outreach program planned for Frisco. Working in collaboration with General Electric (GE), it will feature some of the world’s most-advanced MRIs and become part of the GE-NFL Head Health Initiative. The MRI Suite will have a unique design using GE’s Caring Suite consultants that will include unique lighting, interior décor and music.
  • Sports Performance Program: Through the sports performance program, athletes will be able to monitor, understand and improve overall performance. The program will reside on the first and second floors and feature an indoor/outdoor training field, basketball court, workout area and locker rooms. Among the pioneering technologies offered at the facility will be Fusionetics, an evidence-based platform to help optimize athletic performance, reduce injuries and speed recovery.
  • Urgent Care Center: An urgent care center in the facility will provide access to care for non-emergent injuries and illnesses. It will serve as a first line of triage for sports-related injuries.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation: The facility will offer a wide variety of outpatient rehabilitation therapy services for injured athletes including: physical therapy, occupational therapy and neuropsychology services. Services will be provided by licensed therapists and tailored for orthopedic post-operative cases, musculoskeletal injuries and other sports medicine/rehabilitation for injured athletes.  In addition, licensed athletic trainers will provide event and game coverage, sports medicine/injury clinics, youth physicals, prevention programs and community education programs.
  • Brain Injury Program: As part of the outpatient rehabilitation provided at the facility, a concussion assessment and management program will be available. A concussion specialist will also be on the sidelines of every Frisco ISD football game played at The Star.
  • Research: The facility will also incorporate research into its offerings, which include: concussion prevention and clinical management; injury prevention and corrective care; as well as athlete recovery science, hydration, sleep, nutrition, regeneration/readiness to train; and sports performance science.

“The Cowboys are honored to team up with Baylor Scott & White Health to bring together two marquee brands in sports and medicine,” Jerry Jones, Jr., Chief Sales and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Dallas Cowboys. “With the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas, we are paving the way for a new age in health and safety for athletes.  Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research at The Star will become the standard-bearer for innovating and improving the future of sports on a global level. ”

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 48 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 40,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit: BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements

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Media Inquiries Contact:
Joe Trahan
972.497.4552
jtrahan@dallascowboys.net

Shea Agnew
214.443.7579
shea.agnew@edelman.com

Julie Smith
940.765.7560
julie.smith@bswhealth.org

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Emergency Management Symposium Brings Together First Responders Across Texas

Forum focuses on hospital disaster preparedness and lessons learned from major incidents

Nurses, police officers, public health officials and other emergency first responders from across Texas gathered at the Waxahachie Civic Center June 10 to discuss best practices and lessons learned from a variety of emergency situations.

The Baylor Scott & White Health Emergency Management Symposium aims to provide a forum for education and collaboration around the complexities of mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery involved in disasters. This year’s program theme, “All Roads Lead to Hospitals,” focuses on hospital emergency management and will cover topics such as active shooter response, severe weather, cyber security, public health emergencies and more.

“First responders know that when it comes to preparing for major incidents, it’s never a question of ‘if’ one will happen, it’s a question of ‘when,'” said Nick Sloan, director of emergency management for Baylor Scott & White Health. “The more we can drill for these situations and learn important lessons from our peers, the better prepared we’ll be to handle a major crisis.”

Audience members will include nurses, physicians, health care and hospital leadership, emergency management, public health, engineering, media relations, emergency medical, police and fire from across Texas.

This is the fifth year Baylor Scott & White Health has hosted the symposium, which is facilitated by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and the Emergency Services Training Institute and sponsored by The Grainger Foundation.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, the system referred to as Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Georgia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The system now includes 48 hospitals, more than 900 access points, 6,000 active physicians, and 40,000 employees, plus the Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a network of clinical providers and facilities focused on improving quality, managing the health of patient populations, and reducing the overall cost of care. For more information visit:BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2015 fiscal year statements

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Megan Brooks
Megan.Brooks@BSWHealth.org

 

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Baylor Scott & White Health and Canine Companions for Independence Celebrate Grand Opening of Campus in Irving, Texas

Largest provider of highly trained assistance dogs opens flagship Texas training center in first-ever collaboration with a health care system

Today, Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus opened as the first assistance dog training center campus in the nation connected to a health care system. The campus will provide highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support cost-free to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities who qualify through the application process.

The new campus will serve children, veterans and other people with disabilities whose independence and quality of life would benefit from an assistance dog. Professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who would benefit from interaction with a facility dog are also encouraged to apply. The new campus will eventually be able to graduate up to 60 dog and recipient teams per year.

