The Coastal Star

Health Notes: Grant to help FAU study marine products’ use on breast cancer

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute received $801,000 from the Florida Department of Health’s Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program to investigate the use of marine natural compounds as potential treatments of triple negative breast cancers. The five-year survival rate for this very aggressive form of breast cancer is about 77 percent compared to 93 percent for other breast cancer types. About 12 percent of breast cancers diagnosed in the United States are triple negative.

The objective of FAU’s project is to discover compounds from the extensive marine natural products library at FAU Harbor Branch. The researchers hope to identify clinically active compounds that will revolutionize treatment regimens and provide more effective treatment options, with fewer side effects and greater survival rates.

For more than 10 years, Amy Wright, Ph.D., a research professor of natural products chemistry and co-investigator in this project, has developed libraries of natural compounds isolated from marine organisms — many from deep-water habitats around the Atlantic and Caribbean.


Adjusting the frequency and dosage of medications is a complication in managing Parkinson’s disease. This is due to motor fluctuations that alter the patient’s “on” state, when he responds positively to medication, and “off” state, when symptoms resurface. 

Currently, the only way to address these on and off states is by a clinical exam, history-taking or relying on the patient’s self-report. These methods are not always practical or reliable. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and collaborators have developed a new way to automatically and reliably detect a patient’s medication on and off states.

They combined an algorithm and a system using two wearable motion sensors. Data from the two sensors provide objective measures of patients’ on and off states, training the algorithm to detect each patient’s response to medication with an average accuracy of 90.5 percent.


Safiya George, Ph.D., was named dean of Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. She will assume her role July 8.

George comes to FAU from the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama.


Doctors at Boca Raton Regional Hospital are exploring the use of the axillary fossa (the hollow of the armpit) as an alternative site to implant cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, according to a recent article in The Journal of Innovations in Cardiac Rhythm Management.

According to Dr. E. Martin Kloosterman, Dr. Jonathan Rosman, and Dr. Murray Rosenbaum, inadequate thickness of subcutaneous tissue in certain patients can cause problems for those with — or requiring — cardiovascular implantable electronic devices.

Normally, those devices are implanted below the collarbone. In examining the axillary fossa as an option, the doctors found several advantages: The area usually has a preserved fat pad; the site is not disturbed by arm movement; and the site is easily accessed.


In April, Baptist Health South Florida and Aetna signed an agreement that allows members enrolled in Aetna commercial health plans in-network access to Baptist Health facilities in Palm Beach County.

The agreement encompasses Baptist Health’s Palm Beach hospitals and ancillary health facilities including Bethesda Hospital East, Bethesda Hospital West, Bethesda Health Outpatient Imaging facilities, Bethesda Health Urgent Care, Baptist Health Surgery Center at Northpoint, Baptist Health Surgery Center at South Palm, and Baptist Health Endoscopy Center at Flagler.


The 2019 Annual Heroes in Medicine Awards, selected by the Palm Beach County Medical Society, included the following Tenet hospital employees:

Lisa Rocheleau, administrator of the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, won the Bruce Rendina honor as a professional hero; Rob Moreland, EMS liaison for St. Mary’s Medical Center & the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, was named an outreach wellness prevention hero; and Diane Schofield, director of the Surgical Weight Loss Program at Delray Medical Center, was a health care provider hero.

Also, West Boca Medical Center was honored as a project access hero. 


Delray Medical Center recently received two awards: an “A” from the Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, in recognition of its efforts to protect patients from harm and provide safer health care; and a Healthgrades 2019 Patient Safety Excellence Award for the second year in a row.

Send health news to Christine Davis at

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