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July 2003

McGuire Foundation Comes Forward as Private Funder of U Translational Research Facility

Contact: Ashley Burt, Academic Health Center, 612.624.2449

Molly Portz, Academic Health Center, 612.625.2640

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (July 10, 2003) -- The University of Minnesota Academic Health Center announced today that the critical $10 million in private funding necessary to move ahead with plans for the Translational Research Facility (TRF) has been committed by the William W. McGuire and Nadine M. McGuire Family Foundation. Long viewed as a top priority for researchers and clinicians at the University, the project received state funding in the most recent legislative bonding bill, contingent on the successful attraction of private funds.

“This gift from the McGuire Family Foundation was critical to the success of our efforts to gain state bonding authority for a Translational Research Facility,” said Frank Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. “Our future success as an institution will depend on the willingness of private individuals to invest in our work as that will provide the necessary margin of excellence.”

William McGuire, M.D., spokesperson for the foundation, said: “The significance of the Translational Research initiative for the University of Minnesota, coupled with the tremendous potential of these research applications to cure diseases and advance the health of people worldwide, make support of this effort a top priority for us. Improving the process of moving scientific breakthroughs toward effective medical treatments is a critical need, and we are proud to help the University, the Medical School, and its scientists enhance their efforts and leadership in this area. There are highly regarded, world-class researchers and medical professionals here, and we believe this initiative will help them realize their full potential. That will ultimately benefit all society.”

The researchers housed in the TRF will translate discoveries in the lab into therapies that will make a difference in the lives of patients. This translational research is exemplified by Jeffrey Miller, M.D., researcher in the Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, who is working on treating cancer patients with the use of a vaccine that, after surgery or chemotherapy, would encourage the patient’s own immune system to fight a return of cancer. Through collaboration with immune-system specialists and other cancer experts, Miller is working to translate cancer discoveries in the lab to cancer cures for patients. Other researchers are working on treatments for diseases such as hemophilia and Alzheimer’s.

The TRF will be 95,850 square feet in size, allowing space for 33 researchers and their staff. Construction is scheduled to begin this November with a completion date set for early 2005.

The $10 million gift from the McGuire Family Foundation is the second largest gift from a single donor to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Recent gifts to Campaign Minnesota through the Minnesota Medical Foundation total more than $500 million and have endowed nearly 40 faculty chairs. The TRF is critical to meeting the need for research space for some of these chairs.

The William W. McGuire and Nadine M. McGuire Family Foundation, established in 1996, provides philanthropic support to nonprofit initiatives in the arts, sciences, and educational fields.

The Academic Health Center is home to the University of Minnesota’s seven health professional schools and colleges as well as several health-related centers and institutes. Founded in 1851, the University is one of the oldest and largest land grant institutions in the country. The AHC prepares the new health professionals who improve the health of communities, discover and deliver new treatments and cures, and strengthen the health economy

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