Mayo Clinic building wellness in diverse ways
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Mayo Clinic building wellness in diverse ways
Biomedical research is key to accelerating Florida’s diverse economy — and it’s a major component in statewide collaborations formed to promote the life sciences.
The forces of health care, academic medical centers, pharmaceuticals, business incubators and community groups are coming together in the Sunshine State to grow business and find innovative health solutions for people.
Among Florida’s population, Alzheimer’s disease has affected over 500,000 people and the state has the second highest cancer burden in America. These are two complex diseases waiting for scientiﬁc breakthroughs. And at Mayo Clinic, research is focused on finding solutions for such diseases to fulfill unmet needs of the patient.
Complex diseases need team science
Collaborative team science is at the heart of Mayo Clinic’s approach to finding answers and new treatments for complex diseases. Some of the world’s most celebrated medical advancements have been developed at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. For example, researchers have discovered genetic causes of neurological diseases and genes involved in the development and spread of cancer.
Working side-by side, Mayo physicians and scientists seek to take these discoveries and accelerate their translation and application into life-changing therapies, surgical procedures and technologies. Clinical trials allow for new discoveries to be directly used for patient care.
Patients at Mayo Clinic often are among the first to benefit from new therapies or innovative techniques through clinical trials. Because of research, more than 1.3 million people came to Mayo Clinic for care in 2016, seeking medical answers they hadn’t found anywhere else. On Florida’s campus, patients have come from all 50 states and more than 140 countries for treatment since the clinic opened in 1986. We freely share our results. In 2016, physicians and researchers published more than 800 manuscripts describing our findings and their application to human diseases.
Commercialization of new technologies and treatments further allows for these benefits to be widely disseminated, so that patients everywhere can benefit from them. Extending this spirit of collaboration with other organizations statewide will leverage the benefits of research to have a significant economic impact within our communities.
Diversity in clinical trials
Because clinical trials are at the center of bringing new treatments for patient care, it is vitally important that the results of these studies can benefit everyone. We know that differences in ethnic background or genetics can affect how someone will respond to a treatment. Yet, minorities have been under-represented in clinical trials for many years. This is fundamental as we tackle some of the most persistent health disparities.
We all have more to do. At Mayo, we are committed to closing this gap. One of the primary goals of Mayo’s Office of Health Disparities Research is to recruit diverse populations into our clinical trials. Health outcomes will be improved if we can better understand individual differences, and ensure that clinical trial participants are culturally, genetically and racially diverse. Mayo will continue to focus its efforts in making sure that clinical trials most closely match the population at large.
Investment in research, future expansion
Our commitment to advancing innovation through research is a journey that has no end. Research is an engine that will continue to drive economic growth and promise for improved health outcomes. Mayo Clinic has doubled its investment in research over the past decade and is undergoing a $330 million expansion on the Florida campus to enhance research and innovation. Our strong advocacy in support of federal research funding will continue — and we are grateful to the state of Florida for its strong support and recognition of the value of research funding.
Expansion in research capacity, commercialization of technology and statewide collaborations will help transform health care delivery and bring economic growth. We all need to advocate for state and federal investments in research to discover the next generation of medical advancements. By working together we advance one goal—to bring hope, prosperity and better health to people today and for generations to come.
Dr. Gianrico Farrugia is a physician and CEO of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida. Dr. Tushar Patel is a physician scientist and Dean for Research at Mayo’s Florida campus.