Approximately 60 Principal Investigators, and several Post Docs, both basic science/laboratory and clinical researchers, work within the Research Institute and the Medical Center.
California Pacific Medical Center physicians from many different disciplines engage in active research. Take a look at our Clinical Trials section for some of these projects.
Dr. Peggy Cawthon, and longevity research at CPMCRI
In this series on longevity research at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) and the San Francisco Coordinating Center (SFCC), we profile a select group of researchers uncovering the genetic secrets of a long and healthy life. Having assembled a trove of longevity research, CPMC’s research institute is home to the largest, richest data sets about aging in the U.S.
Age-related neurodegenerative illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and the physical decline associated with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are being explored to uncover new targets for earlier prevention and even treatment. Using the latest tools in genetic sequencing and with sophisticated large-scale epidemiologic analyses, CPMCRI’s scientists are studying data on centenarians, and advancing the way we understand aging and long-term health. Experts in this area include Drs. Steve Cummings, Peggy Cawthon, Katie Stone, Greg Tranah, and Dan Evans.
Using large-cohort studies to understand age-related physical decline
Second in this series on longevity research at CPMCRI, we profile Dr. Peggy Cawthon, an Associate Scientist at CPMCRI and the SFCC.
Recently, Dr. Cawthon was awarded new funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate a novel measure of skeletal muscle mass, and whether results of this test are related to strength, physical performance, falls, fractures, disability and mortality in older men. The support from NIH leverages a public-private partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, and incorporates funding from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the National Institute on Aging.
Dr. Cawthon’s project will build on the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study, a large, prospective, multicenter trial begun by SFCC investigators in 2000 assessing healthy aging, specifically fracture risk and bone mass in men.
Her new research will explore novel and more accurate means to test for sarcopenia—age-related loss of muscle that is accompanied by reduced strength and physical functioning.
“Existing techniques to measure muscle mass are only weakly associated with functional outcomes,” noted Dr. Cawthon. “A clinically feasible, direct measure of muscle mass will enable a more complete understanding of the relationship between muscle mass and health.”
The creatine dilution method measures the amount of creatinine—a by-product of muscle metabolism—in a single sample of urine after study subjects are given oral doses of deuterated creatine. Compared with existing tools to assess muscle mass (versus lean mass, which also includes connective tissues), creatine dilution may be faster, easier to implement, and more precise.
“We suspect that men with decreased total body skeletal mass will have an increased risk of falls and fractures,” said Dr. Cawthon. “The creatine dilution method will help further our understanding of sarcopenia, and potentially identify men at risk of physical decline. Additionally, this new technique could be used to assess response to therapies aimed at improving strength or reversing age-related muscle loss.”
- Peggy Cawthon
- Stewart Cooper, MD
- Steven Cummings, MD
- Shanaz Dairkee, PhD
- Robert Debs, MD
- Pierre Desprez, PhD
- Dan Evans, PhD
- Gantt Galloway, PharmD
- Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD
- Sean D. McAllister, PhD
- John Mendelson, MD
- John Muschler, PhD
- Karin L. Petersen, MD
- Michael C. Rowbotham, MD
- Liliana Soroceanu, MD, PhD
- Katie Stone, PhD
- Gregory James Tranah, PhD
- Cassandra Vieten, PhD
- Esther Wei, ScD
- Li Xi Yang, MD, PhD
- Garret L. Yount, PhD