Spotlight on research
Marijuana and HIV
HIV experts from UF, the University of South Florida and the University of California, San Diego, have received $4.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to study how the interplay between marijuana use and HIV infection can influence the development of neurological disorders in adolescents. The five-year study, led by UF’s Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., will use a multidisciplinary approach that could lead to the identification of novel blood-based biomarkers for tracking how substance abuse alters immune function and the progression of HIV infection in the central nervous system.
Finding a better dose
UF hepatologists have begun a new clinical trial in search of a better way to treat patients who have advanced, inoperable primary liver cancer but have trouble tolerating standard doses of the only drug available to help them. Funded through a $650,000 grant from the makers and marketers of Sorafenib — the only FDA-approved drug for advanced liver cancer — the six-month, randomized pilot study will evaluate whether patients with a dual diagnosis of cirrhosis and liver cancer are better able to tolerate the drug if given doses that differ from the manufacturer’s recommendation, said study leader Roniel Cabrera, M.D., M.Sc.
Tracking blood sugar
In surgical situations, fluctuation in patients’ blood glucose levels can be harmful, so physicians take frequent measurements to guide treatment decisions. For rapid testing, doctors and hospitals often use inexpensive glucose meters approved by the Food and Drug Administration for home use, but many are unaware of inaccuracies that can lead to harmful treatment errors, particularly ones resulting in very low blood sugar values. In January, College of Medicine anesthesiologist Mark J. Rice, M.D., presented findings on the technology, accuracy and regulation of these glucose measurement devices to fellow physicians in Switzerland and Austria. Rice recommends that physicians confirm abnormal blood glucose meter readings using central laboratory measurements, and refrain from using the devices in clinical trials that call for accurate glucose measurements.