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While Vermont has scant funds to offer financial incentives to attract new businesses to the state, we do have the allure of the Vermont image. By adding to our limited state tourism promotional budget, we can not only encourage people to visit but we can also demonstrate that Vermont is an innovative place to grow a business and a state with great jobs.

Today, there is growth in a variety of industries like beer and food, technology and renewable energy, and aviation and aerospace. By promoting Vermont in other states as the destination to work, build a business, raise a family or even vacation, state revenues would increase from greater sales, income, and rooms and meals tax transactions. This investment would pay for itself through increased state revenues and add to state coffers without raising taxes.

 

Research in Your Backyard Recap

POSTED on January 15, 2014

Highlighting the Benefit of Vermont Clinical Trials for Patients, State Economy

20131212_MedPhoto_075_2 20131212_MedPhoto_097_2 20131212_MedPhoto_064_2 20131212_MedPhoto_017_2 20131212_MedPhoto_039_2 20131212_MedPhoto_002_2Burlington, VT (December 12, 2013)

Working with Vermont research institutions, including the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, the nation’s biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted 566 clinical trials of new medicines since 1999, according to a new report released today and highlighted at a panel discussion in Burlington. According to the latest data from 2011, this activity also generated $267 million per year in economic activity in the state.
The “Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Vermont” report and cutting-edge research by Vermont scientists were the focus of the event, with Governor Shumlin providing keynote remarks. Sponsored by Vermont Biosciences Alliance, the University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the panelists included several University of Vermont disease researchers, patient advocate Michael O’Connor, past president of the Vermont Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, Green Mountain Antibodies Inc. President and Vermont Biosciences Alliance Chairman Bill Church and PhRMA Executive Vice President Bill Chin.
The report shows that over half of the medicines clinically tested by biopharmaceutical companies and research collaborators in Vermont have targeted the nation’s most debilitating chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma and mental illnesses. And in 2011, the biopharmaceutical research sector supported nearly 1,500 jobs in the state, including clinicians at local institutions that conduct clinical trials.
“We want to attract these trials to our state, considering the benefits of clinical research to patients and the local institutions that conduct trials,” said Governor Shumlin. “These companies allow talented researchers in Vermont to help develop new treatments for cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses in need of new treatments. Our scientists are part of an important ongoing effort to improve care for patients around the world.”
“The broad availability of clinical trials in Vermont results from a very productive relationship between the Academic Medical Center and industry. This has insured that promising novel treatments are locally available and that our community benefits from these emerging therapeutic opportunities,” said Ira M. Bernstein M.D., John Van Sicklen Maeck Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Senior Associate Dean for Research, University of Vermont College of Medicine
Biotechnology treatments in Vermont trials include a monoclonal antibody for lymphoma that is being tested at Mountainview Medical in Berlin and Fletcher Allen Health Care Medical Center. A monoclonal antibody for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is also being tested in the state, as is a recombinant fusion protein for age-related macular degeneration.
“Vermont is contributing to the advancement of science in very real, tangible ways through its clinical trial work with our companies,” said Dr. Bill Chin. “New medicines are only possible through collaboration, and Vermont demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships to elevate science and bring medicines to patients. These collaborations bring life-saving, life-enhancing biopharmaceutical discoveries to patients in need.”
The report shows that 48 chronic disease trials in the state, including 20 for cancer and 10 for heart disease, are still active and recruiting patients.
“It is important for patients and their doctors to be aware of clinical research in their communities,” said Chin. “Greater awareness and understanding about clinical trials would allow them to explore participating in the research, and the new report provides a helpful step for getting more information about Vermont’s active trials.”
Get more information on the report, including locations of Vermont clinical trials, here.

[Part of the Winter 2013 Newsletter, See More in the Archives.]

News from UVM

POSTED on January 15, 2014

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SPARK VT Initiative Seminar Series Now Available Online

The UVM College of Medicine SPARK pilot program provides small grants to researchers with ideas that can move quickly “from bench to bedside”. Part of the program was a series of seminars on a wide range of topics related to commercializing scientific know-how. These seminars are now available online at the College of Medicine website. Click here and look for the topics that interest you on the right-hand sidebar.

Food additive shows promise in slowing aggressive brain cancer cells

Diane JaworskiDr. Diane Jaworski’s laboratory in the UVM Department of Neurological Sciences has recently identified a novel, safe chemotherapeutic adjuvant that shows promise in treating gliomas, highly malignant tumors that originate in the glial cells of the brain. Despite multimodal therapy, the prognosis for cancer patients with glioblastoma, the most aggressive glioma type, remains poor due, in part, to the presence of chemotherapy and radiation resistant glioma stem cells.

Dr. Jaworski’s strategy is based on the low acetate bioavailability levels that characterize not only glioma cells, but most cancer cells. They have recently filed a patent application for the use of Triacetin (glyceryl triacetate, GTA), which can pass through the blood-brain barrier, as a way to increase chemotherapy effectiveness in slowing the growth of gliomas and increasing survival. GTA shows minimal toxicity to noncancerous cells in vitro and has a track record of safe use in human infants. According to Jaworski, “Acetate supplementation may prove to be a novel efficacious therapeutic strategy for glioma treatment since it acts at the intersection of epigenetics and metabolism, two hallmarks of aggressive tumor growth.”

triacetin effect tumors sm

In this experiment, brain tumor volume was significantly reduced when GTA was combined with chemotherapy.

Read more about Dr. Jaworski’s triacetin research here

License this technology through the UVM Office of Technology Commercialization

UVM Recruiting for an Outpatient Dengue Vaccine Study

DengueMosquito180by120The University of Vermont Vaccine Testing Center is conducting a Phase 1 evaluation of a single Dengue fever vaccine that may provide immunity against all four types of Dengue virus. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent this mosquito-born viral illness that causes 10–100 million cases of the disease every year. Infection with the virus may provide long-term immunity to that specific type, but does not protect against the other three types. This study will evaluate how well the vaccine promotes anti-Dengue antibody production and its safety. Participants will be involved with the study for one year and will receive two doses of live attenuated virus, six months apart.

The UVM center is actively looking for study volunteers.

Check out frequently asked questions about the study here.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer here.
[Part of the Winter 2013 Newsletter, see more in the Archives.]