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Press Releases

11/15/2000 - MMRF Announces Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Research. At the MMRF/HCMC fundraiser, "A Global Affair," Richard Kyle, M.D., Chairman of the HCMC Department of Orthopedic Surgery, announced the Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Surgery at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.

10/23/2000 - Director of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to visit MMRF. Stephen Straus, M.D., Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH, visits Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) on October 31, 2000. Dr. Straus delivered a lecture, "The Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine," in the HCMC's Pillsbury Auditorium on Tuesday, October 31, from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

8/18/2000 - MMRF OPENS FIRST DEDICATED CAM LAB IN THE MIDWEST. Minneapolis, MN. The Center for Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research (CAAMR) at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has opened the first dedicated complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) lab in the Midwest. The lab will use a state-of-the-art gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS), and High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) to identify, authenticate, and quantify herbal substances at the center.

5/15/2000 - MMRF LOOKING FOR SITES FOR DEFIBRILLATOR STUDY.
Minneapolis, MN. Can community volunteers be as effectively trained as emergency medical personnel in the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), devices that shock a stopped heart back into beating? To answer this question, MMRF researchers are preparing to participate in a nation-wide study to examine expanded use of life-saving defibrillators in public facilities, where more than 50,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. The study is funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with the American Heart Association.

3/28/2000 - MMRF Researchers Conduct First U.S. Study Of Chinese Herbal Treatment For Hepatitis C. Minneapolis, MN. Researchers at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) are conducting a National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored study to examine whether a combination of traditional Chinese herbal medicines (3AR) improves symptoms in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). The project is part of a $5 million grant to MMRF’s Center for Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research (CAAMR) from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to study the efficacy of unconventional therapies for substance abuse and related problems.

12/19/99 - Nicotine Vaccine Shows Promise For Combating Tobacco Addiction. Minneapolis, MN. A nicotine vaccine may be an effective method for preventing and treating tobacco addiction, according to a new study conducted at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF). The study is funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

10/4/99 - Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $12.6 Million From National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Study Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes Mellitus. Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has been awarded a nine-year contract totaling $12.6 million to manage a Clinical Center Network for a new NIH-funded clinical trial "Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes Mellitus."

8/23/99 - New Gene Therapy May Allow Patients To "Grow" Their Own Bypass Around Blocked Leg Arteries. Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has initiated Phase I clinical trials to test a new gene therapy in humans that may have the potential to help the body grow new blood vessels, creating a bypass around blocked leg arteries.

8/19/99 - Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $ 1 Million United States Renal Data Systems (USRDS) Special Studies Center Contract. Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF), has been awarded a contract for slightly over $1 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as the Cardiovascular Disease Special Studies Center for the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), the most comprehensive database in the world for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), commonly known as chronic kidney failure.

8/12/99 - Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $ 5.7 Million United States Renal Data Systems (USRDS) Contract. Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF), has been awarded a five-year, $5.7 million contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MMRF will serve as the Coordinating Center for the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), the most comprehensive database in the world for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), commonly known as chronic kidney failure.

7/15/99 - Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Elects Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, M.D., M.P.H., To Board. Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has appointed Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, M.D., M.P.H., to its Board of Directors.

6/22/1999 - MMRF Researchers Isolate Strain of E. Coli Bacteria That May Cause Miscarriages. Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Anil Kaul, director of Women's Health Research at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) says the urine of pregnant women should be screened for strains of E. coli bacteria that may cause miscarriages or premature birth.


Media Alert
November 15, 2000
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189
jbarnes@mmrf.org

MMRF ANNOUNCES RAMON B. GUSTILO CHAIR IN ORTHOPEDIC RESEARCH

At the MMRF/HCMC fundraiser, "A Global Affair," Richard Kyle, M.D., Chairman of the HCMC Department of Orthopedic Surgery, announced the Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Surgery at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Kyle explained how the Chair will continue Dr. Gustilo's pioneering tradition of research and patient care that serves current and future patients. "Dr. Gustilo has been a leader, innovator and contributor on our campus for over 30 years," said Dr. Kyle. "This Chair is a is a fitting tribute to his accomplishments and an investment in continued research excellence on our campus."

