Dr. Marlena Fejzo is a faculty researcher with joint appointments in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the department of Medicine at UCLA. She has published papers on her genetic studies of many diseases of women including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis and she discovered the first gene involved in uterine fibroids. She is also a mother of a 15-year old boy and 11 year old twin girls. In 1999 she lost a baby in the 2nd trimester due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). HG changed her life - her family and her career. HG is the 2nd leading indicator for hospitalization during pregnancy and yet very little research dollars are spent on it. Drug companies and universities virtually stopped supporting HG research or drug development after babies were born without their limbs when thalidomide was given to treat HG in the 1950s. Through her partnership with the HER Foundation, she has begun to scratch the surface in answering important questions about HG. Due primarily to recruitment on www.helpher.org, she has enrolled over 1500 participants and has been able to publish 13 scientific articles from surveys on the helpher.org website, answering questions covering the psychosocial burden, therapeutic termination, treatment trends, a link between HG and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, familial aggregation, recurrence risk, post-traumatic stress, risk factors, treatments, and outcomes associated with both prolonged HG and extreme weight loss, change in partner and recurrence risk, and long term outcome of exposed offspring. Her next publication is focused on identifying measures associated with preterm birth such as severity of disease, time of first symptoms, time of first treatment, and treatment modality. To date, the most significant risk factor associated with HG is having a sibling with HG, which constitutes a greater than 17-fold increased risk and suggests a strong genetic component to the disease. Due in part to financial support from the HER Foundation, Dr. Fejzo has collected DNA from 775 women with HG and 546 friend controls, in addition to DNA from over 30 families with 2 or more affected individuals. With the help of your donations, these samples will be used for a genome-wide association study and an exome sequencing study at UCLA. This study will provide the foundation necessary to achieve the long-term goal of unlocking the biological mechanisms behind HG. Ultimately, Dr. Fejzo's study will drive development of new and better therapies that target the cause of the disease, not just the symptoms, and limit the associated maternal and fetal suffering. Approximately 20,000 babies are lost annually in the US from HG pregnancies. This research will be a first step in putting an end to this devastatingly high number of fetal deaths. It will enable her to prevent this poorly understood disease that effects too many women: families, initially thrilled to be pregnant, whose lives are suddenly turned upside down, suddenly forced to take medications designed for cancer patients, some who have to make the hardest decision of all, to abort in order to survive, and others still, like Dr. Fejzo, who dont abort but whose babies die anyway. Dr. Fejzo summarizes briefly what HG is by explaining what happened to her in 1999. Just 5 weeks into her pregnancy, she was hospitalized with severe dehydration. Her doctor sent her home with a bottle of pills and the first and last picture of her healthy baby. She spent the next two months day and night fighting off nausea and vomiting so extreme she couldnt eat or drink anything not even a sip of water. She had numerous other symptoms as well, but the overwhelming problem was the constant vomiting. She became so weak from losing an excessive amount of weight and was so nauseated that she was not able to leave her bed, even to use the bathroom. She could not even turn to her side, let alone sit upright without vomiting. Her doctor had Zofran, a medicine that is used to prevent vomiting during chemotherapy, pumped into her leg and later moved to IV in her arm when there wasnt any fat left in her thigh to absorb the drug. And later, after weeks and weeks of utter starvation, too weak to talk, having to use a buzzer to communicate the need for a bedpan or Zofran change, she was put on 7 different drugs at once as a last attempt to try to get her to be able to eat. Nothing worked. When her veins became too thin to retain an IV, they inserted a PICC line into her chest. Ultimately she started hemorrhaging, and, in a wheel chair, unable to walk or even sit upright, she listened as her doctor told her she looked like she had been through a war and that her 15 week old fetus was dead. HG was 10 unbearable weeks of constant suffering, horrifying for her, horrifying for her family, and deadly for her innocent, unborn child. When she recovered, she was shocked to learn that there was so little scientific research on HG and there and then decided to devote her life to studying HG. With your help, she hopes that she can find a proper treatment or a cure for this terrible disease. How many more babies have to die before we realize that an investment in HG research will save money and lives? To make a donation to HG research please contact: Aly Shoji, Director of Development AShoji@support.ucla.edu 310-267-1826
Fejzo Marlena S, Macgibbon Kimber Hyperemesis gravidarum: it is time to put an end to the misguided theory of a psychiatric etiology General hospital psychiatry, ; 34(6): 699-700; author reply 700-1.
Fejzo Marlena S, Ching Chunyu, Schoenberg Frederic P, Macgibbon Kimber, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy, Mullin Patrick M Change in paternity and recurrence of hyperemesis gravidarum The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 2012; 25(8): 1241-5.
Mullin Patrick M, Ching ChunYu, Schoenberg Frederic, MacGibbon Kimber, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy, Fejzo Marlena S Risk factors, treatments, and outcomes associated with prolonged hyperemesis gravidarum The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 2012; 25(6): 632-6.
