Maine institute gets $1.8M for research into diseases

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BREWER (AP) – A $1.8 million federal appropriation to support development of the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health was announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud.

The institute, launched in 2005 as a subsidiary of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, operates in partnership with Jackson Laboratory researchers and University of Maine faculty.

It seeks to apply basic genetics research findings to develop new treatments for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.

“I feel strongly about what the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health provides our region. As a premiere research institute, it helps to provide economic growth, as well as a powerful collaboration opportunity for the academic and bio-tech research center of Maine,” Michaud, D-Maine, said.

The appropriation comes 13 months after the institute was awarded a $2 million federal grant. The combined funding is to be used to advance its 10-year mission to start a comprehensive cancer research program.

The program’s clinical focus will be on the delivery of the latest developments in clinical care to cancer patients in rural communities.

A focus of research will be gene-environment interactions that change the risk of cancer, with attention directed to Maine’s marine environment.

The institute is preparing to build its center next to the Cianchette Center in a 72-acre campus in Brewer. Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Care of Maine also plans to move there, allowing research and treatment in the same facility.

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