2011 Advances in Science: Bench to Bedside

UCSF has continually ranked among the top recipients of competitively awarded research funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UCSF is also distinguished among universities for reporting discoveries that are most often referenced by groundbreaking researchers internationally. Here is just a sampling from 2011 of research advances at UCSF that have helped to keep a steady stream flowing through the pipeline that leads from research discovery to better healthcare — including greater patient safety, more efficient healthcare delivery, and improved outcomes for patients.

Clinical Research and Public Health Advances

Heart Failure Hospital Stays Are Reduced

Heart Failure patients spent less time in the hospitals, thanks to a program designed to identify ways for hospitals to improve patients' transitions to their homes. UCSF Medical Center reduced hospital readmissions for older heart failure patients by 30 percent. UCSF’s Heart Failure Program reduced both 30-day and 90-day readmissions for patients 65 and older through the program, launched in 2008 with a $575,000 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.The program has cut Medicare billing by at least $1 million annually at UCSF, while freeing up hospital beds for other patients.

Fetal Surgery Improves Spina Bifida Outcomes

The UCSF Fetal Treatment Center showed that surgery before birth can improve results in babies with a type of spina bifida in which the bones of the spine do not fully form. Babies who undergo a procedure to repair spina bifida in the womb experience healthier development and fewer neurologic complications than babies who have corrective surgery after birth, according to findings from the major multicenter trial led by UCSF researchers. The study was the first to systematically evaluate the best treatment for myelomeningocele, the most serious form of spina bifida. The clinical investigators stopped the eight-year trial early, because results were so positive. The researchers found that prenatal surgery greatly reduces the need to divert fluid away from the brain, improves mental development and motor function, and increases the likelihood that a child will one day walk unassisted.

Read more about other 2011 science advances at UCSF.