Dr. Gustilo grew up in the Philippines where he learned the value of hard work watching his father manage a sugar cane plantation. He helped his family by tending water buffalo that were used on the plantation, and by selling fish.

Dr. Gustilo knew that education would be the key to his future and he graduated first in his high school class of 850. After receiving his medical degree from the University of the Philippines and completing his internship, Dr. Gustilo moved to the United States in 1957. By 1964, he had completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Minnesota and graduated with a Masters of Science Degree in Orthopedic Surgery. In 1967, he joined the staff of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and became the first Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

By the mid 1970s, Dr. Gustilo had established an orthopedic fellowship program with leading international universities. He has since trained over 100 fellows, and more than 1,000 residents, engineers, and other medical professionals.

"Many physicians, including myself, have followed in Ramon's footsteps," said Dr. Kyle. "Many are leaders in research, dedicated clinicians and department heads throughout the world."

In 1979, Dr. Gustilo established the biomechanics lab to help with orthopedic research. It has since grown into an internationally recognized center for study of artificial joint replacement and fracture fixation.

Dr. Gustilo is also an inventor. He and Dr. Kyle invented the hip prosthesis known as the Biological Ingrowth Anatomic System (BIAS). In addition, Dr. Gustilo worked with Mayo physician James A. Rand to invent the Genesis knee system. Both are still in use today.

The Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Research will provide on-going support for the Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory, enhancing the center's ability to attract and retain exceptional talent.

"One of the strategic goals of the MMRF has been to increase research endowments so we can ensure future excellence in research and patient care," said MMRF President Michael West, M.D., Ph.D. "Chairs are a commitment to the bright future of the MMRF. It is my hope that the Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Research is the first of many."

For more information on how to donate to the Ramon B. Gustilo Chair in Orthopedic Research, please call John Larson at 612-347-5165.

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Media Alert
October 23, 2000
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189, jbarnes@mmrf.org

Director of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to visit MMRF.

Stephen Straus, M.D., Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH, visits Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) on October 31, 2000. Dr. Straus delivered a lecture, "The Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine," in the HCMC's Pillsbury Auditorium on Tuesday, October 31, from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Straus hopes to help his audience:

  • Appreciate the spectrum of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices and attitudes about them.
  • Learn the difficulties inherent in conducting scientific studies of CAM practices.
  • Identify approaches being used by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to promote rigorous scientific study of these controversial practices.

Dr. Straus is internationally recognized as an expert in clinical research and clinical trials related to many conditions for which there are alternative or complementary remedies, including chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, AIDS/HIV, chronic hepatitis B virus and chronic post-herpetic pain.

The MMRF and HCMC have been on the cutting-edge of CAM research and treatment since the early 80's. Accomplishments include:

  • The first controlled clinical trial in the world of acupuncture for the treatment of alcoholism.
  • The first acupuncturist in the U.S. to be hired at an academic hospital to develop research and clinical initiatives.
  • One of the first hospital-based CAM clinics in the United States.
  • The first NIH funded CAM research center - Center for Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research (CAAMR).
  • First post-doctoral fellowship in CAM.
  • The first CAM clinic in the United States to be Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).

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Media Alert
August 18, 2000
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189, jbarnes@mmrf.org

MMRF OPENS FIRST DEDICATED CAM LAB IN THE MIDWEST

Minneapolis, MN. The Center for Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research (CAAMR) at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has opened the first dedicated complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) lab in the Midwest. The lab will use a state-of-the-art gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS), and High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) to identify, authenticate, and quantify herbal substances at the center.

Herbs are made up of many chemicals. Herbal compounds are different than pharmaceuticals in that their chemical properties may vary from batch to batch. If a patient is prescribed 20 mg. of Prozac, for example, each batch of the drug contains the same components, in the same concentration. An herbal compound such as St. John's Wart may vary significantly in type and concentration of active ingredients from batch to batch.

"This laboratory will allow us to be sure that studies using herbal compounds are comparing apples to apples," said Dan Keyler, Pharm.D. Director of the CAM Lab. "Variances in the batches used in studies can create different results. We want to be sure that each patient who receives the compound, receives the same thing.

