Digest

January 18, 2008

UM School of Medicine gets $3 million grant

The University of Maryland School of Medicine has received a $3 million federal grant to improve tissue-transplant techniques in ways that would benefit soldiers and other victims of trauma.

At a news briefing yesterday, Dr. Stephen Bartlett, the chief of surgery, predicted that the hospital would perform its first face transplant in the next two years.

The grant will help researchers devise ways to perform those and other grafts without using anti-rejection drugs, which can have serious side effects. Such medications work by suppressing the immune system.

University of Maryland researchers are focusing on composite transplants, which require the grafting of many tissue types, including skin, bone, nerve and blood vessel.

A woman in France received the first facial transplant in 2005 after she was disfigured by her dog, but her immune system nearly rejected the transplant twice. The surgery was the first of three facial transplants French surgeons have performed.

From staff and wire reports

Baltimore

: East side

Two-alarm fire burns lumberyard

Scores of firefighters responded late last night to a two-alarm fire at an East Baltimore lumber company that caused an undetermined amount damage to the business.

No injuries were reported among firefighters manning at least a dozen pieces of apparatus, a Fire Department communications official said.

Reported at 10:51 p.m. at the National Lumber Co. in the 4900 block of Pulaski Highway at East Monument Street, the fire went to two alarms in less than 10 minutes. At least one ambulance was dispatched, the fire official said.

The fire was declared under control at 12:05 a.m.

Marty Bhattachan, an employee at Ali's Shell station at East Monument Street and Pulaski Highway, said he could see heavy smoke and flames erupting from the lumberyard.

"There are lots of fire engines out here," said Bhattachan, 22.

Richard Irwin

Johns Hopkins

Professor to head Columbia U. school

Johns Hopkins University public health professor Dr. Linda Fried was named yesterday as the next dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

Fried, who will succeed long-time Mailman School Dean Dr. Allan Rosenfield, will take her new post in May.

Fried has spent 25 years at Johns Hopkins, starting as a fellow in general internal medicine in 1982. She has focused on health promotion and prevention for older adults. She is professor of medicine, epidemiology, health policy and nursing at Johns Hopkins and director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health.

Fried also will be a professor of epidemiology at Columbia.

David Kohn

Carroll County

: Bonds

$120 million request approved

The Carroll County commissioners approved yesterday a $120 million bond authorization request for fiscal 2009, which will begin July 1.

Authorizing the bonds would not commit the commissioners to anything, Ted Zaleski, county director of management and budget said during a commissioners meeting yesterday.

The amount requested is so high because of the county's "pretty aggressive" capital plan, Zaleski said. That plan includes the new Manchester Valley High School.

The authorization request includes about $65 million for schools and $10.6 million for public works projects.

Rapidly rising construction costs were also a factor, Zaleski said.

Last year's authorization of $80 million does not fully cover the 2008 fiscal year budget, Zaleski said. There is a gap of more than $40 million between the $115 million authorized in bonds and the nearly $160 million appropriated in projects, Zaleski said.

Arin Gencer

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