JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic is expanding its partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, broadening a collaboration in research, clinical trials and education.

The relationship began in 1995 with a study of arterial disease in different ethnic groups that continues. The new agreement, signed last week at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, builds on a 2010 memorandum of understanding that initiated the first formal bond between the centers.

“Mayo Clinic is the strongest brand in health care worldwide,” University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones said in a statement. “We will benefit from the opportunity to apply Mayo-type approaches to management of a large, public health care enterprise such as ours.

The institutions plan to work together to educate new physicians, aid early-career researchers and exchange faculty. UMMC and Mayo hope to combine research capabilities, share Mayo’s research software and develop a clinic to treat adult congenital heart disease in Jackson.

Dr. Luis Juncos, a UMMC professor of nephrology, tells The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1s3Ryil ) that kidney-disease sufferers in Mississippi and beyond are going to benefit from the work he’s doing hand-in-hand with Mayo researchers.

Juncos said Mayo Clinic also will have access to Mississippi’s diverse population and myriad medical histories.

“They don’t have many African Americans” in their patient base, he said, adding that lack of diversity hinders research on diseases that affect that population.

Mayo’s Dr. Karl Nath, a longtime collaborator with Juncos, will be able to further his research into sickle cell disease by working more closely with his UMMC counterparts.

Nath said the opportunity to study sickle cell in a human setting allows researchers to better understand the disease and provide “hopefully a better insight into treating this disease and its complications.”

Juncos said his ongoing projects with Mayo researchers benefit patients diagnosed with renal artery stenosis _ the narrowing of the artery that brings blood to the kidneys. Patients could travel to Mayo Clinic for studies that require specialized imaging equipment not available here, he said.

That will help expand research, Juncos said. “It will also help us establish some of the techniques that they use at Mayo Clinic here at UMMC,” he said.

More educational options for new doctors and more clinical research trials are planned, thanks to the stronger pact between UMMC and Mayo Clinic.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com