Honoring a Foundation of Innovation
A Legacy of Research Innovation
At UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, the great discoveries of the past are the foundation for future discoveries. Since opening its doors in 1968, medical trailblazers have been taking risks and developing highly innovative devices and medications. These faculty have created an inspiring foundation for today’s investigators, who are blazing their own trails into unexplored territory.
FIRST CLINICAL ESTROGEN RECEPTOR TEST
The research of William L. McGuire, M.D., pioneering breast cancer researcher and professor of medicine in the Long School of Medicine, was instrumental in initiating the first estrogen receptor testing that led to targeted anti-estrogen treatment for women with breast cancer.
In addition, Dr. McGuire and Charles A. Coltman, Jr., M.D., oncology trailblazer and professor of hematology and medical oncology, co-founded the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the world’s largest conference devoted to breast cancer research and treatment.
FIRST CORONARY ARTERY STENT
The most famous invention in the history of the Long School of Medicine remains the world’s first cardiac arterial stent invented and patented in the 1980s by Julio C. Palmaz, M.D., an Argentine clinician-scientist who joined the Department of Radiology. The initial testing of the Palmaz stent also took place here at the Long School of Medicine.
The life-saving balloon stent has been identified as one of the top 10 patents of the last 50 years. It was the first stent in U.S. history to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use in treating diseased coronary and peripheral blood vessels.
FDA REGISTRATION TRIALS FOR MULTIPLE CANCER AND DIABETES DRUGS
U.S. Food and Drug Administration registration trials for 12 breast cancer drugs were led by the Long School of Medicine. These include alpelisib, ribociclib, eribulin, sacituzumab, elacestrant, gemcitabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, lapatinib and trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1).
Ralph DeFronzo, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of diabetes in the Long School of Medicine, was responsible for bringing metformin to the U.S. in 1995. Dr. DeFronzo, a leader in developing the concept of insulin resistance, also developed the SGLT2 inhibitor class of drugs for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes.
MOST WIDELY USED IMAGE-ANALYSIS CONSTRUCT
Peter Fox, M.D., founding director of the Research Imaging Institute, pioneered the application of atlas-referenced 3-D coordinates to human brain images and successfully promoted this format as an international standard. Most MRI images now use this reconstruction map to generate brain images.
To mine the ensuing literature on this mapping technique, Dr. Fox developed the BrainMap database, which compiles standard-compliant results, and a software pipeline for coordinate-based meta-analysis. To date, BrainMap’s publicly available data and software have supported more than 1,000 peer-reviewed meta-analyses (BrainMap.org/pubs).
In ongoing extensions of this work, Dr. Fox and colleagues are creating meta-analytic models of disease-specific brain-network abnormalities to inform transcranial magnetic stimulation. Patient-specific MRI is used to adapt population-based models, computing individualized image-guided treatment plans.
FIRST ANTI-AGING DRUG: RAPAMYCIN
Z. Dave Sharp, Ph.D., and Randy Strong, Ph.D., both with the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies here at the Long School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Michigan and The Jackson Laboratory, demonstrated that rapamycin can prevent dysfunction in aging organs and extend lifespans. This was the first anti-aging compound ever described, providing hope that age does not have to result in permanent organ damage.
Their findings were published in the journal Nature in 2009 and showed that rapamycin extended the lifespan of middle-aged mice by 28 percent to 38 percent. Since that time, rapamycin has been extensively studied in many human trials, perhaps the most exciting of which are in Alzheimer’s disease patients, where UT Health researchers have found it is safe to use.