John Baker, Ph.D., an analytical chemist, has been hired to be the CAM Lab's senior chemist. Dr. Baker will isolate, purify, and develop analytical methods for characterizing herbally derived compounds. Dr. Keyler plans to collaborate with research facilities throughout the country, offering analysis of compounds for other CAM studies. He also hopes to expand the lab's analytical capabilities in the near future by acquiring a Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (LCMS), which will allow scientists to analyze virtually any compound.

The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) is the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center (MMRF), an acute care research and teaching hospital. The mission of the MMRF is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the third largest non-profit medical research organization in Minnesota and it ranks in the top 11% of all institutions receiving research funding from the NIH

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Media Alert
May 15, 2000
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189
jbarnes@mmrf.org

MMRF LOOKING FOR SITES FOR DEFIBRILLATOR STUDY

Minneapolis, MN. Can community volunteers be as effectively trained as emergency medical personnel in the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), devices that shock a stopped heart back into beating? To answer this question, MMRF researchers are preparing to participate in a nation-wide study to examine expanded use of life-saving defibrillators in public facilities, where more than 50,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. The study is funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with the American Heart Association.

Sudden cardiac arrest is most often attributed to a cardiac rhythm disturbance known as ventricular fibrillation. Rapid treatment, including early defibrillation, improves chances of survival for patients suffering from this condition. Defibrillation involves delivering an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart. This enables the heart to start beating again, thereby producing a pulse. Each minute that passes from the time of a patient's collapse to the delivery of a shock, dramatically decreases the patient's chances of survival. Defibrillation is most successful if used within three minutes of cardiac arrest and it usually fails after 10 minutes. Despite the fact that most medical response teams arrive on the scene within six minutes, in most cities the overall survival rate from cardiac arrest averages less than five percent.

"The only way to get to patients quicker is to have the defibrillators close to where we think the cases may happen," said Jennifer Peterson, R.N., principal investigator for the study.

Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) is considered a promising means of improving emergency treatment for victims of sudden cardiac arrest who ollapse in public places such as senior centers, residential apartments, gated communities and shopping centers. In the study, AEDs will be located in units so that it will take no more than 3 minutes to retrieve it and have it at the patient's side.

Volunteers in participating communities will be trained to recognize cardiac arrest, to access the 911 system, and to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Half of the community units will have AEDs placed in conspicuous locations and the volunteers in those locations will be trained to use the devices.

The study is scheduled to begin in September and the MMRF is looking for forty public sites. If you would like more information on participating in this study, contact Rachel Knudson-Ballard, R.N., at 612-347-3638.

The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) is the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center (MMRF), an acute care research and teaching hospital. The mission of the MMRF is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the third largest non-profit medical research organization in Minnesota and it ranks in the top 11% of all institutions receiving research funding from the NIH

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Media Alert
March 28, 2000
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

MMRF RESEARCHERS CONDUCT FIRST U.S. STUDYOF CHINESE HERBAL TREATMENT FOR HEPATITIS C

Minneapolis, MN. Researchers at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) are conducting a National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored study to examine whether a combination of traditional Chinese herbal medicines (3AR) improves symptoms in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). The project is part of a $5 million grant to MMRF’s Center for Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research (CAAMR) from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to study the efficacy of unconventional therapies for substance abuse and related problems.

The study is a short-term pilot project that expects to enroll 60 subjects. It is placebo-controlled, randomized, and blinded.

The two lead investigators for the study are a unique combination, one an M.D. and the other a Chinese herbalist. Jeffrey H. Albrecht, M.D., is the chief of the division of gastroenterology at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). His research interest lies in liver disease and he is exploring factors that control liver regeneration. Ulrich (Uli) Beyendorff, L.Ac., Dipl.C.H. is a licensed acupuncturist and a diplomate of Chinese herbology who works at Hennepin Faculty Associates’(HFA) Alternative Medicine Clinic. Beyendorff developed the herbal compound, 3AR, a formulation of 10 herbs.

