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Delivering the Promise of Medicine: Johns Hopkins Medicine 2016 Year in Review
It was a big year for Johns Hopkins Medicine. In 2016, we welcomed our first female president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened a state-of-the-art patient wing at Sibley Memorial Hospital and completed our renaming with what is now Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
We opened centers devoted to understanding Zika virus, combating cancer through immunotherapy, developing individualized precision medicine and preventing diagnostic errors. We made important progress in our ability to detect colon cancer. And we performed the nation’s first HIV-positive organ transplants, creating more lifesaving opportunities for patients on transplant waiting lists.
Here are 17 of the ways we delivered the promise of medicine and brought hope to humanity in 2016.
Johns Hopkins Medicine's 2016 Research Highlights
Scientific discovery is the engine that drives patient care and cures at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Here are 5 highlights from this year's discoveries--from fighting Zika virus to understanding cocaine. Learn more about these and other efforts to fulfill the promise of medicine at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research.
Nine-year-old Reese Burdette was discharged in March after being in the hospital for 22 months, with most of them spent in the pediatric intensive care unit. She had been admitted as a 7-year-old with severe burns and injuries from a house fire, including bleeding in her lungs. Her only hope was ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a pediatric heart-lung bypass treatment that would provide oxygen for her body and hopefully allow her lungs to rest and heal.
Prior to Reese’s experience, the longest period of time a patient at Johns Hopkins had been treated with ECMO was 45 days. Reese was on traditional ECMO for 60 days, followed by 491 days on a ventricular assist device with an inline oxygenator — a makeshift lung of sorts. Reese has returned to her Pennsylvania home, where she attends school and helps on her family farm.
Vice President Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg visited Johns Hopkins in March to launch the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. One of the most promising avenues of cancer research today, immunotherapy has the potential to cure all cancers by redirecting each patient’s highly individual immune systems to target, detect and destroy cancer cells. The institute is funded by $50 million each from Bloomberg, a philanthropist, entrepreneur and three-term mayor of New York City, and from Jones Apparel Group founder Sidney Kimmel. An additional $25 million came from more than a dozen other supporters.
Watch Johns Ryan and Julie Brahmer, M.D. discuss the hope of immunotherapy in people with squamous-non-small-cell lung cancer.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital in March became the first hospital in the United States to perform HIV-positive to HIV-positive kidney and liver transplants.
About 122,000 people are on the transplant waiting list in the United States at any given time. Thousands die each year, many of whom might have lived had they gotten the organ they needed. Transplant surgeon Dorry Segev, M.D., Ph.D., vowed to change that. His efforts led to passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act of 2013 and approval for the surgeries from the United Network for Organ Sharing.
On April 5, All Children’s Hospital became Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, completing the renaming process that began in 2011. The hospital announced its new name and logo at its 90th anniversary celebration.
Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital was founded in 1926 as the American Legion Hospital for Crippled Children. After the development of the polio vaccine, the hospital developed a new focus on pediatric care, reopening as All Children’s Hospital in 1967.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare created a Doctorate of Nursing Practice program that is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. An inaugural cohort of 13 students will graduate in May, prepared to take on advanced roles as clinical and health care policy leaders.
Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, the result of a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, a world leader in energy, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, cares for Saudi Aramco’s 360,000 employees and dependents.
Watch: Meet Wiam, Ruby, Patrick, and Annu as they share their experiences of working at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH)
In September, The Johns Hopkins Hospital became a set for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, an HBO movie produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. The film, based on the 2010 book of the same name, tells the true story of Lacks, a 31-year-old African-American mother of five who died of cervical cancer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951. Her cells, the first to live and grow outside a human body, became the HeLa cell line, responsible for some of the world’s most important discoveries and cures.
To honor Lacks, Johns Hopkins hosts a symposium for researchers and community members, a symposium for high school students and a book club, and supports a local high school student each year with a $40,000 college scholarship.
Read more about the complicated legacy of Henrietta Lacks.
On July 1, Redonda Miller, M.D., M.B.A., became the 11th president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the first woman to hold the post since the hospital was founded in 1889.
A native of Ohio, Miller came to Johns Hopkins for medical school in 1988 and never left. After graduating and completing residency training, she served in many leadership positions, including assistant dean for student affairs for the school of medicine, vice chair of clinical operations for the department of medicine and senior vice president for medical affairs for the Johns Hopkins Health System. She succeeds Ronald R. Peterson, who retained his roles as president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
On May 19, the Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis at The Johns Hopkins Hospital celebrated a milestone. In a little more than a year, 1,000 people infected with the hepatitis C virus were cured.
