The Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) announced an exciting expansion with 10,100 square feet to the Translational population Health Research Center (TransPop). Part of the MURDOCK Study, the CTSI team, can take on even larger more and complex studies. Based in Kannapolis, the expansion facility represents growing research activity in central North Carolina made possible by a collaborative for community health research and the vision of an entrepreneurial billionaire.
What is the MURDOCK Study?
This expansion is based on the momentum of the MURDOCK Study or the “Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis” and represents a Duke University-led longitudinal health study working to reclassify health and disease through advanced scientific technologies, Duke researchers, and close collaboration with a strong network of local and regional community partners. Duke and collaborators seek to identify linkages across major diseases and disorders to defeat some of today’s leading causes of illness and death. Over 12,400 residents are participating in this historic community-based study.
Launched in 2007, the study is led by principal investigator Kristin Newby, MD, who also happens to be co-director for the Duke Cardiac Care Unit and Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at the Duke University School of Medicine.
The Study “Horizons”
The collaborative seeks attainable and incremental goals in four “horizons”, including (1) Horizon 1 (evaluating the potential and feasibility of large-scale biomarker research centering on four disease categories including A) cardiovascular, B) obesity, C) liver, and D) osteoarthritis based in part on the availability of specimens (e.g., blood, urine, etc.); (2) Horizon 1.5 focusing on the assembly of the Community Registry and Biorepository; (3) Horizon 2 “Cohort Studies” where the team builds upon the findings of previous biomarker studies and leverages the growing database and (4) Horizon 3 represents the expansion of the Duke MURDOCK study research across the globe via multi-institutional collaboration with not only national, but also international academic partners.
Some Key Study Milestones
Thus far, Duke and collaborators have accomplished a lot in this endeavor securing 12,526 study participants and 429,215 biological samples stored in the MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository, reports local news WBTV. Over 50 collaborations have occurred as part of this overarching community-based longitudinal population health study, including 148 principal investigator collaborations across 22 institutions. The researchers have cranked out 54 peer-reviewed publications, while Duke faculty have been able to leverage MURDOCK Study samples and data to contribute to a broad range of important and relevant research concerning a number of different diseases.
Expansion Center Features
As reported by WBTV, the expansion of the TransPop space in Kannapolis will include:
· 10,100 square feet
· 12 exam rooms
· More lab space
· Participant lockers
· Expanded reception area
· Vesting faculty workspace
· Large multipurpose room
Some Perspective about Something Special
Duke is doing something novel and exciting. They have included an entire community in a series of important studies that ultimately can help guide and direct an understanding of the transition between health and disease at the clinical, community, and molecular level and ultimately help improve diagnosis and treatment. The town of Kannapolis, with a population of about 43,000, is at the epicenter of this community-based research. The way that so many different stakeholders have come together for ongoing execution of this study notes an exceptional collaborative ethos and spirit there in North Carolina and beyond.
Catalyst: Entrepreneur David Murdock
The MURDOCK study, based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, was made possible by a generous gift from Mr. David H. Murdock to Duke University. Mr. Murdock, a World War II veteran, came from a humble beginning and rose in business (real estate/Dole Food Company and Castle and Cooke) to become a billionaire. Murdock helped contribute to the redevelopment of a 5.8 million square foot complex in Kannapolis into a biotechnology research center known as the North Carolina Research Campus. A public-private research center, the campus exists to improve human health through research into nutrition and agriculture. The campus operates as a partnership with the State of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina system. Mr. Murdock is truly an exceptional character giving away much of what he earned. Upon the death of his third wife to cancer, he became active in funding cancer research as well as nutrition and life extension research. He funded the creation of the California Health and Longevity Institute (CHLI) in 2006.
Kristin Newby, MD, Professor of Medicine