JACKSON — Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) have signed an agreement to broaden and deepen their collaboration in clinical trials, other medical research and education.
The agreement is a formal commitment to enhance the relationship that has been steadily building for the past 20 years.
“This agreement builds on our already strong relationship with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and lays the groundwork for more discovery and application,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic. “We’re thrilled to work even more closely to improve care for patients.”
An earlier memorandum of understanding formed an institutional bond in 2010, designed to enhance and expand shared initiatives in translational research and training. A number of cooperative clinical research relationships have flourished between Mayo and UMMC since a first collaborative study was launched in 1995 in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA), with cohorts of non-Hispanic White Americans from Rochester, Minnesota, African-Americans from Jackson and Mexican-Americans from Starr County, Texas.
Mayo’s and UMMC’s site principal investigators in GENOA, Stephen Turner, M.D., and Thomas Mosley, Ph.D., respectively, have continued to collaborate within GENOA, as well as in other genetic epidemiology-based research, seeking to better understand the differences in disease prevalence and progression between different racial and ethnic groups.
Daniel W. Jones, M.D., chancellor of the University of Mississippi, believes the relationship with Mayo Clinic can be transformational for the University of Mississippi Medical Center across its missions of research, education and health care.
“Expanding our existing research partnership with Mayo offers exciting possibilities for new discovery that will benefit Mississippians and people around the world,” says Dr. Jones. “Beyond that, though, the Mayo Clinic is the strongest brand in health care worldwide. We will benefit from the opportunity to apply Mayo-type approaches to management of a large, public health care enterprise such as ours. We look forward to the prospect that both partners will learn, grow and perhaps influence other public academic medical centers through this relationship.”
In addition to research into the genetic underpinnings of disease through epidemiological research, collaborative efforts between Mayo and UMMC include clinical research projects that look at genetic variations in treatment response.
“Mayo and UMMC are uniquely positioned when working together to improve our understanding of the way diseases develop and how different treatments can work among our nation’s increasingly diverse population,” says Robert Rizza, M.D., Mayo’s liaison for this collaboration. “Our combined education programs are growing as well, and we’re very excited to be exploring new avenues of understanding in such areas as rural and medically underserved communities.”
Many of the current Mayo-UMMC collaborations have been developed under the auspices of Mayo’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS), for which UMMC’s James Wilson, M.D., serves as an external advisory committee member. These joint activities include enabling UMMC investigators to access (currently) 26 online training modules offered by Mayo Clinic; designation of Mayo as an elite “Vanguard Center” of the UMMC-affiliated Jackson Heart Study; and a number of collaborative studies relating to kidney disease, uterine fibroids, and more.
“This is the doorway to create more exciting opportunities between UMMC and all of Mayo Clinic,” says Richard Summers, M.D., associate vice chancellor for research at UMMC, and liaison for this collaboration. “We are going to use the synergy that already exists between our organizations to take clinical research and education to a whole new level.”
Future collaborations are planned in graduate education and the mentoring and development of emerging clinical researchers, and conducting faculty exchanges. The organizations expect to leverage Mayo’s metabolomics core with UMMC’s lipidomics capabilities, share Mayo’s clinical research unit tools software, co-develop an Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic in Jackson, enhance UMMC’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Device Trials unit, and potentially develop a cooperative telemedicine program.
The agreement will coordinate ongoing and new complementary goals of both organizations. In the future, the closer ties between Mayo and UMMC are expected to lead to new, cutting-edge collaborations.
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