How to Impact Patient Care through Research
Your donation to research at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) is an investment in healthcare innovations and new treatments that offer hope.
MMCRI strives to provide a growing, visionary, and nurturing environment for scientists with core strengths in molecular biology and genetics, outcomes and health services research, and clinical research. Along with being a center for biomedical research, the institute is also a catalyst for economic and academic growth in the region. Our curiosity and determination are opening new doors in the treatment and detection of diseases.
Research enhances the quality of care we deliver to our patients. In our laboratories and at the bedside, research is an essential part of Maine Medical Center’s mission. We need the help of generous individuals like you who understand the value of research at this caliber. By raising private gifts to supplement federal/state grants and other revenue, our scientists and physicians can continue to work together to solve our most challenging medical issues.
MMCRI is already one of the most innovative research organizations in the nation. With your help, we can achieve even more. When you donate to MMCRI, you bring more of the latest scientific discoveries to patients’ bedsides and improve the quality of care they receive. You support research projects which help us better understand disease processes, and develop better diagnostics and treatments.
Areas of opportunity for support of MMCRI’s laboratory based or clinical research projects include:
Maine Medical Center’s early research into cardiovascular disease paved the way for one of the first open-heart surgeries in the nation to take place in 1950. Today, we continue to conduct cardiovascular research for continued improvement to the treatment and prevention of the disease. Of note, Ilka Pinz, PhD, is learning through her research that when mouse subjects eat palmitate (a fat commonly found in fast food) for more than twelve weeks they experience a measurably weaker heartbeat and in some cases even develop diabetes. Over 35% of all Mainers are clinically obese. Pinz’s compelling research will not only translate to countless lives saved through education and awareness, it will reduce the tremendous burden of healthcare costs throughout Maine and beyond.
This year, 226,870 women nationally are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. What if finding out a person’s risk of developing breast cancer was as easy as getting a blood test? Lucy Liaw, PhD, is conducting this groundbreaking research at MMCRI, offering hope for a day when detecting cancer is as easy as having your cholesterol checked. Then, what if instead of attacking the tumor, we attacked the cells that feed the tumor? The Brooks lab is looking at blocking the receptors on the tumor, thus starving the tumor to death. Peter Brooks, PhD, puts it like this: “We could do something to the car (the tumor). Or we could do something to the road the car drives on (the tumor’s surrounding environment).” And these are just two examples of the groundbreaking cancer research taking place at MMCRI today!
Bone and Mineral Disease
Maine is the oldest state in the U.S., per capita. Degenerative diseases like osteoporosis are therefore a growing concern among Maine’s aging population. Renowned physician-scientist, Cliff Rosen, MD, is discovering how osteoporosis actually starts. Rosen’s research may lead to the creation of medications and treatment plans that could save millions of people from this debilitating and painful condition.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
MMCRI's Center for Molecular Medicine encompasses all basic science research conducted around vascular, stem cell, cancer, bone and kidney disease. Molecular biology is the first stage of the biomedical research continuum (the "bench" in "bench-to-bedside") where MMCRI's renowned basic scientists take their first steps in identifying causes of disease, methods of treatment and, ultimately, cures.
MMCRI's Clinical Trials Unit manages nearly 400 studies with approximately 4,500 patients enrolled. This means that thousands of individuals in Maine who might previously have had to travel to Boston or further to take part in potentially life-saving experimental trials need only travel as far as MMCRI to participate.
Clinical trials have the potential to advance studies that could lead to FDA-approved medications, treatments and cures. The Clinical Trials Unit
at MMCRI is specifically designed with the safety of its participants at the core of its compliance structure
, meeting and/or exceeding the highest national standards for human research protections.
Psychiatric research is among the most complex, evolving and emotionally loaded fields of study at MMCRI and around the world. Our scientists and clinicians are working tirelessly to find answers to the questions our community members have about why and how their loved one has a particular psychiatric disorder and what can be done to help them lead productive, healthy lives.
MMC's physicians and researchers are in constant collaboration, working to identify and treat psychiatric disorders at their earliest onset (often in early childhood, adolescence and early adulthood) as in our PIER program, led by William MacFarlane, MD. And our own Matthew Siegel, MD is leading the charge to advance pharmacological treatment options for children with autism, as well as uniting autism's leading specialists and funders from around the nation to increase education, clinical trials and treatment options for families affected by autism.
Vector Borne Diseases
The only one of its kind in the state of Maine, the Vector-borne Disease Lab is dedicated to the control of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research of deer (and other) ticks, the humans and animals they infect and the Maine geographies where they thrive. Lyme disease should be on the mind of everyone who lives in or visits Maine, a state rife with deer (the tick's primary host) as it is a serious public health concern with dangerous long-term effects on the human nervous system.
Dr. Pete Rand, who founded and leads the lab, has dedicated his life and career to ensuring not only the increased awareness and prevention of Lyme disease, but also ensuring that its devastating effects are better understood by the public and, someday, stopped.
General Research Operations
Unrestricted operating support has the greatest impact on research at MMCRI. Not only does your generosity give us the flexibility to direct spending as needed, it also encourages innovation and risk-taking. Such risk-taking has paved the way for discoveries such as an antibody that has the potential to detect very small metastatic legions far earlier than current methods. This method, once proven, could be revolutionary for a disease like ovarian cancer that is commonly diagnosed too late to deliver effective treatment.
If you would like to learn more about these and other research taking place at MMCRI, we invite you to contact Kendra Allen for more information.