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Mayo Clinic Highlights
2003 Highlights

Mayo Clinic's patient care activities in Jacksonville, Rochester and Scottsdale are strengthened by advanced programs in medical education and research. This interaction promotes higher standards of medical care, learning and discovery within the institution. Following are some of the highlights that occurred throughout Mayo in 2003.

Patient care

  • Mayo Clinic has developed a series of magnetic resonance imaging devices that make it easier to diagnose injuries and diseases that affect wrists, forearms, elbows, hands and fingers. Mayo received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market and commercialize these devices, making them available to other medical centers nationwide.
  • Mayo Clinic Rochester heart specialists began traveling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to see heart patients and to work jointly with Dubai Healthcare City on cardiovascular research and education. The venture marks the first time Mayo physicians have traveled outside the United States for ongoing patient care, research and education.
  • Mayo Clinic Jacksonville was designated Florida's first Destination Therapy Facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The designation means that Medicare will reimburse for the surgical implantation of the HeartMate Left Ventricular Assist System as a permanent treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure.
  • The first "domino" transplant in Arizona was performed at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. The domino transplant is a creative way to optimize the limited supply of available organs. A diseased liver is removed from one patient and immediately transplanted into a second patient who is unlikely to be affected by the disease. The first patient then receives a new liver from another source, in this case, a cadaveric donor. Only 18 such transplants were reported in the United States in 2002.
  • A clinical study at Mayo Clinic Rochester indicated that new FOLFOX 4 treatment helps patients with advanced colorectal cancer live significantly longer, with fewer chemotherapy side effects than with standard chemotherapy treatment. The findings from this study of a new combination of chemotherapy drugs could potentially affect thousands of patients.
  • A clinical study performed at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale showed that laparoscopy is as effective at removing cancerous kidney tumors as open surgery. In one of the largest studies of its type, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale surgeons performed 20 laparoscopic partial nephrectomies (surgical removal of a kidney), in which only the tumor on the kidney was removed.
  • Mayo Clinic oncologists identified a drug combination to treat metastatic breast cancer that is well-tolerated by patients and maintains a high response rate and survival. A study conducted in the Cancer Clinical Study Unit at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville showed that paclitaxel, carboplatin and trastuzumab given in combination ameliorate toxicity while maintaining a high level of efficacy.
  • Kidney transplant specialists at Mayo Clinic began using a new approach that filters out antibodies prior to surgery to overcome a major barrier to kidney transplantation in some patients. The new process prevented organ rejection in 80 percent of patients whose bodies otherwise would have rejected a new kidney.


  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced details of a joint agreement between Mayo Clinic Rochester and the University of Minnesota to implement a multiyear research partnership. The private-public partnership is expected to yield major new scientific discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease, result in improved technology for food and agriculture research, and position Minnesota as a leader in biotechnology and genomics.
  • Mayo Clinic Scottsdale is collaborating with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a Phoenix-based biotech firm, and the city of Scottsdale to expand research activities, particularly in cancer research. Construction is due to begin soon on a new 110,000-square-foot biomedical research building on the Scottsdale campus of Mayo Clinic.
  • Using a new approach, Mayo Clinic researchers have successfully "taught" an RNA molecule inside a living cell to work as a decoy to divert the actions of the protein NF-kappaB, which scientists believe promotes disease development. This protein activates genes that promote cancer-cell survival, enables the HIV virus to reproduce, and promote the inflammation process involved in many chronic diseases. Mayo's findings suggest that this decoy strategy could help in developing drugs capable of halting the disease process.
  • Mayo Clinic researchers identified a genetic syndrome -- an inherited birth disorder characterized by learning disabilities, facial malformations, impaired organs and mental retardation. The discovery is important from the aspects of patient care and genetic counseling and provides evidence for a class of new genetic errors as a precondition leading to disease.
  • Nearly one-third of patients with advanced multiple myeloma who had failed a standard therapy of chemotherapy or stem-cell transplantation responded to the drug thalidomide for a median duration of nearly one year in a Mayo Clinic study. Another Mayo study was the first to show that for some patients with early stage multiple myeloma, thalidomide may effectively delay the need for chemotherapy or more aggressive treatment for as long as two years.
  • The most powerful magnet ever made for research into cellular proteins and DNA - a one-of-a-kind, ultra-high-field 12-Tesla-strength magnet -- was installed at Mayo Clinic Rochester. The magnet becomes part of Mayo's new protein analysis mass spectrometer for the recently opened Mayo Proteomics Research Center.
  • Researchers at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville received a U.S. patent for their invention of a new way to use a synthetic molecule that specifically targets the genetic material of a cell. The technology will likely hasten development of novel gene therapy approaches for treating cancers, aging and behavioral diseases, infections and autoimmune diseases. The Mayo Clinic team's discovery in 1997 of this technology both challenged existing protocols and opened the way for new strategies in gene therapy.
  • Mayo Clinic researchers produced the first laboratory evidence to show that a cell's possession of an abnormal number of chromosomes contributes to the development of cancer. Mayo researchers also became the first to describe what goes wrong during the growth cycle of cells that can lead to inherited forms of breast cancer. Knowing the nature of this biochemical modification is a first step toward designing drugs to correct it and prevent cancer.
  • For the first time, Mayo Clinic researchers proved that cells produced by the bone marrow can form new heart muscle cells in adults, providing an important boost to research that could enable the body to replace heart muscle damaged by heart attack. The study points the way to a process that could lead to heart repair.
  • Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and Arizona State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding bringing together clinical and investigative interests and strengths in a collaborative framework for medical research and development.
  • Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a naturally occurring "good guy" gene for patients infected with HIV. It is a helpful gene mutation that impairs the HIV virus' cell-killing machinery, thus preserving immune system function. Moreover, Mayo's research suggests that the presence or absence of this mutation may play a central role in determining which HIV-infected patients develop full-blown AIDS.
  • Researchers at Mayo Clinic discovered that genetic variants associated with instances of sudden cardiac deaths are far more prevalent and diverse than first thought, especially among minorities. The news came from a study on a cardiac disorder affecting young people -- long QT syndrome -- which kills as many as 3,000 teenagers and young adults in the United States annually.


