Newsbriefs New test could improve cancer surgery, treatment Researchers at the School of Medicine reported in the Feb. 16 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine that they are using a recently developed diagnostic cancer test to improve cancer surgery and staging of the disease. The test examines tissue taken from around the tumor site for genetic mutations specific to cancer. The presence of mutations indicates that cancer cells were left after surgery. "This test not only tells if cancer cells were left behind [after surgery], but how many," said David Sidransky, an associate professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, and oncology, whose research team developed the test. "As a result, treatment may one day be tailored specifically to each patient. While Dr. Sidransky believes the test will have broad-based implications in staging many solid tumors, initially he expects it to be useful in treating cancers of the head and neck and brain, where the amount of tissue removed has a direct impact on patients' quality of life and ability to function normally. Carson gets $1.3 million for operating room Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson Sr. will use a $1.3 million gift from the Baltimore-based Children's Cancer Foundation to completely renovate an operating room for his young patients. Dr. Carson, director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, said the room, which will be completed in March, will house state-of-the-art equipment, such as a three- dimensional "wand" that lets physicians locate precisely the site of neurological problems and takes the guesswork out of probing layers of tissue to find the irregularity. To ease young patients' fears, the operating room will be painted in tropical colors and will feature dancing barn animals, clouds and moons on the ceiling. "We know that an operating room is a scary place," said Laurie Saletnik, nurse manager of the pediatric operating rooms. "We want the children to focus on happy things as much as possible." Hutchins pleads guilty to misappropriation of funds On Jan. 20, former Hopkins employee Bernard Hutchins pleaded guilty to misappropriating $4,582 in university funds and was ordered to pay restitution. Hutchins worked for nine years at the School of Hygiene and Public Health. He was employed by the Department of Epidemiology until April 1993, when it was discovered that he had endorsed and deposited into his personal bank account an $806 check made payable to the university. The case was brought to the university's attention by the student whose check was misappropriated. A subsequent investigation disclosed that Hutchins had inappropriately authorized hours and was misappropriating weekly payroll checks totaling $3,776. Dale A. Wetzelberger, assistant director/manager in the Office of Audits and Management Services, said that the likelihood of this situation occurring could have been reduced if access to payroll checks was restricted from staff members who authorize time records and/or approve weekly payroll vouchers. Lectures on politics and policy open to public President Clinton's pollster, Stanley Greenberg, and syndicated political columnist Jack Germond are among the speakers in a series titled "Politics and Policy in Contemporary America," to be held in the Rome Building, 1619 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., in Washington. Sessions run from noon to 2 p.m. Discussions start at 12:30 p.m. with 30 minutes scheduled for the lecture and 30 minutes for questions and answers. Lunch will be served. Undergraduates can reserve a seat by calling Marc Diamond, at 516-8722. Feb. 23: Stanley Greenberg heads his own D.C.-based polling firm. Author of the forthcoming book "Middleclass Dreams: The Politics & Power of the New American Majority." March 2: Jack Germond, syndicated columnist, national political reporter for the Baltimore Sun and regular panelist on CNN's The Capital Game. March 9: David Maraniss, Washington Post reporter and author of "First in His Class," a biography of President Clinton. March 16: William Kristol, chairman of the Project for the Republican Future and former chief of staff to Dan Quayle and, previously, William Bennett. March 30: Elizabeth Drew, longtime Washington correspondent for the New Yorker magazine and author of eight best-selling books on politics. April 6: Lloyd Cutler, special counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton; member of numerous presidential commissions during the Bush and Reagan administrations.
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