TGen News & Press Releases : TGen discovers genetic mutation that causes the appearance of premature aging and severe loss of fat in children

TGen, Salt River Community, City Partner to Explore Genetic Basis of Diabetes and Other Diseases

June 2, 2003

Officials from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the City of Phoenix today announced a partnership aimed at studying the genetic basis of diabetes and other debilitating diseases. As with many diseases, genetic factors play an important role in the development of diabetes. This is particularly important in Pima Indians, who have among the highest rates of this disease.

Taking a first step toward fighting the affliction, officials from the TGen, the Salt River Community and the City of Phoenix today completed the formal funding agreements initially outlined when TGen was formed in June of last year. In the agreement, the Community commits to provide $1 million a year to support TGen research for a five-year period.

Joni Ramos, president of the Salt River Community, Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza and Jeffrey Trent, TGens President and Scientific Director, signed the agreements during a ceremony at TGen headquarters.

"This is an historic agreement," said President Ramos. "The Salt River Community is proud to support TGen and its researchers who have made research on disorders disproportionately affecting Native Americans a priority. Our hope is that their research into the genetic causes of diabetes will identify potentially fruitful avenues for treatment and cure."

"This is exactly what we had in minded when we began the efforts to establish genomic research in Arizona. We look forward to great progress," said Mayor Rimsza.

TGen scientists are targeting diseases with a regional impact like diabetes. "The opportunity to impact a disease that severely affects one of our countrys leading populations is personally one of the reasons I came to Phoenix," said Dr. Trent. "All of us at TGen look forward to working with the members of the Community as together we address one of their, and our nations, leading health care problems."

"The success of TGen is all about collaboration. We are very proud that the Salt River Indian Community is our partner in this endeavor," said Phoenix Vice Mayor Greg Stanton.

According to the agreement, the Community will provide $1 million a year to the City of Phoenix, which in turn will give it to TGen. The funds will be provided by October 30 for the years 2003 to 2007.

Discussions are underway to begin research at TGen which will focus on the underlying causes of diabetes and ways to deal with progression of the disease. The goal of these efforts is to aid in the early diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of individuals at high risk for developing this disease.

About the SRP-MIC
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is located in Maricopa County, aside the boundaries of Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and metropolitan Phoenix. The Community Council, which is comprised of the President, Vice President and seven Council members, governs the Community. The population of enrolled community members exceeds 7000. In addition, the Community consists of 53,600 acres and maintains 19,000 of those acres as a natural preserve. For more information, visit the Community web site at http://www.saltriver.pima-maricopa.nsn.us/.

About TGen
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. "Translational research" is a relatively new field employing innovative advances, such as genome-wide array technology, and the burgeoning field of computational biology, to provide the data and tools necessary to identify the genes that play a role in hereditary susceptibility to disease. For more information about TGen, visit its Web site, http://www.tgen.org.


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