The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory

The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory (MMRL) is a fully accredited laboratory involved at the cutting edge of diagnostic medicine. As a non-profit institution, the MMRL strives to be a leader in discovering the causes and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. As a leader, the MMRL is involved in both basic clinical research and the ever expanding fields of cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics. The MMRL’s staff has decades of experience and insights into cardiac arrhythmias and they are actively engaged in training the next generation of professional researches in the quest to advance the frontiers of science.

Located in Utica, NY, the MMRL is recognized as a world class institution laying the groundwork for future discoveries. In America alone, 250,000 people die every year from cardiac arrhythmias. It is the MMRL’s mission to reduce that number in America and to reduce sudden cardiac deaths worldwide. The MMRL has had many successes in the past that speak well of its reputation as a world leader. The first direct link between cardiac arrhythmias and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2000. This link was based on research perfomed at the MMRL.

The MMRL has dedicated its resources in recent years to unravelling the genetic basis for cardiac arrhythmias. There are few laboratories of this size in the world with the same single-minded focus. Since 1958, the MMRL has dealt with the mysteries behind Long QT Syndrome, Short QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome, and atrial fibrillation. As the science has advanced, so have the efforts of MMRL researchers as they have investigated every potential avenue of study. Genetic studies have provided the most promising field of inquiry and the MMRL is forging ahead to discover which genes may be responsible for needless cardiac deaths.

Since it’s founding in 1958, the MMRL was a pioneer in electrophysiological studies of the heart muscle and chemistry. The addition of its Molecular Biology program complements this foundation and adds further understanding to heart pathology and treatment options.

As clinical researchers, MMRL scientists collect blood samples from volunteers to map each patient’s chromosomal makeup for mutations. Inheriting a particular mutation may or may not increase the chances of cardiac arrhythmia and it is the mission of the MMRL’s cadre of researches to determine the probability of disease and to further investigate how the genetic code may be repaired if disease occurs. By identifying who may be most susceptible to cardiac arrhythmia, physicians can better monitor patients’ heart health and advise on behaviors to avoid what would otherwise be an unexpected death by cardiac arrhythmia. With time, it is hoped that treatments can be customized for patient’s with a cardiac arrhythmia disease based on their genetic profile.

This is the direction in which medicine is headed in the 21st Century. Rather than using medication to treat symptoms or perform dramatically invasive surgery, it is hoped that a final cure can be found that works with a patient’s unique physiology on a molecular level.

The MMRL is involved in stem cell research based on fibroblast lines derived from skin biopsies and from blood cells isolated from patients who suffer from cardiac arrhythmia. The goal is that replacement cardiac cells can be developed from these lines that will be useful in treating the heart muscle of patients suffering from cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, the research performed at the MMRL may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. No one can predict the potential benefits of basic research and the MMRL is leading the way in discovering more about the human body.