TRANSFORMING BRAIN HEALTH

The Garvey family joins UW Medicine and the legislature in a vital investment

Brain health is key to overall health, but here’s the struggle: About half the people on the planet, maybe more, will someday experience a brain disorder. “At some point, almost every family is affected by a brain health problem such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease or addiction,” says Lynn Garvey. “These diseases are so common and so devastating, and we wanted to do something to help.” And that’s exactly what she and her husband, Mike Garvey, decided to do.

Inspired, in part, by the Washington State Legislature’s recent investment in a new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility — which will care for people with long-term needs — the couple funded the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions at UW Medicine, which will translate research into treatments to improve brain health for patients here and around the world. The new facility and the Garvey Institute will join a third recent addition at UW Medicine: the crisis-focused care provided by the UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center. Three new, effective programs; three big ways to change people’s lives. “The Garvey Institute will work to make those treatments available to more people,” says Mike Garvey. “I really can’t think of a better investment than that, and I hope that other investors will join us.”

STEPPING OUT FOR CANCER VACCINES

Walking down the pink carpet, Nora Disis, MD, director of the UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute, saw a sea of well-shod fashionistas. Shoes were the topic du jour at the annual “FFANY Shoes on Sale” event in New York, which raises gifts for breast cancer research. Disis appreciates the generosity of the attendees — and the flexibility it affords. “Funding like this allows us to move quickly,” she says, “when we have a new, promising project.”

To learn more about the people helped by Disis’ work, watch this video about cancer advocate Kristi Blair.

The Workout

A new device acts fast to measure platelet strength after trauma

Trauma doctors often have just a few minutes to make treatment decisions — but it’s not always clear which patients need life-saving blood transfusions. That’s why UW Medicine’s Nathan White, MD, MS, an associate professor of emergency medicine, and Nate Sniadecki, PhD, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and an adjunct associate professor of bioengineering, are developing a tiny plastic device to measure platelet strength. When you’re hurt, platelets race to the site of a wound and form clots that begin the healing process, but severe injury and trauma can weaken them. In tests at Harborview Medical Center, the device correctly predicted which patients ended up needing transfusions, based on their platelet function levels. “Being able to get a quick measurement was a real game-changer,” says Sniadecki. Today, the researchers are working with their spinout company, Stasys, to make the tool even smaller and easier to use. They’re also in the process of securing FDA approval. “We’re excited to get this technology into the hands of doctors across the world,” says Sniadecki. “Luckily, we have great support at UW and with folks in the local region to help us along the way.”