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Duke offers free health seminars in Kannapolis

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Residents will meet the scientists who will study this city for the next several years when Duke University puts on free health classes at the N.C. Research Campus.
Leaders from Duke’s MURDOCK Study will discuss four common chronic diseases and the potential for finding new ways to treat or even cure them.
Duke Translational Medicine Institute and the MURDOCK Study will host the Learning Laboratory, a series of Tuesday night seminars in September and October in the Core Laboratory Building in downtown Kannapolis.
Registration is underway at http://forms.dukehealth.org/dtmi/duke.nsf/seminar. Seating is limited to 225 people.
All of the leading researchers for Horizon 1, the first phase of the study, will present information, as well as the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Rob Califf.
“This is a fabulous opportunity for the local community to hear firsthand from lead researchers,” said Melissa Cornish, project leader for business development.
The MURDOCK Study, Duke’s ambitious health project funded by a $35 million gift from N.C. Research Campus founder David H. Murdock, will tackle hepatitis C, heart disease, obesity and osteoarthritis during its first five years of operation.
The series will kick off by introducing the MURDOCK Study and the special technologies that researchers will use in their attempt to “rewrite the textbook of medicine.”
The series continues with a session devoted to each disease.
“We are really excited that we were able to coordinate this,” Cornish said. “We already have a significant amount of interest.”
Here’s the lineup for the seminars:
– Sept. 9, “What is the MURDOCK Study Anyway?” by Dr. Rob Califf.
Califf directs the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, which is conducting the MURDOCK Study.
Officially called the Measurement to Understand the Reclassification Of Disease in Cabarrus/Kannapolis, the MURDOCK Study will pose several fundamental questions and then try to answer them.
Why do people get sick? Why do some people respond to treatments while others don’t?
The study will depend heavily on community participation. Researchers hope to enroll up to 100,000 people, who would give medical information and possibly blood samples.
– Sept. 16, “What’s in the Toolbox?” by Dr. Simon Gregory and Dr. Arthur Moseley.
The study will use modern sciences called “genomics,” or the study of genes, and “proteomics,” or the study of proteins. These are often called ‘omic’ technologies.
‘Omics combine biology, public health, engineering, computer science and more to study gene expression in cells that can provide clues about the causes of disease and how organisms operate.
– Sept. 23, “HCV: Unraveling the Mysteries” by Dr. John McHutchison.
Chronic hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the Western world. In the United States alone, 4 million people are infected.
Duke researchers want to identify markers that will help predict patients’ responses to treatments and identify new avenues for therapy development.
– Sept. 30, “The Future of Heart Disease Prevention” by Dr. L. Kristin Newby and Dr. Svati H. Shah.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer around the globe. About 16 million Americans have coronary artery disease.
Researchers in Kannapolis hope to generate molecular profiles that will better identify people who are at risk for heart attacks.
– Oct. 7, “Why Can’t I Lose Weight?” by Dr. Laura Svetkey and Dr. Lillian Lien.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and is the second-highest cause of preventable death.
Researchers hope to determine who will benefit from weight loss and refine existing treatments for obesity. Armed with results from the MURDOCK Study, doctors might be able to target specific weight-loss interventions to those who would respond best.
– Oct. 14, “These Old Bones” by Dr. Virginia Kraus.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in the Western world. Researchers hope to disprove the notion that this condition is a hopeless expression of old age.
They’re working to identify new arthritis markers that could be used in drug trials to slow or halt the disease, as well as finding ways to detect osteoarthritis long before x-ray damage is uncovered.
To attend the seminar, sign up online or pick up a registration form at the MURDOCK Study office, 147 West Ave., or the N.C. Research Campus Visitor’s Center, Cannon Memorial YMCA, Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast or city of Kannapolis offices.
Classes will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and include time for questions and answers.

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