In the past two years, the outlook for people infected with the hepatitis C virus has improved dramatically, thanks to new drugs approved in 2014. Depending on the strain of hepatitis, one pill a day for between eight and 24 weeks can completely clear the virus from a patient’s system.
- Watch: Saleh Alqahtani, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Gastroenterology & Hepatology, discusses what you need to know about Hepatitis C.
Colonoscopies are excellent at detecting colorectal cancer, but because they are invasive, only half of adults ever get them. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and around the world may have found another way. Surgical oncologist Nita Ahuja, M.D., co-authored a study identifying potential biomarkers in affected patients’ stool, which could lead to noninvasive methods of screening for colorectal cancers.
Meanwhile, Kimmel Cancer Center researchers Cynthia Sears, M.D., and Francis Giardiello, M.D., recently won a five-year, $4.3 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health for the first-ever comprehensive study of the colon’s biofilm as it relates to cancer. They believe the sticky coating of bacteria that clings to intestinal walls is full of vital clues to the progression of colon cancer.
Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., was among three researchers to win the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. Semenza, the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine, is known for his groundbreaking discovery of a protein that switches genes on and off in response to low oxygen levels. The discovery, along with Semenza’s additional work clarifying the molecular mechanisms of oxygen regulation in cells, has far-reaching implications in understanding the impact of low oxygen levels in cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease and other conditions. He shares the prize with William Kaelin Jr. of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Peter Ratcliffe of Oxford University.
- Learn more about Semenza’s discovery, and its significance for the future of medicine.
Sibley Memorial Hospital’s new 475,000-square-foot patient tower opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 26. The tower’s many amenities include 200 single-occupant rooms, two state-of-the-art operating rooms, two floors of women’s and infants’ services, and an orthopaedic unit with a rehabilitation clinic. The tower also holds the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, with 34 private infusion rooms, an inpatient oncology unit and the region’s only dedicated pediatric radiation oncology program.
Zika virus grew into an international crisis this year, and Johns Hopkins responded. The multidisciplinary Johns Hopkins Zika Center opened in The Johns Hopkins Hospital in August to provide comprehensive patient care and research.
A lab-grown brain developed by husband-and-wife researchers Hongjun Song, Ph.D., and Guo-li Ming, M.D., Ph.D., confirmed a key process by which the virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains. One collaboration with six Colombian hospitals, led by neurologist Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, M.D., yielded strong evidence linking Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Another joint research effort is screening 6,000 existing drugs in hopes of finding treatments for Zika virus infection.
Sophisticated ‘Mini-Brains’ Add to Evidence of Zika’s Toll on Fetal Cortex
Despite different triggers, the same molecular chain of events appears responsible for brain cell death from strokes, injuries and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have pinpointed the protein at the end of that chain of events, one that delivers the fatal strike by carving up a cell’s DNA. The find, they say, could open a new avenue for the development of drugs to block the process.
- New Treatment Strategy Could Cut Parkinson’s Disease Off at the Pass
In October, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory announced the launch of Johns Hopkins inHealth, which combines their medical and engineering expertise to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This precision medicine effort uses data analytics and systems engineering to tailor diagnoses and treatments to individual patients, while creating a “learning health system” that will speed the translation of knowledge to practice.
- Looking Forward: The Future of Medicine
- Local and National Precision Medicine Initiatives Aim to Individualize Medical Care. Read a medical student’s perspective, on the Biomedical Odyssey blog.
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The Supply Chain Institute, a job training partnership between The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Baltimore City Community College, was established for high school graduates interested in learning the ins and outs of large-scale shipping, receiving and distribution operations. Graduation from the institute is intended to serve as the first step on a career path, rather than mere training for an entry-level job.
The program was inspired by the HopkinsLocal initiative to promote local economic growth through hiring and training.
About 4 million Americans a year suffer serious permanent injuries, including disability or death, because of diagnostic errors. To address this issue, Johns Hopkins Medicine created the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence, led by neurologist David Newman-Toker, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in diagnostic research and diagnostic safety.
The center, which is the first of its kind in the world, was made possible by a $5 million gift from C. Michael Armstrong, who also provided funding for the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in 2011.
- David Newman-Toker Aims to Prevent Harms from Missed Diagnoses