Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) in Scarborough today to announce a five-year, $20 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The funding will be used to establish the Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research Network, which will be composed of MMCRI, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Vermont. The consortium will improve collaboration on biomedical research and help implement innovative medical treatments for many chronic diseases prevalent in Maine and the region.
"This $20 million grant will help spur the advancement of treatments, means of prevention, and cures for diseases that affect nearly every American family. The establishment of this consortium is a true credit to the skilled scientists at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute and its partnering institutions, including the University of Southern Maine,” said Senator Collins. “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I have strongly advocated for increased funding for biomedical research. By helping to foster collaboration among researchers and implement innovative medical treatments, this investment will help us conquer so many diseases that take both an emotional and financial toll.”
The award will help researchers develop and implement innovative medical treatments for many chronic diseases that are common in Northern New England including cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and substance abuse. Research activities will also focus on defining optimal methods of prevention and health care delivery in rural environments, where approximately 60 percent of Maine’s population resides. Tufts University School of Medicine and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth will collaborate with the three partners that constitute the research consortium.
Senator Collins is the Chairman of the Aging Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. Earlier this year, she secured $2 billion in additional funding to support research at the NIH. The investment built on a $2 billion increase she successfully advocated for last year, the largest funding boost the NIH had received in more than a decade.
Immediately prior to this morning’s announcement, Senator Collins met with scientists at MMCRI, who updated her on their recent research activities and led her on a tour of several of the facility’s state-of-the-art research labs.
MMCRI supports a broad range of medical research at Maine Medical Center, and its cutting-edge research facility was first competed in 2001. MMCRI has gained national recognition for its advanced biomedical research.