More than one in three adults and one in six Minnesota children either have diabetes or suffer from pre-diabetes. Every year 20,000 Minnesotans are newly diagnosed with the disease.
In addition to the health impact on those living with the disease, diabetes also comes with a dramatic financial impact. Managing diabetes can cost up to $12,000 a year per patient. In Minnesota alone, more than $2 billion in Medicare dollars are spent on managing the disease.
These startling statistics are problematic, and demand a solution. Fortunately, one may be less than 10 years away.
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaborative research effort between the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, recently launched the Decade of Discovery: A Minnesota Partnership to Defeat Diabetes. The project is a major medical initiative with the goal of optimally treating and ultimately curing diabetes within 10 years.
How will the partnership work?
The University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic will defeat diabetes through a combination of new research, a broad application of best treatment practices, intervention and prevention. Combined, the two institutions are national leaders in diabetes research, and are developing new ways to combat the disease that may benefit patients nationwide.
Currently, the Mayo Clinic is a national leader in endocrinology research. The University of Minnesota is also a world leader in islet cell transplantation, stem cell technology and regenerative therapies.
Both institutions believe that the successful execution of the initiative will significantly reduce health care costs and generate economic opportunities that will benefit Minnesota for generations to come.
“Defeating diabetes is an ambitious goal, but failing to build on Minnesota’s existing strengths has far more risks than declaring our commitment to ultimately curing the disease,” said Frank Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center and Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School. “It’s time to be bold and this Partnership is ready for the challenge.”
Who is involved?
The Decade of Discovery will be guided by an Oversight Committee comprised of respected local, national and international leaders from within medical research, bio-business and disease advocacy communities, as well as civic and philanthropic leaders.
The committee will be co-chaired by Nobel Prize winning physician Peter Agre, M.D., and Minnesota financial leader Vance Opperman of Key Investment, Inc.
World-renowned scientists and diabetes experts from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota will lead the initiative’s research teams. Communication and collaboration will be paramount to the success of the initiative. Fortunately, the two institutions share a legacy of working in tandem to shift health care forward.
“Minnesota is uniquely positioned to succeed in this initiative, in large part, because of the partnership between Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota,” said Agre. “With Mayo’s standing as the leading center of endocrinology research and the University’s significant investments in the science of regeneration and stem cell therapy, investing in Minnesota’s globally-recognized expertise in diabetes is the key to reaching the ultimate goal of finding a cure to this disease.”
--- Nick Hanson