Mayo Clinic Scottsdale is positioning itself to become a leader in cancer research in the southwestern United States.
It is one of four leading cancer research institutions fo rming the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, which will share information and tissue samples in an effort to develop treatments and a cure for myeloma, a malignant tumor of the bone marrow consisting generally of abnormal plasma cells.
Other member institutions are Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School in Boston, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., and University Health Network at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
"Over the last several years, we have engaged in partnering to perform clinical trials with these institutions," said Dr. Raphael Fonseca, lead myeloma investigator at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.
As they have collaborated on research, the institutions invested time and money for necessary legal work and information technolog y development to make the collaboration happen. "Every time, we had some delay in getting those clinical trials activated," Fonseca said.
The consortium will allow scientists to share research and samples more efficiently from a common platform, with a "seamless transfer and flow of information," Fonseca said.
The Scottsdale clinic is one of 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, premier cancer centers in the country known for outstanding research and patient care, said Dr. Laurence Miller, director of research and the cancer center at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.
All three Mayo sites have the designation, and Mayo is the first institute-designated site with multiple geographic locations.
"We are very proud of that; we think that having sites in Rochester (Minn.), Scottsdale and Jacksonville (Fla.) sets us apart from other cancer centers in the country," Miller said.
Miller came to Mayo Clinic Scottsdale three years ago to help build the clinic’s presence in the Southwest. The clinic has been actively recruiting top scientists for cancer research, including Fonseca’s appointment in January to pioneer myeloma research, and Dr. Leif Bergsagel of Cornell University, who joined the Mayo staff last week.
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale researchers are also studying pancreatic cancer, neurooncology and brain cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and melanoma, Miller said.
"Our highest priority for research on this campus right now is cancer research," Miller said, adding that research in neurosciences (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease), cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease is being conducted.
About a third of Mayo Clinic Scottsdale’s physicians are actively engaged in research, Miller said.