“We have a long history of innovation and collaboration, and we are proud to add this moment to that history,” said Joel Allison, CEO, Baylor Scott & White Health. “We are now the first health care system in the country to open a facility like Kinkeade Campus. This is another example of how we’re working to take care of the total patient – it’s part of our Population Health mission.”

The nine-acre campus includes indoor and outdoor training areas, dormitory rooms, kennels, a veterinary clinic and a grooming area. Project management was led by CBRE. The center was designed by t. howard + associates architects, a Dallas-based firm specializing in health care and educational environments. Outside consultation was provided by Animal Arts Design. Initial construction began in November 2014, and MEDCO Construction served as the construction general contractor for this project.

The Kinkeade Campus will train three types of assistance dogs:

Service dogs assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
Skilled companions enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
Facility dogs work with a professional in a visitation, education, criminal justice or healthcare setting.

“As the first collaboration nationwide between an assistance dog organization and a health care provider, our affiliation with Baylor Scott & White Health marks the commencement of a truly innovative and groundbreaking program,” said Paul Mundell, CEO of Canine Companions for Independence. “For more than 40 years, our organization has stood on the forefront of the assistance dog service sector and we are proud to open our sixth center in the nation through this alliance.”

For more information and to support the center, visit baylordogs.org or text BAYLORDOGS to 313131.

About Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has training centers across the country, including Texas, California, Florida, Ohio, and New York. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and ongoing follow-up services. For more information, call 1-800-572-BARK or visit www.cci.org.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Baylor Scott & White Health, the organization formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, is today the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Virginia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The organization now includes 49 hospitals, more than 800 access points, more than 5,800 active physicians, 35,000 employees and the Scott & White Health Plan. For more information visit: BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2014 fiscal year statements

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What You Should Know for the 2015-2016 Flu Season

Influenza (or flu) is a highly contagious viral respiratory tract infection. It usually starts quickly, with fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and a dry cough.

“People of all ages can get the flu,” said Elizabeth Fagan, M.D., medical director of the emergency department at Baylor Medical Center at McKinney. Although most people are ill with the flu for only a few days, some have a much more serious illness and may need to be hospitalized. Influenza can also lead to pneumonia and even death in some cases.

“Last year, Baylor McKinney treated 423 cases,” said Dr. Fagan. Influenza viruses continually change, or mutate, which is why physicians recommend getting a flu vaccine each year. The mutation process works like this:

  1. A person infected with an influenza virus develops antibodies against that virus.
  2. The virus changes.
  3. The “older” antibodies no longer recognize the “newer,” mutated, virus.
  4. The person can become infected again.

More than 100 countries worldwide conduct surveillance year-round and send their results to the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza. The vaccine is updated every year based on which flu strains are making patients sick, how those viruses are spreading and how well the previous vaccine protected patients from getting sick.

How does the flu spread?
The influenza virus is generally passed from person to person through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. But the virus can also live for a short time on objects like doorknobs, pens, pencils, keyboards, telephone receivers, and eating or drinking utensils. You can get the flu by touching something that has been handled by someone infected with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes.

What are the symptoms of the flu?
The following are the most common symptoms of the flu:

• Fever
• Headache
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Cough
• Severe aches and pains
• Fatigue or feeling very tired
• Sometimes a sore throat

How can the flu be prevented?
A new influenza vaccine is available each year.. There are both trivalent (protects against 3 strains) and quadravalent (protects against 4 strains) vaccines available this year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants over the age of 6 months and all children and adults get flu shots every year as soon as the vaccine is available in their area.

Some people are at increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu. It is extremely important that these people get the vaccine: They include those with:

• Chronic heart and lung conditions
• Other serious medical conditions such as:
• Endocrine disorders, like diabetes
• Kidney or liver disorders
• Weak immune system from disease or treatment; for example those with HIV or AIDS or taking long-term steroids or medications to treat cancer or prevent rejection from a transplant
• Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease

About Baylor Medical Center at McKinney
Baylor Medical Center at McKinney opened in July 2012 to bring Baylor’s quality brand of health care to residents of McKinney and the surrounding communities. Part of Baylor Scott & White Health – the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas – Baylor McKinney has more than 650 employees and a medical staff of more than 800 physicians.

