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September 30th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Individualizing Medicine Conference Kicks Off

By Admin

Yes, hundreds of people have enjoyed eggs, sausage and bagels and now Dr. Gianrico Farrugia is on stage introducing Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic.    He says Mayo Clinic decided that including medical genomics into Mayo's future and present was essential. "We use medical genomics every day to treat our patients."

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July 9th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

What Docs Are Saying About Our Docs

By Admin

Trials and Fibrillations is a blog on the, by Kentucky physician John Mandrola.  He happens to be an electrophysiologist, thus the blog title. We wanted to offer up here one of his recent posts -- for reasons very apparent you'll if you read it -- in which he outlines his recent experience at a presentation by Mayo Clinic cardiologist and long QT expert Michael Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D.

The talk is titled Five Reasons To Not Do Genetic Testing. It seems counterintuitive, but there are instances when testing isn't the best approach -- including when there's no one around to properly interpret the results.  But we'd rather that you hear Dr. Mandrola's take on the talk...and on Dr. Ackerman.   In any case, we're glad he's in the house.



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May 15th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Research Adds "New Chapter" to National Geographic's Everest

By Admin

Our friend, the veteran mountaineer Conrad Anker, is the author of the latest National Geographic  book on Mount Everest, covering the earliest days of attempted assaults on the peak to the latest climbs including the expedition that included Mayo Clinic's research team. One of the chapters in The Call of Everest is penned by the head of that scientific team, Bruce Johnson, Ph.D., the Mayo physiologist who has spent a career studying human responses to extreme conditions. 

I think the chapter title captures the spirit and the guts of Bruce's team, as well as Mayo's willingness to go anywhere to find answers that may help patients:

"Why does a Scientist Transport Hundreds of Pounds of Equipment on the Backs of Yaks and Porters to set up a Research Laboratory on Mt. Everest?" ( I think it would be a great Jeopardy question.) In addition to some photographs of our team at work taking readings from the climbers who were attempting to summit last year (and succeeded), the chapter also contains several excellent scientific graphics by Mayo's crack medical illustrators Bob Morreale and Joanna King.

The book's publication comes almost exactly a year after the expedition's end and on the verge of the scientific publication of the huge amount of data and findings the team brought  back. The first presentations of findings have begun at scientific conferences... and the first handful of papers will be submitted to journals over the next few days. Stay tuned -- the team says there was enough data from the Everest expedition to produce research articles for several years.

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April 26th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Showing the Power of Individualized Medicine through Patient Experiences

By Admin

CHICAGO -- “Individualized medicine … it’s not just about deciphering your own genome … it’s about you having the power to choose your own care and having access to information that can best keep you well.”

Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., at center of the panel at the Edison Awards

That was the message of Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, speaking as featured panelist at the 2013 Meet the Innovators Forum at the Chicago Cultural Center. The April 25th event was part of the Edison Awards program dedicated to recognizing, honoring and fostering innovation and innovators to create a positive impact in the world.

Personalization for patients

“Today the promise of individualized medicine has become a reality," said Dr. Farrugia to the forum. "We have gone from talking about it to making it a part of patient care.” To illustrate the power of personalized or individualized medicine, Dr. Farrugia introduced the forum to four patients being treated through the Individualized Medicine Clinic at Mayo.

First, Dr. Farrugia introduced a young patient who had been treated for depression unsuccessfully and who had suffered extensive side effects until he arrived at Mayo. In a video, the patient’s mother said that Mayo seemed like their last resort after 16 years of difficulties with medications. Within two months, Mayo deciphered his needs through an individualized medicine approach, which recognizes that the same medications can have varying results and cause different side effects in different people, she said. Through power of pharmacogenomics, physicians tailored his medications and dosages to achieve the best results, making a significant difference for this patient.

Dr. Farrugia's second example was a patient with an advanced tumor of the bile duct. Using genomics to identify protein fusion, physicians discovered that the tumor could be successfully targeted for shrinkage. This is an example of the fact that tumors must be controlled and killed differently in different people, Dr. Farrugia said.

Next, Dr. Farrugia described a “diagnostic odyssey” involving a family where three generations suffered from kidney disease -- a grandfather, father and young son. The disease was identifiable, but the cause had not been isolated. Through Mayo’s individualized medicine program, the three generations underwent gene sequencing to determine how to prevent future children from having the gene mutation.

Finally, Dr. Farrugia described a patient who suffered from intestinal problems for years until it was figured out at Mayo that certain medications were causing the problems. This, again, he said was another case that was explained through individualized medicine.

Other panelists presenting at the forum included:  Bruce Japsen, Columnist/Blogger, Forbes - Moderator; Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Leroy E. Hood, M.D., Ph.D., Founder & President, Institute for Systems Biology; and Scott P. McBride, Shareholder, McAndrews Held & Malloy

Dr. Farrugia was part of a Mayo delegation attending the program where Mayo was recognized with 2013 Edison Awards nominations for two separate innovations. Mayo was nominated and was among the award finalists for Mayo Clinic Patient App and the Asthma Connected Care App in the Innovative Services/Health Management category. The Mayo Clinic Patient App received the gold award and the Asthma Connected Care App received the silver award in their category.

(our thanks to Mayo colleague John Murphy for this report)

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April 24th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

The People You Meet – BIO 2013

By Admin

CHICAGO -- You never know who you'll bump into here at this largest biotech conference, now in its 20th year. It's a bit like strolling the United Nations. If you walk down one aisle and think you're whiffing Turkish food, you are. (I'm told it was very good.) Depending on how fast you walk, you can hear a different language every 30 seconds. And the individuals may be at any level in their respective country or state. Governors have shown up here, as well as ambassadors, consuls and, more commonly, national trade ministers, not to mention Nobel laureates. And then some of us are the folks who just say hi and shake hands.

