It is the first and largest integrated not-for-profit medical group practice in the world, employing more than 3,800 physicians and scientists and 50,900 allied health staff. The practice specializes in treating difficult cases through tertiary care. It spends over $500 million a year on research. In 2014, Mayo Clinic marks 150 years of continuous service to patients. Dr. William Worrall Mayo settled his family in Rochester, Minn., in 1864 and opened a medical practice that evolved under his sons into Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic has been near the top of the U.S. News & World Report List of “Best Hospitals” for more than 20 years.
The practice is distinguished by integrated care. It has been on the list of America’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” published by Fortune magazine for eight years in a row.
Mayo Clinic research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Mayo Researchers Extend Lifespan in Mice by as Much as 35 Percent – February 4, 2016
- Researchers reduce chronic inflammation in human cells, A major cause of frailty – November 3, 2015
- Cancer tumours ‘reprogrammed’ back into healthy tissue – August 29, 2015
- Researchers Test Bioartificial Liver Device to Treat Acute Liver Failure – July 19, 2015
- Mayo Clinic and IBM Task Watson to Improve Clinical Trial Research and Patient Care – September 8, 2014
- Mayo Clinic Researchers Apply Regenerative Medicine to Battlefield Injuries
- Mayo Clinic Restores Disrupted Heartbeat with Regenerative Intervention
- Tablet Computers Acceptable for Reading EEG Results, Mayo Clinic Study Says
- Artificial pancreas for diabetics being developed by Mayo Clinic
- Noninvasive Colorectal Cancer Screening Tool Shows Unprecedented Detection Rates
- Researchers Developing an Artificial Leg with a Natural Gait
- Icy therapy spot treats cancer in the lung
- Personal monitor systems may change healthcare
- Easy, At-Home Exercise Program Can Help Cancer Patients
- Smartphone Technology Acceptable for Telemedicine
- New Scan A ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Epilepsy Research
- New Approach to Reverse Multiple Sclerosis in Mice Models
- Pancreatic Cancer May Be Detected With Simple Intestinal Probe
- Researchers Building Melanoma Vaccine to Combat Skin Cancer
- Head patch measures blood flow in stroke patients’ brains
- Smaller, Faster Trials Can Improve Cancer Patient Survival
- New ‘gene therapy’ vaccine approach gives hope in fight against cancer
- Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?
- Robotic Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer Shows Promise
- New colorectal cancer test could eliminate need for colonoscopy
Scientific investigations sometimes result in serendipitous discoveries which shift the investigations from one focus to another. In the case of researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, studies addressing obesity’s impact on cancer treatment resulted in an unexpected discovery that shifted the focus from cancer to obesity. The investigators observed that two common cancer-fighting drugs sparked significant weight loss in the obese mice, even though the mice continued their excessive consumption of a high-fat diet.
These results, which are part of a Mayo Clinic study, were reported in the Jan. 17 edition of Oncotarget.
“We were surprised to observe that when morbidly obese mice were treated with certain cancer-fighting drugs, the drugs not only targeted their cancers, but also tended to spontaneously resolve their obesity even with undiminished gorging on a high-fat diet,” says Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen, M.D., who co-led the study with postdoctoral fellow Cheryl Myers, Ph.D. and Mayo Clinic immunologist Sandra Gendler, Ph.D.
“Importantly, two chemotherapy agents, methotrexate and cyclophosphamide could be dosed to completely reverse obesity without detectable toxicity, even in mice without cancer,” explains Dr. Myers. “Interestingly, these drugs are already used to treat some noncancerous conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.”
More research needs to be done to see if the same outcome can be achieved in morbidly obese patients.
“The ease with which this weight loss was achieved in mice ? even with continued caloric binging is in stark contrast to the Herculean difficulties morbidly obese patients experience trying to preserve weight loss through dietary restraint,” adds Dr. Gendler.