Christodoulou-Smith Joan, Gold Jeffrey I, Romero Roberto, Goodwin Thomas M, Macgibbon Kimber W, Mullin Patrick M, Fejzo Marlena S Posttraumatic stress symptoms following pregnancy complicated by hyperemesis gravidarum The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 2011; 24(11): 1307-11.
Fejzo Marlena S, Ginther Chuck, Dering Judy, Anderson Lee, Venkatesan Natarajan, Konecny Gottfried, Karlan Beth, Slamon Dennis J Knockdown of ovarian cancer amplification target ADRM1 leads to downregulation of GIPC1 and upregulation of RECK Genes, chromosomes & cancer, 2011; 50(6): 434-41.
Zhang Yafeng, Cantor Rita M, MacGibbon Kimber, Romero Roberto, Goodwin Thomas M, Mullin Patrick M, Fejzo Marlena S Familial aggregation of hyperemesis gravidarum American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 2011; 204(3): 230.e1-7.
Fejzo Marlena S, Macgibbon Kimber W, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy, Mullin Patrick M Recurrence risk of hyperemesis gravidarum Journal of midwifery & women's health, 2011; 56(2): 132-6.
Zhu Min, Fejzo Marlena S, Anderson Lee, Dering Judy, Ginther Charles, Ramos Lillian, Gasson Judith C, Karlan Beth Y, Slamon Dennis J Periostin promotes ovarian cancer angiogenesis and metastasis Gynecologic oncology, 2010; 119(2): 337-44.
Fejzo Marlena Schoenberg, Slamon Dennis J Tissue microarrays from frozen tissues-OCT technique Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2010; 664: 73-80.
Wainberg Zev A, Anghel Adrian, Desai Amrita J, Ayala Raul, Luo Tong, Safran Brent, Fejzo Marlena S, Hecht J Randolph, Slamon Dennis J, Finn Richard S Lapatinib, a dual EGFR and HER2 kinase inhibitor, selectively inhibits HER2-amplified human gastric cancer cells and is synergistic with trastuzumab in vitro and in vivo Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2010; 16(5): 1509-19.
Fejzo Marlena S, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy Patients with a history of hyperemesis gravidarum have similar symptoms during egg stimulation and develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: case series Fertility and sterility, 2010; 93(1): 267.e9-11.
Fejzo Marlena S, Poursharif Borzouyeh, Korst Lisa M, Munch Shari, MacGibbon Kimber W, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy Symptoms and pregnancy outcomes associated with extreme weight loss among women with hyperemesis gravidarum Journal of women's health (2002), 2009; 18(12): 1981-7.
Fejzo Marlena S, Ingles Sue Ann, Wilson Melissa, Wang Wei, MacGibbon Kimber, Romero Roberto, Goodwin Thomas M High prevalence of severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum among relatives of affected individuals European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, 2008; 141(1): 13-7.
Fejzo Marlena S, Dering Judy, Ginther Chuck, Anderson Lee, Ramos Lilian, Walsh Christine, Karlan Beth, Slamon Dennis J Comprehensive analysis of 20q13 genes in ovarian cancer identifies ADRM1 as amplification target Genes, chromosomes & cancer, 2008; 47(10): 873-83.
Goodwin T Murphy, Poursharif Borzouyeh, Korst Lisa M, MacGibbon Kimber W, Romero Roberto, Fejzo Marlena S Secular trends in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum American journal of perinatology, 2008; 25(3): 141-7.
Poursharif Borzouyeh, Korst Lisa M, Macgibbon Kimber W, Fejzo Marlena S, Romero Roberto, Goodwin T Murphy Elective pregnancy termination in a large cohort of women with hyperemesis gravidarum Contraception, 2007; 76(6): 451-5.
Milstein Marc, Mooser Chelsea K, Hu Hailiang, Fejzo Marlena, Slamon Dennis, Goodglick Lee, Dry Sarah, Colicelli John RIN1 is a breast tumor suppressor gene Cancer research, 2007; 67(24): 11510-6.
Byrne Jennifer A, Balleine Rosemary L, Schoenberg Fejzo Marlena, Mercieca Janelle, Chiew Yoke-Eng, Livnat Yael, St Heaps Luke, Peters Gregory B, Byth Karen, Karlan Beth Y, Slamon Dennis J, Harnett Paul, Defazio Anna Tumor protein D52 (TPD52) is overexpressed and a gene amplification target in ovarian cancer International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer, 2005; 117(6): 1049-54.
Saarela Janna, Schoenberg Fejzo Marlena, Chen Daniel, Finnilä Saara, Parkkonen Maikki, Kuokkanen Satu, Sobel Eric, Tienari Pentti J, Sumelahti Marja-Liisa, Wikström Juhani, Elovaara Irina, Koivisto Keijo, Pirttilä Tuula, Reunanen Mauri, Palotie Aarno, Peltonen Leena Fine mapping of a multiple sclerosis locus to 2.5 Mb on chromosome 17q22-q24 Human molecular genetics, 2002; 11(19): 2257-67.
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