The University of Minnesota broke ground on a state-of-the-art cancer and cardiovascular research building – the final landmark within the Biomedical Discovery District – on May 11, 2011.
The building will act as the gateway to the U of M’s Biomedical Discovery District (BDD) – the result of a $292 million funding program approved by the state of Minnesota in 2008. When complete in spring 2013, the cancer/cardio research building will bring top U of M researchers together across disciplines to discover the next wave of cancer and cardiovascular treatments and therapies.
Researchers from across the Academic Health Center, including the Lillehei Heart Institute and Masonic Cancer Center, will occupy the new building. Once relocated to the new facilities’ new laboratories, cancer researchers plan to study chemical biology focusing on chemical carcinogens as a cause of cancer. They also want to build new models to find new therapeutic strategies to fight cancer. Cardiac researchers plan to study heart regeneration and development, muscular dystrophy, congenital heart medicine and genomics.
As the gateway to the BDD, the new cancer/cardio building will be publicly accessible, allowing visitors to interact with and get an up-close look at the research occurring across the district.
The long-term vision for the district includes additional University facilities as well as private sector partners. The projected economic impact of the district is truly impressive:
• It will generate research dollars: The Biomedical Discovery District is expected to attract as much as $40 million in new research funding each year.
• It will create jobs: In the short term, the District has created approximately 5,000 construction jobs; and in the long term, biomedical science jobs at the University and in Minnesota's biomedical industry.
• That research money will multiply in the community: Every $1 million of federally sponsored research generates more than $2 million in new state business activity in the state (Families USA).
University cardiovascular and oncology physician-researchers have a legacy of medical “firsts” that revolutionized medicine and changed medicine’s standard of care.
The first open-heart procedure was performed at the U of M, as was the world’s first bone marrow transplant. Other firsts include the first transplant to treat a patient with lymphoma, the first transplant to treat an inherited metabolic disease and the world’s first umbilical cord blood transplant performed using pre-implantation genetic testing to ensure a perfect tissue match.
“Simply put, basic science researchers plus clinical researchers equals new medical treatment. And flexible laboratory space in the Biomedical Discovery District provides a way for them to work side by side, learning from each other, “ said Aaron Friedman. “This type of translational research bridges the gap between basic science research and breakthrough therapies – propelling discoveries to become treatments sooner and more efficiently.”