Tuesday, February 23, 2010
ROCHESTER/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is awarding nearly $5 million in state funded research support to six new investigative teams in 2010. This new round of scientific exploration will provide initial support for research on cancer, neurological conditions and autoimmune diseases. Others focus on nanotechnology and eye conditions. If successful, in addition to solving a medical problem nearly all the projects would save health care costs either through elimination of a chronic condition or providing a lower-cost technological solution.
"These are all great projects that have potential to make a difference in health care," says Eric Wieben, Ph.D., Partnership program director from Mayo Clinic. "These investigative partners are combining their diverse technologies and knowledge to come up with some new approaches to long-standing problems."
"These teams are focusing on conditions that directly affect Minnesotans and on projects that would not happen without collaboration," says Mark Paller, M.D., Partnership program director from the University of Minnesota.
Applications for the projects were requested last fall from University and Mayo Clinic researchers. Each research proposal has a principal investigator from each institution and must be a project that could not be completed by either organization on its own. Funding is for two years, with the goal of developing intellectual property or attracting additional research support from federal government or private sources.
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is a collaboration among the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the State of Minnesota.
The awards will provide funding for these projects:
A Novel Cerebral Venous System Mapping and Ablation Technology to Treat Central Nervous System Disorders Including Epilepsy and Stroke — $951,295 Samuel Asirvatham, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Bin He, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
The goal is to develop a system to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions via the veins similar to how heart patients are treated. Current nonsurgical treatments for epilepsy are only partly successful and cost billions annually. This approach would allow physicians to eliminate the source of the condition without invasive surgery.
Validation of Cyclophilin B as a Therapeutic Target in Brain Tumors — $1,220,484 Richard Bram, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; John Ohlfest, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Researchers hope to determine if a specific gene fosters the most deadly forms of brain cancer and find ways to suppress it.
Low-cost and high-performance nano-sensors: synthetic ion sensors for biological and medical applications — $637,500 Min-Hwang (Perry) Chang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Tianhong Cui, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
These researchers seek to engineer nano-sensors to monitor diabetic and heart patient conditions. Long-range development could lead to simplified remote or home monitoring of patients.
Applying Network Theory to Optimize Cancer Virotherapy — $451,610 David Dingli, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Claudia Neuhauser, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Rochester
The goal is to find how spaces and structure in tumors affect the success of cancer treatments with viruses. Understanding of natural systems may help develop a "road map" for viral vectors to follow.
Development of a Novel Biocomposite Artificial Cornea — $577,929 Sanjay Patel, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Allison Hubel, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Corneas for transplant have never met demand and battlefield injuries have increased the need. Researchers want to develop an artificial cornea and improve success for implantation.
Early predictors of autoimmunity and opportunities for intervention — $1,126,911 Ann Reed, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Emily Baechler Gillespie, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Researchers will study individuals with autoimmune factors to find biomarkers that could lead to better treatments for lupus.
Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.
Learn more about becoming a patient at Mayo Clinic in the Patient & Visitor Guide.