"I told Uli to give me his best single regimen and we would study it," said Dr. Albrecht. "In some ways, I’m preventing him from doing what he’s trained to do because Chinese tradition is to alter medication on the fly, based on the patient’s current symptoms. In this study, everyone with HCV who gets the drug, will get the same compound."

Hepatitis C has infected an estimated 3.9 million Americans and it has emerged as a major public health issue in the United States. Current treatment (based on interferons) leads to long-term remission in only a minority of patients.

People who are interested in participating in the study should call 612-347-7784.

The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) is the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an acute care research and teaching hospital. The mission of the MMRF is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the third largest non-profit medical research organization in Minnesota and it ranks in the top 11% of all institutions receiving research funding from the NIH

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Media Alert
December 19, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

NICOTINE VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE FOR COMBATING TOBACCO ADDICTION

Minneapolis, MN. A nicotine vaccine may be an effective method for preventing and treating tobacco addiction, according to a new study conducted at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF). The study is funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

MMRF researchers have developed a nicotine vaccine consisting of a nicotine derivative attached to a large protein, according to findings published in the December 17 issue of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.

Nicotine is the main addictive component of tobacco. The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent nicotine from reaching the brain so as to reduce its effects and help keep people from becoming addicted.

"A nicotine vaccine may be useful for preventing and treating tobacco addiction because vaccinated persons would not be able get a ‘kick’ from the nicotine in tobacco smoke or chewing tobacco," says NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "Since they would find tobacco less rewarding, they would be less likely to continue using it."

When injected in laboratory animals, the vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce proteins called antibodies that bind tightly to nicotine. The antibody-bound nicotine is too large to enter the brain, thereby preventing nicotine from producing its effects. The antibody-bound nicotine is eventually broken down to other harmless molecules.

The scientists injected a single dose of nicotine into vaccinated rats and found that the amount of nicotine reaching the brain was reduced by 64%. They also administered various doses of antibodies to the rats and studied how the antibodies affected nicotine’s tendency to raise blood pressure and stimulate movement. The researchers found that administering doses of nicotine antibodies similar to those that are ordinarily produced by the vaccine greatly reduced the rise in blood pressure produced by a nicotine injection. The antibodies also completely prevented the increased movements ordinarily seen when rats are injected with nicotine.

The lead author of the article, Dr. Paul Pentel, says that a nicotine vaccine should be less likely to produce side effects than medications that act in the brain to counter nicotine’s effects because the vaccine itself never enters the brain. "Nicotine is a particularly good candidate for a vaccine because it is a very potent drug. The doses of nicotine that people need to feel its effects are relatively small, so that the antibodies produced by vaccination can bind a large fraction of each nicotine dose," says Dr. Pentel.

"We are encouraged by the results obtained so far in these studies," says Dr. Pentel. The next steps will be to conduct additional safety studies, followed by clinical trials with the vaccine in human volunteers. These clinical trials are currently scheduled to be coordinated by Nabi Pharmaceuticals beginning in early 2002.

The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) is the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an acute care research and teaching hospital. The mission of the MMRF is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the third largest non-profit medical research organization in Minnesota and it ranks in the top 11% of all institutions receiving research funding from the NIH.

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Media Alert
October 4, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $12.6 Million From National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Study Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes Mellitus.

Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has been awarded a nine-year contract totaling $12.6 million to manage a Clinical Center Network for a new NIH-funded clinical trial "Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes Mellitus." The trial will be conducted locally by the Minnesota Diabetes Research Consortium.

 Researchers will study 10,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes who do not yet require insulin therapy, but are considered to have especially high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) based on their age, evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis, or clinical CVD. The goal of the study is to examine the effects of a variety of drug treatments on the morbidity and mortality of the patients with Type 2 diabetes. Quality of life and health care costs related to the therapies will also be assessed.

  "The recent awards to the Department of Medicine investigators highlight an increasingly important Public Health issue in Minnesota and nationally," said William Keane, M.D., Chief of Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and President-elect of the National Kidney Foundation. Diabetes in adults is one of the major diseases that is increasing in the U.S. Diabetes in older individuals is associated with a high frequency of obesity and ultimately cardiovascular and renal diseases."

