Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Florida Hospital, Burnham Embark on Groundbreaking Research of the "Diabetic Heart"

The two organizations will also study link between diabetes and obesity

ORLANDO, Fla. , March 26, 2008

CRI Announcement

At 6 years old, Linda Hambleton was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The disease has caused multiple heart attacks, strokes and seizures, more hospitalizations than she can count, and blindness. Now with a new agreement announced today between Florida Hospital and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, patients like Linda are getting new hope for a cure for this debilitating disease.

“As someone who has been impacted by this disease for most of my life, I am excited to know that Florida Hospital, the place that has cared for me, is partnering with a leader in medical research like Burnham to pursue a cure and improve treatment,” Hambleton said.

At the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce this morning, officials from Florida Hospital and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research announced the creation of the Florida Hospital-Burnham Clinical Research Institute (CRI) to take the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes and obesity to the next level. The Florida Hospital-Burnham CRI, along with the Burnham Institute at Lake Nona, will be Burnham’s hub for diabetes and obesity research.

“Orlando, which is quickly establishing itself as a destination for science and medicine, is the ideal location for our East Coast Center of Excellence,” said Dr. John Reed, chief executive officer of Burnham. “This agreement with Florida Hospital allows us to work together to take our research directly to the patient and to explore lifestyle medicine issues that will hopefully allow us to better prevent disease in the future.”

The CRI will begin operations in a temporary facility in Fall 2008 and will be fully operational in 2009. Space for the CRI’s permanent location will break ground this Summer. The CRI will be led by world-renowned physician and Scientific Director of Burnham at Lake Nona Dr. Daniel Kelly, who will help the CRI develop and define a new sub-specialty – the diabetic heart.

“What most people don’t know is that diabetes not only affects your blood sugar, but also significantly impacts your heart,” Kelly said. “At the Florida Hospital-Burnham CRI, we will study this phenomenon we are calling the ‘diabetic heart’ to learn more about this condition and hopefully pioneer new treatments.”

The agreement will also help support the new University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

“This partnership between two premier healthcare organizations will enhance the significant research already taking place at the College of Medicine,” said UCF President John Hitt. “Adding more world-class scientists to partner with our researchers and students will strengthen our community’s focus on biomedical research and provide benefits for years to come.”

Florida Hospital, under the leadership of Dr. Samuel Crockett, has consistently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its Diabetes/Endocrinology services. Of the hospitals on the 2007 list, the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute had the highest patient volume.

“Linda Hambleton, who has struggled with diabetes for 36 years, is a living example of why this agreement is so important,” said Des Cummings, executive vice president at Florida Hospital. “Burnham is a leader in medical research, and Florida Hospital is a leader in patient care. Together, we hope to build the bridge between research and the patient bedside to achieve earlier detection and the best outcomes.”

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

Sanford-Burnham can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter @sanfordburnham.

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