The hospital offers treatment in multiple specialties, including orthopedics, cardiovascular, neurosciences, oncology, surgical services, women’s and childbirth services and more. Baylor McKinney offers 143 all-private rooms with chef-prepared meals and other hotel-like amenities.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Baylor Scott & White Health, the organization formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, is today the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Virginia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The organization now includes 49 hospitals, more than 800 access points, more than 5,800 active physicians, 35,000 employees and the Scott & White Health Plan. For more information visit: BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2014 fiscal year statements

Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers, Baylor Health Care System, Scott & White Healthcare or Baylor Scott & White Health. ©2015 Baylor Scott & White Health.

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Newly Identified ‘Biomarker’ May Help Doctors Predict Colon Cancer Progression and Personalize Therapy

Baylor Study Finds ‘Biomarker’ in Aggressive, Migratory, Treatment-Resistant Colorectal Cancers that Could Help Determine Patient Risk and Treatment Strategies

Researchers at Baylor Research Institute have identified a small RNA molecule that appears to enable certain colorectal cancers to become especially aggressive, resistant to treatment and likely to migrate and invade normal tissue.

Findings suggest that detecting high levels of the molecule – SNORA42 – in patient tissues could serve as a “biomarker” to help clinicians determine which patients might benefit from more aggressive therapy against the disease that is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

This is the first RNA molecule of its kind to be identified as a biomarker for colorectal cancer. Because this type is more stable than other RNA molecules, the researchers believe noninvasive blood or stool tests eventually may be developed to quickly and easily detect SNORA42 and others that may be discovered in the future.

“We need predictive biomarkers that can identify patients who are at high risk for developing tumor recurrence, especially in those with stage 2 colorectal cancer,” said Ajay Goel, PhD, director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancer Research and for Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute.

In stage 2 of the disease, the cancer has grown to some extent but has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs. At this stage, doctors and patients often face a difficult decision: treat with surgery alone, or follow surgery with chemotherapy and its potential side effects?

“The majority of patients with stage 2 colorectal cancer will be cured with surgery alone, but some will relapse and eventually die. Molecular biomarkers, such as SNORA42, could help determine which patients might have a better prognosis with more aggressive treatment. They also provide us with targets for the development of very specific, personalized anti-cancer interventions,” said Goel, the study’s lead investigator and senior author of an article in the Oct. 15, 2015, journal Gut.

Goel and his colleagues studied levels of SNORA42 in six established colorectal cancer cell lines and in 250 samples of cancer tissue taken from patients, comparing these with 24 matched specimens from normal tissue.

According to their results:

• SNORA42 was “overexpressed” in colorectal cancer cells, compared with normal tissue, and its expression significantly correlated with disease progression.
• Overexpression resulted in cancer cells’ ability to multiply rapidly, form tumors, migrate, invade normal tissue and survive a natural cell death process.
• When SNORA42 was experimentally suppressed, these effects were reversed.
• Elevated expression appeared to be a predictor for recurrence and poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer.

Goel said these experimental findings about SNORA42, if confirmed in additional studies, may become useful in clinical settings within several years. He also expects other molecular biomarkers will be discovered, giving researchers and clinicians new potential therapeutic targets, helping to predict patient prognosis and guiding treatment decisions.

Small RNA molecules, called microRNAs, were discovered about 15 years ago and provided a new area of exploration for cancer researchers. Goel’s laboratory has identified several microRNAs that can be used as biomarkers for colorectal cancer. SNORAs – small nucleolar RNAs – are a subset of microRNAs that are only now being recognized for their role in cell fate and the development of various cancers.

SNORA42 is the first SNORA to be identified as a biomarker for colorectal cancer, said Goel, who recently described his group’s research at two international scientific conferences. He added that SNORAs are less vulnerable than other microRNAs to biodegradation in a clinical lab setting. Their strength and stability allow them to be studied more extensively, possibly leading to noninvasive blood or stool tests to quickly and easily detect them.

The study was funded by grants R01 CA72851, CA181572 and U01 CA187956 from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, a pilot grant from the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, and funds from Baylor Research Institute. The authors declare no competing interests.

Citation: Gut: “Clinical significance of SNORA42 as an oncogene and a prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer.” Oct. 15, 2015. DOI: 10.1135/gutjnl-2015-309359.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Baylor Scott & White Health, the organization formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, is today the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Virginia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The organization now includes 49 hospitals, more than 800 access points, more than 5,800 active physicians, 35,000 employees and the Scott & White Health Plan. For More Information visit: BaylorScottandWhite.com

* based on unaudited 2014 fiscal year statements