 The Principal Investigator for the study is MMRF researcher Richard H. Grimm, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research. He will be assisted at the administrative center by Co-Principal Investigator Karen Margolis, M.D., M.P.H. " I believe this will be the most important treatment of diabetes study in the history of medicine," said Dr. Grimm.

 Co-investigators of the study include: Park Nicollet International Diabetes Center, Co-Principal Investigator Richard Bergenstal, MMRF researcher Mehmood Khan, M.D., Hennepin Center for Diabetes and Metabolism, Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., University of Minnesota General Clinical Research Center, Kevin Peterson, M.D., University of Minnesota East Metro Diabetes Initiative, JoAnn Sperl-Hillen, M.D., HealthPartners Riverside Clinic.

 In the United States, 16 million people - nearly six percent of the population - have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of those cases. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces insulin, but does not use it effectively.

 The MMRF oversees the research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an acute care research and teaching hospital and Minnesota's first Level 1 Trauma Center. The mission of the MMRF is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the second largest non-profit medical research institution in the Twin Cities and it ranks in the top 11% nationally of all institutions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Media Alert

August 23, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org


New Gene Therapy May Allow Patients To "Grow" Their Own Bypass Around Blocked Leg Arteries

Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has initiated Phase I clinical trials to test a new gene therapy in humans that may have the potential to help the body grow new blood vessels, creating a bypass around blocked leg arteries.

 The MMRF is participating in the trial to determine the safety and tolerability of the therapy to treat patients with severe peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD), or critical limb ischemia. The therapy encodes the FGF1 gene, an angiogenic growth factor. The study is sponsored by RPR Gencell, the gene therapy division of Rhīne-Poulenc Rorer.

 "The growth factor gene, which will be injected into the leg muscles of study participants, will be studied to document safety and, secondarily, its ability to cause the formation of new blood vessels in limbs with blocked arteries," said Timothy D. Henry, MD, Principal Investigator of the study.

 According to Dr. Henry, if new vessels are formed, they may create a natural bypass around blocked arteries in patients who have no other alternative for restoring circulation to their leg, and are a high risk for amputation. Investigators hope that the additional blood flow will reduce pain and numbness, heal wounds, and restore damaged tissue on the feet and legs.

People who suffer from severe PAOD of the legs often experience severe pain even while at rest, as well as chronic wounds that won't heal, numbness, a burning sensation in their lower limbs, and gangrene that can lead to amputation. Traditionally, physicians attempt to treat these patients with surgical bypass/revascularization and angioplasty. In many cases, however, these procedures cannot be applied. Drug therapy is also ineffective for severe PAOD. Amputation of the lower leg is often the solution for a large number of patients.

The MMRF oversees the research at HCMC, an acute care research and teaching hospital and Minnesota's first Level 1 Trauma Center. Our mission is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the second largest non-profit medical research institution in the Twin Cities and it ranks in the top 11% nationally of all institutions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 RPR Gencell is the division of Rhīne-Poulenc Rorer (RPR) dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of gene therapy products. Established in 1994, RPR Gencell is currently developing several gene therapy product candidates in the therapeutic areas of Oncology and Cardiology. RPR Gencell's rapid development is due, in part, to its commitment to building partnerships with innovative researchers throughout the world to accelerate the application of gene therapy for unmet medical needs.

Rhīne-Poulenc Rorer is the global pharmaceutical subsidiary of Rhīne-Poulenc S.A., dedicated to improving human health. Rhīne-Poulenc S.A. (NYSE: RP) is a leading life science company, growing through innovations in human, plant and animal health and through its specialty chemicals subsidiary, Rhondia. With sales in 1998 of $14.8 billion, the company employs 65,000 people in 160 countries. The RPR Internet web site is at www.rp-rorer.com.

MMRF - RPR Gencell Study
Fact Sheet

Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease (PAOD), AKA: Critical Limb Ischemia. A closure or obstruction in a peripheral artery, such as in a limb, which prevents oxygenated blood from reaching the tissues.

PAD Stage IIa (Mild): Symptoms of pain in the limb with exercise, which is relieved by rest.

