Mayo Clinic Signs Multi-Year Biomedical Research Agreement with Colorado State University

Mayo Clinic has signed a multi-year biomedically focused research agreement with Colorado State University to collaborate on the development of oncology and infectious disease therapeutics. Colorado State’s world-leading expertise in biomedical research and Mayo’s unparalleled reputation for integrating groundbreaking research and patient care provide the foundation for this innovative partnership.

Colorado State in Fort Collins will be only the second university with which Mayo Clinic is collaborating on research and education initiatives at its Scottsdale, Ariz., campus.

The collaboration will allow the unique opportunity for Mayo Clinic and Colorado State to combine expertise in comparative oncology and disease treatments. The objective of the collaboration is to identify research and educational initiatives for vaccinology, oncology and infectious disease therapies.

"The goal of this collaboration is to bring new diagnostic tests specifically related to cancer and infectious diseases to aid us in advancing biomedical research in oncology and to bring potentially new diagnostics and therapeutics to our patients," said Dr. Ronald J. Marler, associate director for Research/Research Alliances at Mayo Clinic.

"Mayo Clinic is a worldwide leader in transferring new technology from the laboratory directly to patients," said Tony Frank, provost and senior vice president at Colorado State. "With Mayo, Colorado State can collaborate on research related to cancer and infectious disease to find solutions to serious health problems affecting the entire globe. At the same time, we can learn more from one of the most successful clinical laboratories in the country about expeditiously moving our technologies and solutions into the marketplace."

The partnership with Mayo is predicted to expand the pipeline of treatments that have the potential to solve a variety of serious human health problems. The basis for this agreement is Colorado State’s excellence in a wide range of biomedical research, which includes its Animal Cancer Center. The Animal Cancer Center has pioneered numerous surgical, radiation therapy and chemotherapy procedures associated with cancer, and its work has had application for both humans and non-humans. The center, which is a branch of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital within the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has trained more veterinary surgical and medical oncologists than any other veterinary institution in the world.

Research at the Animal Cancer Center translates directly into finding cures and therapies for human cancer. Some recent examples:

-Researchers have developed a way to deliver intravenous radiation drugs to bone cancer patients without causing damage to other healthy cells and vital organs, drastically reducing illness and other common side effects of toxic radiation treatments. The technique also allows doctors to deliver radiation in only one dose – as opposed to the standard of three to six – and in a higher, more effective concentration. The doctors are working to pinpoint a dose that will achieve 90 percent or higher tumor kill in their canine patients; the goal for traditional treatments in people also is 90 percent tumor die-off before surgery. Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, a veterinarian and cancer expert at Colorado State, is leading the effort.

-Dr. Simon Turner, a Colorado State veterinarian, has helped prevent limb amputations in humans with bone cancer with his research into a custom-fit bone replacement device. The device, which now is in about 400 people, gives patients facing amputation new hope, providing implants with extended life and extra  stability. Using spring-loaded compression and a new anchoring technique, the device, which is designed to replace a segment of bone, helps patients who have little bone available in which to implant a device because of the location of a tumor. It also reduces eventual amputations in patients who have had implants for an extended period of time and encounter common complications.

Colorado State has a long history and proven track record of safe and innovative research in cancer and infectious diseases, attracting significant federal funding. Colorado State’s Foothills Campus features the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases and the university’s Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory and its Bioenvironmental Research Building.

In November 2005, Colorado State University Professor Barry Beaty received part of a $50.7 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to develop a new generation of environmentally sensitive pesticides and other measures to control the mosquito vectors of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever – diseases that have emerged as major public health problems in tropical America – and malaria, a disease spread by mosquitoes that kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds.

The National Institutes of Health also last year awarded $4 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to help expand the Bioenvironmental Research Building. In May 2005, the NIH granted the university $42 million for a Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases research and training. Beaty heads that consortium.

"Our scientists will benefit greatly from working with the researchers and physicians at Mayo Clinic," Frank said. "We are honored to be part of this collaboration and hope that our partnership will benefit human health."

Mayo Clinic is expanding its collaborative efforts in research and biotechnology.  In June 2005, the 110,000-square-foot Mayo Clinic Collaborative Research Building, or  MCCRB, opened on Mayo’s Scottsdale campus. The MCCRB is the first of its kind for Mayo Clinic in that it brings multiple strategic partners under one roof, working on scientific discoveries that will help patients. The new building expands upon state-of-the-art research activities being conducted by Mayo investigators in the nearby Samuel C. Johnson Research Building.