Gift from Bacardi family will help Mayo Clinic researchers in Jacksonville close in on 'the future of medicine'

The future of medicine is regenerative medicine.

Thats a view shared by Thomas Gonwa, associate director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine in Jacksonville, and by Jorge and Leslie Bacardi.

Regenerative medicine will be the cutting-edge medicine of the 21st century, Gonwa says.

We think it is the most important thing happening in medicine, Leslie Bacardi said.

Now the Bacardis, who live in Nassau in the Bahamas, have given what Mayo Clinic officials call a substantial gift to fund ongoing research and clinical trials in regenerative medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

Jorge Bacardi, part of the family that has been making rum and other spirits for 150 years, declined to specify the amount of the gift. Were not people who boast about the amount we give, he said.

Its an amount that should be sufficient to fund the ongoing research into regenerative medicine in Jacksonville, he said.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic both in Jacksonville and in Rochester, Minn., now envision a future in which new organs can be grown for patients, using their own cells, and a time when the injection of stem cells can be used to repair a damaged organ.

Last year, Tim Nelson, a physician with the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Rochester, removed tissue from the arm of ABC Nightline reporter Bill Weir and created what Weir called a tiny piece of my cardiac tissue that had dramatically formed into the shape of a heart a pumping, three-dimensional glimpse into a future when this kind of cell could theoretically be injected into a heart-attack victim or a diseased child and literally mend the person from within.

That, to us, was just mind-boggling, Leslie Bacardi said. ... Regenerative medicine is for us an investment in our future and the future of medicine. It may take a while to reap any benefits, but when those benefits do come, it will make the investment seem small.

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Gift from Bacardi family will help Mayo Clinic researchers in Jacksonville close in on 'the future of medicine'

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