PAD Stage IIb (Moderate): Pain, tension and weakness in the limb when walking, which increases until walking is impossible, (AKA: intermittent claudication). Symptoms lessen after a period of rest.

PAD Stage III/IV (Severe): Symptoms of pain in the leg when at rest, with or without gangrenous ulcers. Limitation of walking. Need for surgery or re-operations. Gangrene, leading to leg amputations.

Disease Demographics
Patients at risk with no symptoms: 10-20 million
Patients at Stage IIb (Moderate): 3-5 million
Patients at Stage III/IV: 500,000

Therapeutic Options for Severe PAOD / Critical Limb Ischemia
• Drug Therapy (Majority of all patients). Anti-platelet therapy, usually aspirin or clopidogrel or ticlodipine. Patients are also started on exercise and other programs (smoking cessation, weight loss) to decrease risk factor profiles. Other agents included vasodilating calcium channel blockers such as Procardia, products such as Trental¨ (pentoxifylline), Pletal¨ (cilostazol) or systemic anticoagulant therapy.
• Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty (180,000 patients). Dilatation of a blood vessel by means of a balloon catheter inserted through the skin and through the lumen of the blood vessel to the site of the narrowing, where the balloon is inflated to flatten plaque against the artery wall.
• Surgical Bypass/Revascularization (30 - 50% of patients). Restoration of blood supply to a part by means of a vascular graft, providing an auxiliary flow of blood.
• Amputation (35,000 or 7% of patients). Removal of a limb.

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Media Alert

August 19, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $ 1 Million United States Renal Data Systems (USRDS) Special Studies Center Contract.

Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF), has been awarded a contract for slightly over $1 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as the Cardiovascular Disease Special Studies Center for the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), the most comprehensive database in the world for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), commonly known as chronic kidney failure. The Special Studies Center, under the direction of MMRF Principal Investigator Charles H. Herzog, M.D., will perform studies looking at the relationship between heart disease and ESRD, and the effectiveness, costs, and benefits of different treatments currently being employed. Last week, the MMRF was also awarded $5.7 to serve as the USRDS Coordinating Center.

Co-investigators of the USRDS Special Studies Center include: Richard Grimm, M.D., MPH, Ph.D., MMRF; Blanche Chavers, M.D., University of Minnesota; and Jennie Ma, Ph.D., University of Tennessee.

 In 1996, the United States spent approximately $14.5 billion on ESRD. There are approximately 75,000 new ESRD cases each year, adding to the existing ESRD population of 350,000, with 285,000 of those on dialysis.

The MMRF oversees the research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an acute care research and teaching hospital and Minnesota's first Level I Trauma Center. Our mission is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the second largest non-profit medical research institution in the Twin Cities and it ranks in the top 11% nationally of all institutions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Media Alert

August 12, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Investigators Awarded $ 5.7 Million United States Renal Data Systems (USRDS) Contract.

Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF), has been awarded a five-year, $5.7 million contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MMRF will serve as the Coordinating Center for the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), the most comprehensive database in the world for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), commonly known as chronic kidney failure. The Coordinating Center is responsible for reporting to the NIH, Health Care Financing Administration and the Congress the overall incidence, prevalence, hospitalization rates, transplantation rates, and costs associated with ESRD.

 "The USRDS is internationally recognized as a critically important tool in kidney disease treatment and research," said William Keane, M.D., Chief of Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and President-elect of the National Kidney Foundation. "It is a tremendous achievement for this institution to be chosen as the Coordinating Center."

The Principal Investigator for the USRDS Coordinating Center is MMRF researcher Allan Collins, M.D. "We have been able to put together a team with experience in the critical areas of evidence-based medicine," said Dr. Collins. "Our plans are to build upon existing USRDS capabilities, which will allow us to better identify areas of concern and improve the health and welfare of ESRD patients."

 Dr. Collins' team will also implement new biostatistical methods for mapping disease rates that allow for a view of ESRD across the whole United States. "We will be creating an atlas of ESRD just like the CDC created an atlas of U.S. mortality," said Dr. Collins. "These methods will provide new tools to evaluate outcomes for all members of the ESRD community."