  • Mayo Clinic introduced Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, which brings together Mayo's long-standing research and education programs in Jacksonville, Rochester and Scottsdale. The college includes five schools educating scientists, medical students, residents, fellows, nurses and allied-health professionals, as well as extensive research programs contributing to advances in basic science and medical treatments for patients.
  • Graduates of the Mayo School of Health Sciences, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, gathered in Rochester for the inaugural meeting of the Mayo School of Health Sciences Alumni Association. The meeting is designed to enhance professional growth and development among alumni.
  • Mayo Graduate School and Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, were awarded multiyear funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to support students enrolled in the joint M.D./Ph.D. training program. This award designates Mayo's program as a Medical Scientist Training Program, a premier training center for physician-scientists in the United States.
  • Planning began for an Education Technology Center to support Mayo's educational programs. The virtual technology center will collect and centralize a growing body of information on medical practice and education for both students and practitioners. The center has the potential to dramatically advance education opportunities for Mayo staff, students and trainees, and improve patient care at Mayo Clinic and beyond.
  • Mayo Clinic Proceedings joined the Journal of the American Medical Association and The New England Journal of Medicine as one of the top three journals with the largest outreach to the general/internal medicine audience and the most extensive readership within that audience.

Honors and achievements

  • Mayo Clinic was named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune magazine in its annual compilation of companies that "rate high with employees." The ranking was based in part on a survey of employees at all Mayo Clinic sites.
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital was consumers' number one choice of hospitals in the Phoenix metropolitan area for the fifth year in a row, in a survey conducted by the National Research Corporation. Mayo Clinic Hospital's selection for the Consumer Choice Award places it among the top hospitals nationally.
  • Mayo Clinic Jacksonville dedicated the C.V. and Elsie R. Griffin Cancer Research Building. The facility is the first building in the history of Mayo Clinic to be devoted exclusively to cancer research. The four-story, 103,000-square-foot building is capable of accommodating space for about 400 cancer researchers working in up to 20 laboratories.
  • "Lifeline: Mayo Clinic," a four-part television series, aired on the Discovery Health Channel. The series documented the dramatic stories of real patients from their first visit with a Mayo physician through discovery of their medical problems and their treatments. A Discovery Health Channel executive said the series "portrays Mayo Clinic as a place to go when all other hope is gone, a place full of brilliant doctors and nurses who care."
  • The family of "Dear Abby" columnist Abigail Van Buren and another family that wanted to remain anonymous each donated $5 million to Mayo Clinic to advance the progress of medical research in Alzheimer's disease. The $10 million gift enables Mayo to accelerate research to gain an ever-improving understanding of Alzheimer's and ultimately to develop effective treatments.
  • The ALS Clinic at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale became the only ALS center in Arizona to receive national certification as a Center of Excellence by the national ALS Association. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is widely known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The ALS Clinic at Mayo was recognized for its outstanding program for patients with ALS and their family members.
2002 Highlights 2004 Highlights

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