St Mary's Medical Center

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SCL Health St. Mary's | Saccomanno Research Institute

The mission of the SCL Health St. Mary's | Saccomanno Research Institute is to expand medical and scientific knowledge in areas that improve health and well-being, with an emphasis on western Colorado residents. The Institute also serves as a resource to the St. Mary's medical community to stimulate basic, translational and clinical research programs.

Integrated research approach

Cancer is the leading cause of death around the world. In the U.S., cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. The term "cancer" actually represents nearly 200 different diseases caused by the unrestrained and destructive growth of cells. The best hope for identifying and treating cancer and ultimately preventing cancer deaths lies in understanding the basic causes of cancers. This is done by discovering the events that transform a normal cell into a cancer cell and understanding how cancer cells evade normal mechanisms which typically remove damaged cells from the body. Basic biomedical research is the means by which such discoveries are found. Translation of these findings into new or improved diagnostic assays or therapies to improve cancer outcomes is a primary goal of scientists at the Saccomanno Research Institute.

The Institute is uniquely suited to do cancer related biomedical research in "real-world" community practice settings. Most biomedical research is conducted in major academic or medical research facilities in urban centers. By collaborating with both community based primary and specialty medical practices, scientists at the Saccomanno Research Institute have the unique opportunity to interact with physicians in developing translational studies that have the potential to impact community health needs and physician practices in a direct and more immediate manner, stimulating local providers to stay on the cutting edge of medical science.

Types of research

  • Basic
  • Translational
  • Clinical

To improve human health, scientific discoveries must be translated into practical applications. These discoveries begin at "the bench" with basic research, which increase understanding of fundamental principles of cancer biology by studying the disease at a molecular or cellular level. These studies then progress to the clinical level or at the patient's "bedside." Basic research findings are used to develop new clinical diagnostics or therapies which are tested or evaluated sequentially in pre-clinical and then clinical settings. The bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is a two-way street. Basic scientists generate new tools for clinicians to utilize in their practice and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about disease progression such that new basic investigations are stimulated.

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Learn more about SCL Health St. Mary's | Saccomanno Research Institute

From its inception, groundbreaking research at the Saccomanno Research Institute has led to a greater understanding of the initiation and progression of cancer, as well as, major advances in early detection and diagnosis and their importance in the treatment of cancer.

Current studies

Saccomanno Research Institute Projects:

  • Identifying microRNA biomarkers for non-small cell lung cancer
  • The role of mitochondrial dysfunction and dynamics in lung cancer
  • Isolation and characterization of self-renewing lung cancer cell lines and comparison of their primary tumor of origin
  • Comparison of normal and lung cancer cell lines in culture: a model system for discovery
  • Saccomanno archive curation

Continuing in the spirit of Dr. Geno Saccomanno, SRI maintains collaborations with St. Mary's Hospital-affiliated and local physicians, and national and international research groups to develop basic, clinical and translational projects to further the advancement of cancer diagnostics, treatment and intervention.

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