How to Impact Patient Care through Research

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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:

Cardiovascular Disease

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, Dr. Lucy Liaw is addressing the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, so that it can be prevented or treated more effectively. This project includes collaborations between basic scientists and vascular surgeons to understand differences in tissues in patients with varying degrees of cardiovascular disease. Click here to learn more about Dr. Liaw's research.

Cancer

During the past decade MMCRI has placed additional emphasis on cancer research at the basic level, as well as the clinical and population health level. This commitment is driven by the concerns of its leadership and dedicated faculty to the considerable and unfortunate impact of cancer on the citizens of the states of Maine ­— Maine being among those states with the highest rates of cancer occurrence and cancer mortality in the country. To further meet this challenge, MMCRI has enhanced its research efforts in metabolic diseases, including obesity, which is also known to be a risk factor for cancer. Dr. Peter Brooks is a cancer researcher focusing on developing potential therapeutics that help the body activate its natural immune cells to detect and destroy tumor cells. This laboratory research is critical in the development of new, targeted therapies, with the potential to improve the health outcomes of patients with ovarian cancer and those with a malignant melanoma (skin cancer), for which survival rate is still low, despite treatment. Learn more about Dr. Brooks' research here.

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, Dr. Cliff Rosen is discovering how osteoporosis actually starts. Recently, Dr. Rosen, in collaboration with scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and has discovered that irisin, a hormone released by muscles during exercise, directly acts on key regulatory cells that control the breakdown and formation of bone, raising the prospect of new treatments for bone-thinning disorders like osteoporosis. Learn more about Dr. Rosen’s research here.

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.

Clinical Trials

The Clinical Trials Office is dedicated to providing high quality clinical trials in accordance with Maine Medical Center’s mission to care for our community, educate tomorrow’s caregivers and researching new ways to provide care. The Clinical Trials Office supports the administrative, regulatory, and institutional requirements to establish and conduct clinical research at Maine Medical Center and across MaineHealth by providing research coordination and project management.

Clinical trials have the potential to advance studies that could lead to FDA-approved medications, treatments and cures. The Clinical Trials Office 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.

For a complete listing of Clinical Trials across MaineHealth visit: www.mmcri.org/cto/forpatients


Psychiatric Research

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 Hilary Andrew, 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.

The Vector-borne Disease Lab is led by Dr. Robert Smith. Dr. Smith and his lab team are dedicated to increasing awareness and prevention of Lyme disease and other vector-borne diseases.

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.

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