Here are some news/notes from a day in MedCity, Minnesota:
Mayo Clinic said Tuesday that it will conduct a yearlong research study to determine if home monitoring of patients with chronic diseases will reduce hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. The Rochester, Minn.-based health provider is working with Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp. on the project.
President Obama’s health care plan is getting a somewhat predictable reception: Minnesota Democrats find much to like, while Republicans like Rep. John Kline charge it’s more of the same (and not in a good way), according to MinnPost. More than 20 senators, including Al Franken, have now signed on to a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the budget reconciliation process to hold a vote on a public option. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has indicated that she could vote for such a plan if it came forward.
The Minnesota House’s effort to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a bill to save a state health insurance program for the poor will likely take a week or two, according to the Politics in Minnesota blog. Sources in both parties say House DFL leaders are courting override votes on the bill to provide bridge funding for General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) that Pawlenty vetoed earlier this month.
Some influential Midwest health care groups are pushing for Congress to pass stalled health care reform legislation, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Among the signers of a letter featured in a full page ad on Roll Coll are Mayo CEO John Noseworthy and HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd.
EnteroMedics Inc. of Roseville, which is developing a device that uses electricity to treat obesity, appointed Dr. Scott A. Shikora as Consulting Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Shikora is currently Professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine and Chief of General Surgery, Bariatric Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Tufts Medical Center. He also served as principal investigator for EnteroMedics’ EMPOWER study. As Consulting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shikora will advise EnteroMedics on the further clinical development of the company’s Maestro System.
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, has awarded $5 million to six new investigative teams.
The teams include:
A Novel Cerebral Venous System Mapping and Ablation Technology to Treat Central Nervous System Disorders Including Epilepsy and Stroke — $951,295 Samuel Asirvatham, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Bin He, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
The goal is to develop a system to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions via the veins similar to how heart patients are treated. Current nonsurgical treatments for epilepsy are only partly successful and cost billions annually. This approach would allow physicians to eliminate the source of the condition without invasive surgery.
Validation of Cyclophilin B as a Therapeutic Target in Brain Tumors — $1,220,484 Richard Bram, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; John Ohlfest, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Researchers hope to determine if a specific gene fosters the most deadly forms of brain cancer and find ways to suppress it.
Low-cost and high-performance nano-sensors: synthetic ion sensors for biological and medical applications — $637,500 Min-Hwang (Perry) Chang, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Tianhong Cui, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. These researchers seek to engineer nano-sensors to monitor diabetic and heart patient conditions. Long-range development could lead to simplified remote or home monitoring of patients.
Applying Network Theory to Optimize Cancer Virotherapy — $451,610 David Dingli, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic; Claudia Neuhauser, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Rochester The goal is to find how spaces and structure in tumors affect the success of cancer treatments with viruses. Understanding of natural systems may help develop a “road map” for viral vectors to follow.
Development of a Novel Biocomposite Artificial Cornea — $577,929 Sanjay Patel, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Allison Hubel, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. Corneas for transplant have never met demand and battlefield injuries have increased the need. Researchers want to develop an artificial cornea and improve success for implantation.
Early predictors of autoimmunity and opportunities for intervention — $1,126,911 Ann Reed, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Emily Baechler Gillespie, Ph.D., University of Minnesota.Researchers will study individuals with autoimmune factors to find biomarkers that could lead to better treatments for lupus.