Co-investigators of the USRDS projects include: Bert Kasiske, M.D., MMRF; William Keane, M.D., MMRF; Richard Grimm, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., MMRF; Tom Louis, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Wei Pan, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Blanche Chavers, M.D., University of Minnesota; Art Matas, M.D., University of Minnesota; Marshall McBean, M.D., University of Minnesota; Willard Manning, M.D.

In 1996, the United States spent approximately $14.5 billion on ESRD. There are approximately 75,000 new ESRD cases each year, adding to the existing ESRD population of 350,000, with 285,000 of those on dialysis.

The MMRF oversees the research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an acute care research and teaching hospital and Minnesota's first Level I Trauma Center. Our mission is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the second largest non-profit medical research institution in the Twin Cities and it ranks in the top 11% nationally of all institutions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Media Alert
July 15, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Elects Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, M.D., M.P.H., To Board.

Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) has appointed Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, M.D., M.P.H., to its Board of Directors. The board also re-appointed two members - Hennepin County Commissioner Mary Tambornino and Sue Bennett.

 "For the past 47 years, the MMRF has been a leader in research and education that benefits patients throughout the world," said MMRF President Phillip Peterson, M.D. "Dr. Joseph-Di Caprio is an outstanding clinician and researcher who brings many talents to our board."

 Dr. Joseph-Di Caprio is the Director of HCMC's Department of Pediatrics Adolescent Program and Medical Director of the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and the Hennepin County Home School. She received her Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and completed her residency in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Joseph-Di Caprio holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Minnesota where she also completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine.

 Dr. Joseph-Di Caprio feels she brings a different perspective to the board as a specialist in adolescent and pediatric medicine. "Previously, health care research has not always included children and adolescents," said Dr. Joseph-Di Caprio. "We are now starting to research those populations and recognize that they have different needs than adults. I am excited to bring my expertise in this area to the MMRF."

The MMRF oversees the research conducted at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), and it is the second largest non-profit medical research institution in the Twin Cities. Its mission is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. It ranks among the top 11% of institutions receiving research grants from the National Institutes of Health. Major medical firsts by MMRF researchers include the first kidney transplant in the Midwest and the first bilateral lung transplant in the world. The first chronic hemodialysis program in Minnesota also began here.

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Media Alert
June 22, 1999
Media Contact: Joan Barnes, Phone 612-347-7672, Fax 612-337-7189,
jbarnes@mmrf.org

MMRF Researchers Isolate Strain of E. Coli Bacteria That May Cause Miscarriages.

Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Anil Kaul, director of Women's Health Research at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) says the urine of pregnant women should be screened for strains of E. coli bacteria that may cause miscarriages or premature birth. Kaul presented his findings at the 99th annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

 Dr. Kaul and his researchers isolated E. coli 0:157 in the urine of a woman who miscarried 22 weeks into a pregnancy. E. coli 0:157 has been associated with an outbreak of diarrhea, perhaps linked to undercooked hamburgers served in fast food restaurants. However, researchers discovered that the E. coli bacteria found in the woman's urine had lost its ability to make the diarrhea-causing toxins that this strain of E. coli normally produces in the digestive tract. It did, however, carry certain other virulent (likely to cause infection) properties that Dr. Kaul and his group have been studying and have linked as a cause of preterm birth. "It probably lacked some of the toxins usually found in the gut in order to inflict less damage on its host, thus ensuring its own continued survival," said Dr. Kaul.

 Dr. Kaul said the cost of screening for E. coli 0:157 would add $10 to $15 to the standard urine tests given to pregnant women. "By detecting the presence of these bacteria early," said Dr. Kaul, "it would be possible to treat patients and perhaps prevent some of the premature births."

 Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are present in women in 27% of premature births, and in 17% of prenatal deaths and E. coli are responsible for more than 85% of UTIs. Currently 12 to 18% of all births in the US are premature, which can result in low birth weights and an increased risk of complications.

The MMRF oversees the medical research that takes place at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). Our mission is to improve patient care and the health of our community through research and education. The MMRF is the third largest non-profit medical research organization in Minnesota and it ranks in the top 11% of all institutions that receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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