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Commitment to Research in Diabetes, Arthritis, Heart Disease and Cancer Leads to Advances for Patients

SEATTLE, Wash. - (May 22, 2006) -The Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) celebrates 50 years of biomedical research history this year, with programs, a commemorative research timeline and lectures in recognition of this milestone anniversary.

An international leader in immune system and autoimmune disease research, BRI is the oldest private, non-profit research institute in Washington, established in 1956 as the Virginia Mason Research Center. Working to unlock the mysteries of the immune system, BRI’s team of world-renowned scientists is focused on identifying the causes and cures for devastating diseases including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Today, the state-of-the-art research institute (with a new facility built in l999 with the support of the Benaroya family) houses 200 researchers and staff in both laboratory and clinical research with a budget of more than $20 million a year.

"Making scientific contributions that can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families has been the driving mission behind our institute,” said Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, Director of BRI.

Commitment to clinical research and collaboration has been an important focus for the Institute. BRI is engaged in a number of international, national and regional clinical trials that help translate laboratory discoveries to patient applications. The clinical programs test innovative new treatments, study the prevention of disease and find new approaches for diagnosing disease in its earliest stages, optimizing the potential for treatments for individuals.

Research at BRI is supported largely by grants from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, as well as philanthropic funds from community support.

"The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) applauds the 50th year anniversary of the Benaroya Research Institute,” said Richard Insel, MD, Executive Vice President of JDRF. “The institute, focused on clinical translation of diabetes immunotherapies and monitoring of responses to therapies, is making progress to accelerate the development of a cure for type 1 diabetes. We look forward to future partnering opportunities as the Benaroya Research Institute begins its next 50 years."

BRI will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with events planned throughout the year, including a designated ‘Research Week,’ May 22-26, highlighting research accomplishments and tours for visitors.

“At our 50th anniversary, we want to thank our staff and donors who have helped our institution prosper and grow. We are grateful to the many community leaders, research visionary donors, foundations and organizations that have supported us throughout the years,” said Dr. Nepom.

BRI will mark this special occasion by announcing a schedule of events throughout 2006. Here is a sampling:

Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon at SEAFAIR
Sunday, July 16, 2006 in Seward Park, Lake Washington
To benefit juvenile diabetes research at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. This is the Northwest’s largest co-ed triathlon.

Illuminations Gala
Aug. 12, 2006 Freeway Park, Downtown Seattle
Annual benefit and anniversary celebration to benefit BRI.
For more information about Benaroya Research Institute, please visit www.benaroyaresearch.org

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Contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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