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August 17: Hopes Soar For Research Center

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#1 akela


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Inviato 20 agosto 2010 - 08:29:19

August 17, 2010: Hopes Soar for Research Center

Hopes soar for research center

With the grand opening Monday of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno, the world has gained another powerful weapon in the fight against diseases that cripple and kill millions of people every year, one of the new center's key researchers said.

"There are about 25,000 different diseases that affect humankind, and we can only treat 600 of them effectively," said Dr. Sanford Barsky, chairman of the Pathology Department at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
"So the status of our medical knowledge is extremely rudimentary even in the 21st century, and the only way to tackle these diseases that have no cure or effective treatment is through research," Barsky said
"These diseases affect everyone: Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the young and old, illegal aliens and third-generation Americans. Who would not support research, knowing what the goal is?" Barsky said.
"And a facility like this doesn't only benefit the University of Nevada, Reno, the state of Nevada and other academic institutions in the state because the thing about research is once there is a discovery, it benefits everyone."
The $77 million Center for Molecular Medicine will house part of the University of Nevada Medical School, UNR's Center for Healthy Aging and the headquarters of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease and its research clinic.
Barsky, who spent 20 years at the University of California, Los Angeles and came to UNR about a year ago from Ohio State University in Columbus, said the new center is the best state-of-the-art facility he has seen.
"Not only does it have the technical infrastructure in terms of cold rooms and digitalized support required to do first-rate research, but it's built on the concept of laboratories without walls," said Barsky, who also is director of cancer biology at the Whittemore Peterson Institute. "That allows a number of investigators studying different diseases to be housed in the same work area, and it maximizes interaction and collaboration. And when it comes to research, everyone is a winner."

UNR President Milton Glick said the new center puts Nevada on a "level playing field" in the fierce competition for millions of dollars in federal research grants.

"It is a cliche to say a building is transformational, but in fact, this building is transformational. It is a game-changer," Glick said.
"This is one of those extraordinary days in the life of the university that you will look back on ... and say, 'OMG, they really did it, and look at what it has made happen,'" he said.
Glick said the center will "empower our scientists" and allow them "to not only expedite their research so that three months work can be done in two weeks, but also allow us to undertake research that, in the past, we could not even have attempted."
Public-private partnership
A portion of the research grant money awarded to UNR and medical school faculty generated $60 million of the center's total $77 million cost of the 116,500-square-foot building, with the Harvey and Annette Whittemore family providing the balance, Glick said.
It is an example of what tremendous strides can be made through a public-private partnership, he said.
"So that $12 million of state money generated a $77 million dollar building, which will compete with any medical research building in the nation today," he said. "It is an extraordinary accomplishment. We should all embrace it, but you ain't seen anything yet because the real test will be the kinds of results that come out of it."
Annette Whittemore, founder and president of the Whittemore Peterson Institute, said this marks the first time a comprehensive research institute has been developed to tackle neuro-immune diseases, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
"Those diseases have for so long puzzled everyone and kept the patients shrouded in mystery. They really have not had the diagnostics and they haven't had the treatment, until now," said Whittemore, whose daughter has suffered for decades from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Last year, Whittemore Peterson Institute scientists discovered XMRV, which is only the third infectious human retrovirus ever found, in a majority of patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

And we truly believe that we already are moving in the direction of providing those very important answers to the rest of the world, said Whittemore, adding that people all over the world have sent their congratulations.

Emotional ceremony
Monday's grand opening was attended by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, a number of state legislators and the majority of Nevada's congressional delegation: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; and U.S. Reps. Dean Heller, R-Carson City; and Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas.
Glick said he wanted to thank the Nevada Legislature for its financial support for the new center, but he credited state Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, and Assemblyman Morse Arberry, D-Las Vegas, "for championing it."
Toward the end of the ceremony, the Whittemores' daughter, Andrea Whittemore-Goad, read a letter she had written to her parents, thanking them for their efforts to help not only her, but the estimated 17 million other people throughout the world who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
"We have all spent many sleepless nights worrying about the patients and thinking about the heart and purpose of our efforts. In the process, we have loved and lost," Whittemore-Goad said, her voice breaking with emotion. "But the losses have made us stronger.
"Today, as patients and friends look upon this building, I hope they look far beyond the walls of this physical structure and begin to realize the blood, sweat and tears, the dedication that has no end, the perseverance that knows no bounds and the work that does not know the definition of a weekend or holiday," she said.
Finally, Whittemore-Goad thanked her parents, the researchers and staff of the Whittemore Peterson Institute and all her friends and family before congratulating them "on this incredible accomplishment. I am proud to say I am one of the future patients of WPI."

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