Tag Archives: Mayo Clinic in Arizona

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Plans advance for Arizona Biomedical Corridor

Plans to establish a biomedical and advanced technology research and development campus in northeast Phoenix advanced this week as KUD International, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest development, design and construction companies, announced its plans and submitted an application to acquire 225 acres for the project from the Arizona State Land Department.

The proposed campus is the cornerstone of the Arizona Biomedical Corridor, a collaboration between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic announced in 2012 to expand the state’s bioscience industry by clustering compatible organizations in the corridor, located in northeast Phoenix at 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, just south of the Loop 101 freeway. The development lies adjacent to the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic.

Acquiring the land could take up to a year, KUD officials anticipate. In the meantime, KUD is moving forward on plans for the first building at the more than $1 billion research park, which upon completion could generate thousands of jobs in the region.

Wyatt Decker, Vice President, Mayo Clinic and CEO Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said the project aligns well with Mayo Clinic’s plans in Phoenix and will play an integral part in its vision to continue to provide innovative, patient-centered medical care, supported by robust programs in research and education.

“The Arizona Biomedical Corridor will further strengthen the region’s growth as a national and international destination for healthcare-related research, education and private sector interests,” Decker said. “Our work with the City of Phoenix and ASU led to our relationship with KUD, a firm we believe will successfully complement and support our vision.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow agreed, saying, “The development of the area adjacent to the Mayo Clinic Hospital, with its focus on biomedical and advanced technology research and manufacturing, is well aligned with ASU’s partnership with Mayo Clinic to create new health education and research facilities. We are encouraged that KUD shares our collective vision.”

KUD International LLC specializes in developing public-private projects around the world. It has extensive experience with large-scale developments that are founded on research and education and supported with a complementary mix of uses. The company is constructing a research park in Israel in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University that is similar to the one proposed in northeast Phoenix.

KUD International President and CEO Marvin Suomi said the collaboration with Mayo Clinic presented KUD with a sound basis to make a significant investment in establishing a major biomedical research and healthcare complex in north Phoenix. “We consider this a mission-driven project in alliance with Mayo Clinic, and procuring the land is the first step in realizing its vision set long ago,” Suomi said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer added, “I’m pleased the Arizona Land Department has accepted and advanced an application for this proposal, paving the way for the development of a premier medical and research facility in north Phoenix. Not only will this project create thousands of high-quality jobs, it will strengthen and secure our position as a global leader in providing world-class medical care. With the involvement of partners like the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, I know this project will be a point of pride for the entire state.”

Others involved with the project identify KUD’s relationship with Mayo Clinic, its expertise and its initiative in acquiring the state land as important factors that will help the Arizona Biomedical Corridor become a reality.

“I think this is another example of Arizona’s economic recovery and an indication of the growing strength of the Arizona real estate market,” said Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman. “This is a big win for State Trust Land beneficiaries and the result of careful negotiations between the Arizona State Land Department and the other collaborators.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “In January 2012, I announced a vision to grow more high-wage jobs in Phoenix by creating a second bioscience campus on a 1,000-acre corridor in Desert Ridge in Northeast Phoenix. Because we already have great partners like Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, KUD’s investment plans are the key private interest we need to unlock the potential at this location for education and research and create a greater magnet to attract high-wage jobs to Phoenix.”

District 2 Councilman Jim Waring adds, “In February 2013, the City Council adopted a formal strategy to focus on high-wage, bioscience and technology uses within this corridor. I am very pleased to see that the private sector agrees and validates the City’s concept. The City of Phoenix will be a great partner in the project, focused on helping KUD start their development projects as quickly as possible.  Our business community tells us time and again that five-day site plan reviews and one-day construction permitting provides great value and we look forward to delivering this same great service to KUD.”

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A Saliva Gland Test for Parkinson’s Disease?

Described as a “big step forward” for research and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, new research from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that testing a portion of a person’s saliva gland may be a way to diagnose the disease.

The study was released Friday and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16–23.

“There is currently no diagnostic test for Parkinson’s disease,” says study author Charles Adler, MD, PhD., a neurologist with Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “We have previously shown in autopsies of Parkinson’s patients that the abnormal proteins associated with Parkinson’s are consistently found in the submandibular saliva glands, found under the lower jaw. This is the first study demonstrating the value of testing a portion of the saliva gland to diagnose a living person with Parkinson’s disease. Making a diagnosis in living patients is a big step forward in our effort to understand and better treat patients.”

The study involved 15 people with an average age of 68 who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of 12 years, responded to Parkinson’s medication and did not have known saliva gland disorders.

Biopsies were taken of two different saliva glands: the submandibular gland and the minor saliva glands in the lower lip. The surgical team was led by Michael Hinni, MD, and David Lott, MD, at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and the biopsied tissues were tested for evidence of the abnormal Parkinson’s protein by study co-author Thomas Beach, MD, with Banner Sun Health Research Institute.

“This procedure will provide a much more accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease than what is now available,” Dr. Beach says. “One of the greatest potential impacts of this finding is on clinical trials, as at the present time some patients entered into Parkinson’s clinical trials do not necessarily have Parkinson’s disease and this is a big impediment to testing new therapies.”

The abnormal Parkinson’s protein was detected in nine of the 11 patients who had enough tissue to study. While still being analyzed, the rate of positive findings in the biopsies of the lower lip glands appears much lower than for the lower jaw gland.

“This study provides the first direct evidence for the use of submandibular gland biopsies as a diagnostic test for living patients with Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr. Adler. “This finding may be of great use when needing definitive proof of Parkinson’s disease, especially when considering performing invasive procedures such as deep brain stimulation surgery or gene therapy.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. No tests exist to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Now diagnosis is made based on medical history, a review of signs and symptoms, a neurological and physical examination, and by ruling out other conditions. Yet up to 30 percent of patients may be misdiagnosed early in the disease.

Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve symptoms.This study was funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.