Tatsuhiro Shindo and Ralph Inforzato visiting the Minnesota pavilion at BIO 2013

I have met people from Ireland, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Hong Kong. And that was just this afternoon. I hate to single out one, but by rank I can. Tatsuhiro Shindo is CED - Chief Executive Director of the Japan Trade Organization. Shindo-san is based in Chicago and attended the Minnesota reception and then showed up at the pavilion to continue the conversation. Along with Ralph Inforzato, Director of Business Development, Shindo-san was making as many contacts as possible. We had a nice chat about genomics and regenerative medicine. He spoke well of Minnesota, which we are always happy to hear. He now has a standing invitation to visit Minnesota...and a personal tour coming from a certain blogger from Mayo Clinic.

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April 23rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Individualized Medicine and BIO 2013

By Admin

Scott Beck of Mayo Clinic at BIO 2013

CHICAGO-- There was a time at the BIO conference when the term genomics was scarcely known. Today it ranks with other buzz words on the exhibit floor here in Chicago and as a topic in the hundreds of meetings that happen every day during this meeting. Individualized Medicine has also become a major topic in the Minnesota pavilion, especially this year. Many visitors have heard about Mayo Clinic's initiative in this field or have heard about our IM Clinic or have attended our annual conference. Present at this year's BIO 2013, is Scott Beck, administrator for Mayo's Center for Individualized Medicine, who has been holding group and one-on-one meetings with a wide range of attendees.

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April 23rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Minnesota High Schooler in Science Finals – BIO 2013

By Admin

Rena Weis and her proud dad at poster presentation

CHICAGO -- The next generation of scientists from Minnesota and the rest of the nation are making themselves known. The Biotechnology Institute has sponsored another international competition for high school scientists here at BIO 2013 and Minnesota’s finalist is Rena Weis from New Prague High School. She did her research on the impact of biochar (look it up) on soils and greenhouse gases. The fact that she did it all by herself, at home, without the help of a university connection, caught the eye of the judges. Also in the competition this year is Michelle Campeau, who was also present at the BIO conference. The international overall winner will be announced later today. That person will get to go to the White House.  Rena says she finds the conference very exciting and is especially thrilled as she is from, in her words “a small town in Minnesota.” We tried to explain to her that that is a plus, as many of us have learned. Minnesota, all of Minnesota, is very widely respected here and with good reason.

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April 22nd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Biotech Advances Through International Networking

By Admin

UMinn-Rochester Chancellor Steve Lehmkuhle, Rochester Chamber's John Wade, Minn. DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben, Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede

CHICAGO --- Collaboration has no borders. That was clearly evident last evening when nearly 200 people -- an international cross section of economic developers, researchers and government officials -- crowded a networking reception hosted by the state of Minnesota. Many of us from Mayo Clinic are here at BIO 2013, the global biotech conference, which migrates from city to city each year. We haven't heard the first estimates of attendance yet, but the norm is around 18,000 registrants. They come to share ideas, attend workshops and presentations, and find ways to work together, as client and vendor, but just as often as partners (either large or small P) in some kind of venture. The cost of technology development and the demand for new innovations mean no one can go it alone any more. Many of the people here from Minnesota represent small  biotech startups seeking larger markets. And many are here to attract business investment or research involvement in their home state or country. Last night Minnesota's commissioner of Employment and Economic Development spoke, along with the mayor of Rochester, Minnesota and the chancellor of the University of Minnesota Rochester. But the talks were brief and people focused on networking for over two hours, including government representatives from Germany and Japan. I spoke with people from Ireland, Sweden and Canada. Researchers may have little funding for travel these days, so they make the most of this one week when what seems like the entire world is present under one roof. It happens in networking events like last night's and in one-on-one "speed dating" sessions facilitated by the conference organizers. The next few days may mean the beginning of profitable relationships or a connection that leads to a new discovery or company. To not be present and participating means you are opting out of the biotechnology world.

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April 18th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

How to be a Science Writer

By Admin


Sometimes paths and purposes cross and good things happen. Internationally-read science writer Kendall Powell was on campus in Rochester today to speak to Mayo Graduate School students on the prospects for writing about science as a career. Kendall has written for a variety of outlets, including the journal Nature. She is one of the authors of the Science Writer's Handbook, due out next week from the National Association of Science Writers. As a freelance journalist, Kendall is part of this growing sector of professionals that aren't part of a publication's staff but still provide an increasing percentage of the news on the pages. She is shown here with Bruce Horazdovsky, Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School, who hosted her talk.

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April 16th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic to co-host 2013 World Stem Cell Summit in San Diego

By jenniferschutz

On the heels of a major advancement in the field of regenerative medicine, Mayo Clinic and others continue to look to the future and the potential of regenerative medicine. Today, Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) announced details of the 9th annual World Stem Cell Summit — the largest and most comprehensive multi-track interdisciplinary stem cell conference aimed at uniting the global stem cell community and accelerating cures.

Mayo Clinic, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have joined GPI to organize the summit which will be held at the Hilton Bayside San Diego, December 4-6, 2013.

“The summit is a great opportunity for the community of regenerative medicine to gather and share the advances of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine and surgery today,” says Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic.

Visit the 2013 World Stem Cell Summit website to learn more, and check out some highlights of Mayo Clinic at the 2012 summit here:

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