The weight reduction observed in the obese mice was not attributable to trivial explanations, such as a decrease in dietary intake, increased energy expenditure or malabsorption. Instead, the investigators identified multiple effects of methotrexate or cyclophosphamide that worked together to expedite loss of excessive weight in mice. Much like chemotherapy’s well-known ability to decrease red and white blood cell precursors transiently, methotrexate or cyclophosphamide depleted fat cell precursors, leading to much decreased fat storage. “This meant that excessive dietary calories had to go somewhere else in the body instead, such as to the liver,” explains Dr. Cohen.
“Surprisingly, the liver maintained a robust level of metabolic activity during methotrexate or cyclophosphamide treatment, but was nearly shut down in regards to fat production and fat storage,” adds Dr. Myers.
“Based on our composite data,” explains Dr. Gendler, “it appears that methotrexate or cyclophosphamide can induce the livers of obese mice to burn off rather than accumulate excessive dietary fat. This results in desirable weight reduction instead of increased obesity, even with continued caloric binging.”
The study sets the stage for further research, exploring how these metabolic mechanisms could reduce the need for severe dietary constraints in morbidly obese individuals.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a biomaterial that has potential to protect patients at high risk for bleeding in surgery.
The Nov. 16 cover article, “An Injectable Shear-Thinning Biomaterial for Endovascular Embolization,” in the journal Science Translational Medicine reports on a universal shear-thinning biomaterial that may provide an alternative for treating vascular bleeding.
Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that treats abnormal blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body beginning with a pinhole puncture in the femoral artery. This procedure is accomplished by inserting metallic coils through a catheter into a vessel, which induces clotting to prevent further bleeding.
For patients unable to form a clot within the coiled artery or patients on high doses of blood thinners for their mechanical valves or cardiac assist devices, coil embolization could lead to complications, such as breakthrough bleeding, according to the study.
Despite its improvement over open surgical procedures, rebleeding after coil embolization is common and can be life-threatening, states the study.
The study’s lead co-author Rahmi Oklu, M.D., Ph.D., a vascular interventional radiologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, explains shear-thinning biomaterial offers many advantages over metallic coils, the current gold standard.
“Coils require your body’s ability to create a clot in order to create that occlusion. Our shear-thinning biomaterial, regardless of how anticoagulated the patient may be, will still create that occlusion,” says Dr. Oklu, who began researching the shear-thinning biomaterial three years ago while working at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with his colleague, Ali Khademhosseini, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Oklu says the shear-thinning biomaterial, which can be injected through an endovascular catheter, creates an impenetrable cast of the vessel, preventing further bleeding. This shear-thinning biomaterial is easier to deliver and see on a CT and on MRI, enabling physicians to better assess the outcomes of the procedure, says Dr. Oklu.
Research on the shear-thinning biomaterial continues at Mayo Clinic. The goal is to address unmet patient needs, including possible treatment of vascular malformations, varicose veins, aneurysms and traumatic vascular injuries, as well as a drug delivery device in cancer treatment.
Simon Fraser University researchers hope that a brain vital-sign test becomes as routine during a doctor’s check-up as taking a blood pressure or heart rate measurement.
SFU researchers, led by professor Ryan D’Arcy with partners from the Mayo Clinic, Sheba Medical Centre in Israel and local high-tech company HealthTech Connex Inc., are developing a more accessible means to monitor brain health.
In a recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the team introduces the world’s first advancement in physiology-based brain vital signs. Their discovery makes it possible to translate complex brainwaves into objective, practical and deployable brain vital signs, using longstanding brainwave technologies that have existed for nearly a century.
HealthTech Connex Inc. is currently developing the NeuroCatchTM platform to enable the highest quality recordings of the brain’s vital signs.
“The brain vital-sign framework described in Frontiers in Neuroscience represents the first step towards an easy way to monitor brain health,” says D’Arcy. “Potential applications are in concussion, brain injury, stroke, dementia and other devastating brain diseases and disorders.”
Vital sign measures are often used in clinics, hospitals and other care centres to assess the performance of various body systems.