Collaboration with TGen brings hope for cancer cures

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A major milestone in the advancement of cancer research for residents of Arizona and beyond will be realized later this week with the dedication of a new biomedical scientific facility that joins Mayo Clinic and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in a unique strategic partnership. The partners' combined technological, academic, research and clinical expertise will help bring innovative research findings directly to the bedside of patients.

The physical manifestation of this ambitious research collaboration is the new Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Building (MCCRB), a 110,000 square-foot facility that will officially open on Thursday, June 30, on the Scottsdale campus of Mayo Clinic. The $25 million facility was funded by Scottsdale developer Tom Hornaday of Hornaday Development. The building is the first of its kind for Mayo Clinic in that it brings multiple strategic partners under one roof dedicated to scientific discovery and therapeutics to ease the burden of disease for the people of Arizona and around the world.

L-R) Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross, Dr. Jeffrey Trent, Dr. Victor Trastek, Dr. Dan Von Hoff, Dr. Laurence Miller and Tom Hornaday cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of the new Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Building.

Ground was broken in February 2004 for the MCCRB, which is located south of the main clinic facility and directly north of the S.C. Johnson Research Building. The collaboration represents a broadening of the scope of research between the Mayo Clinic and TGen extending beyond it's initial focus on melanoma. Tenants of the building thus far include:

* Mayo Clinic research business offices
* Mayo Clinic researchers, including investigational labs for hematologic malignancies, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer
* TGen's Cancer Drug Development Laboratory (CDDL) and the TGen subsidiary, TGen Drug Development Services(TD2)

Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., is president and scientific director of TGen. Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen executive vice president, is also director for TGen's Translational Research Division and the director of TD2. In addition to leading TGen's clinical enterprise, Von Hoff's team is involved in translating basic genetic, molecular and biochemical observations to create therapies for patients with pancreatic cancer.

The CDDL provides a centralized set of resources for investigators interested in the recent explosion in molecular medicine and genomics-based diagnostics and treatment methods. The combination of world-class researchers and the latest technologies create a highly collaborative multidisciplinary research environment. The goal is to develop innovative preclinical research products based on an individual's disease and associated molecular profiles that are brought to bear on cancer as quickly as possible.

Mayo Clinic, headed by Dr. Victor F. Trastek, chair of the Board of Governors, has research investigators who work closely with clinicians to translate discoveries into therapies for patients. Specifically, their work supports the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, one of only 38 U.S. medical centers named a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Mayo's clinical and research experts join forces to address the complex needs of oncology patients.

The principal collaborative partners who will be housed at the MCCRB partners share a passion for cooperation among institutions and individuals to bring advances to cancer research. But they also share something more -- compelling personal stories reflective of their commitment to cancer research.

Developer Hornaday and his wife, Ruth Ann, lost their daughter, Kristi, 26, to melanoma. Hornaday's mother died at age 52 of breast cancer. "My hope, my prayer and my belief is that the research conducted in this building will result in cures so others will not experience these kinds of untimely losses," notes Hornaday.

Speakers at the opening will include Trastek, Trent, Von Hoff and Hornaday, as well as Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross and Dr. Laurence Miller, deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Both Trent and Von Hoff share Hornaday's passion for finding a cure. They experienced the loss of a close friend and mentor when founding Arizona Cancer Center director, Dr. Sydney Salmon, passed away in 2002.

Trastek is a thoracic surgeon who has witnessed more than his share of cancer-related diseases. At one time in his practice he chaired a committee of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons whose charge was a high-profile public campaign to encourage smoking cessation.

"Pursuing joint research strategies and building strong partnerships with researchers at TGen helps advance Mayo Clinic's mission of integrating research and education with clinical medicine to provide optimal health care for our patients and patients everywhere," said Trastek.

"The TGen-Mayo Clinic collaboration signifies a milestone, both in terms of Arizona's leadership in bringing the best that biomedicine has to offer to patients nationally and internationally and the potential that research results between these two institutions will have toward defeating cancer," said Sen. John McCain.

For Trent, it's the extension of a research vision that began with TGen's formation in 2002.

"The collaboration signifies hope for those patients battling cancer. All of us in this partnership understand their urgency, and together we are committed to moving swiftly toward solutions that will make a difference in our patients lives," said Trent.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a charitable, not-for-profit organization with locations in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida. For more than a century, Mayo has been an international leader in patient care, health sciences research and medical education. Since opening in Scottsdale in 1987, Mayo has evolved into an integrated, multi-campus system that includes the clinic, the Samuel C. Johnson Research Building and the Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Center in Scottsdale, and Mayo Clinic Hospital in northeast Phoenix.

About TGen
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research programs and its state-of-the-art bioinformatics and computational biology facilities.

Media Contacts:

Lynn Closway
Mayo Clinic
[email protected]

Galen Perry
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