Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern Join for Disease Prevention
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The Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern Medical Center have announced a collaboration on a joint scientific medical research program aimed both at improving health and preventing the development of such chronic diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and a range of cardiovascular conditions.
“UT Southwestern is one of the more dynamic and most productive research institutions in the world and is uniquely poised to take advantage of the vast clinical database available at The Cooper Institute,” said Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition and chairman of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern.
The Cooper Clinic includes 30 physicians who perform a comprehensive clinical evaluation of more than 10,000 patients a year. Detailed clinical information, including imaging studies and blood studies, from the patients who volunteer for research studies is transferred to the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study database that is maintained by The Cooper Institute. Since 1970, detailed clinical data from more than 246,000 clinic visits have been collected, providing a rich source of information in which to investigate the contributions of genes, diet, exercise, and the environment to a wide variety of diseases.
UT Southwestern has assembled a group of experts in preventive medicine, genetics, and cardiovascular disease to work with the researchers at The Cooper Institute and the physicians at the Cooper Clinic. This group is spearheaded by Dr. Grundy, with Dr. Jonathan Cohen, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, providing expertise in human genetics. Genomic DNA is being isolated from the blood cells of study participants, and genetic studies have been initiated to identify new sequence variations and new genes that contribute to disease risk.
“To maximize the use of the clinical research database, The Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern have established a system that also encourages the collaboration of other area institutions, including the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas,” said Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, founder and chairman of The Cooper Institute.
Although a major historical focus of The Cooper Institute has been the role of exercise in cardiovascular health, the research has been expanded to enable investigation of other diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.