Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 6, 1994


U.S. Army to fund School of Nursing breast cancer research

The School of Nursing has received one of its largest grants
ever to explore pain management and coping strategies for
women with breast cancer who undergo painful bone marrow
transplants. The $783,572 grant was made by the U.S. Army to
Fannie Gaston-Johansson, Elsie M. Lawler Professor of Nursing
and director of the school's post-master's nurse practitioner
    The study will use 142 patients and their primary
caregivers to examine how oral communication, relaxation
videotapes and education about negative, distorted-thinking
patterns can affect pain management. The grant is part of the
U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's $151.5
million breast cancer research plan, part of a larger,
nationwide federal initiative in women's health.
    "Bone marrow transplants are usually a last-resort
treatment after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation fail,"
Dr. Gaston-Johansson said. "What is unusual about our study
is that we include a patient's significant other because the
burden of care on this primary caregiver is quite extensive."
    The American Cancer Society estimates 182,000 new cases
of female breast cancer occur each year in the United States.

Carnegie Institution at Homewood to be renovated

The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded the Carnegie Institution
of Washington $600,000 to support the expansion and
renovation at the institution's Department of Embryology on
the Homewood campus.
    The new facilities will be known as the W.M. Keck
Foundation Laboratories for Vertebrate Developmental
Genetics. They will accommodate two scientists in the
department's staff associate program. As part of the program,
recent recipients of a doctorate or medical degree are given
the opportunity to develop their own new research without
    Though the department currently supports four staff
associates, the available research space is adequate for only
two. The grant will allow the construction, renovation and
furnishing of two laboratories. Construction is slated to
begin next month.
    The Carnegie Institution is not affiliated with Hopkins,
though some of its staff members are adjunct professors at
the university.

Technique for studying genetic regulators proved conclusive

Scientists at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the
University of Michigan have proved that a technique used to
study molecular structures is accurate enough to analyze a
class of proteins that help control the activity of genes.
    The finding is significant because scientists could not
be certain until now that the information obtained through
this technique--extended X-ray absorption fine spectroscopy,
or EXAFS--was completely accurate. 
    Information from the study should also help scientists
improve EXAFS, making it easier to examine zinc-finger
proteins' role in some forms of cancer and in growth and
development processes, among others. Zinc-finger proteins
have been found in a wide array of biological systems.
Scientists believe they play an important role in making
genes active or inactive.
    The researchers presented their findings at the American
Chemical Society's August meeting in Washington, D.C.

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