Huntington Medical Research Institutes

Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) is an independent, nonprofit, applied medical research organization in Pasadena, California. The Institutes conduct laboratory and clinical work for the development of technology used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The Molecular Medicine programs, such as cancer genetics, molecular neurology, molecular pathology and tissue engineering, were conducted at the 99 North El Molino Avenue facility until April 2018. The Neural Engineering program is conducted at the 734 Fairmount Avenue building directly adjacent to Huntington Hospital. The Advanced Imaging Laboratory is located nearby at 10 Pico Street, as is the Liver Center at 660 South Fair Oaks Avenue. A new 35,000 square foot laboratory building for HMRI opened at 686 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena in April 2018. Programs in the new facility include neurolological and cardiovascular studies, as well as preeclampsia research.

Cellular and molecular medicine

The original organization of HMRI was established in 1952.[1] The El Molino Avenue laboratory began as the Pasadena Foundation for Medical Research, which placed emphasis on cancer research. Projects included pioneering work with the biomedical research application of laser energy,[2][3] and in their cell culture laboratory they had developed a now widely used line of prostate cancer cells.[4] Current work includes the study of protein abnormalities underlying susceptibility to migraine headaches,[5] and the development of "histoid" tumor models.[6]

Neural engineering

The Fairmount laboratory was founded as the Institute of Medical Research of Huntington Memorial Hospital. It also housed the Pasadena Neurovascular Foundation. Past work included the proposal of improvements for automobile safety,[7] the neurosurgical introduction of a silicone plastic material that made cerebrospinal fluid shunting practical for the treatment of hydrocephalus,[8][9][10] advances in cardiovascular research,[11] and the development of electronic neurological devices, including interface technology for vagus nerve stimulation.[12][13] Current work in neuroprosthetics includes development of improved electrodes for deep brain stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease,[14] the treatment of profound deafness by direct stimulation of the brain,[15] and new methods of electrical stimulation to control bladder evacuation in paralyzed patients.[16]


The El Molino and Fairmount operations merged in 1982 as the Huntington Medical Research Institutes. At that time research at the Pico Street location added clinical studies of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Earlier advances at Pico Street included development of methods for providing CT-scanner guidance of 3-dimensional brain stereotactic surgery systems.[17] Comparative studies of CT versus MRI contributed to the regulatory approval of magnetic resonance for medical imaging.[18][19] Magnetoencephalography (MEG) research at Pico has improved the precision of brain mapping and subsequent surgery to remove parts of the brain responsible for some kinds of epilepsy.[20] Research on in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy focuses on brain metabolism[21] and on development of hyperpolarization agents to enhance signal output from tissue.[22] New work includes anatomical, functional and biochemical studies of mild traumatic brain injury.[23]

Liver Center

The Liver Center conducts clinical trials of new drugs to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and is developing new ways to conduct surveillance and do early intervention for post-hepatitis liver cancer.[24][25]

Fellowships and training

HMRI conducts a joint postdoctoral fellowship program in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology as well its own undergraduate student research program. HMRI has a 25-year history of conducting clinical training courses in magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy.[26]


  1. Becky Oskin, "Marking 50 Years of Health Research", Pasadena Star-News (Pasadena, California) December 3, 2002
  2. Michael W. Berns and Donald E. Rounds. "Cell surgery by laser." Scientific American 222(3): 98-103(February 1970).
  3. Berns, M. W., Y. Ohnuki, D. E. Rounds, and R. S. Olson. "Modification of nucleolar expression following laser micro-irradiation of chromosomes." Experimental Cell Research 60, no. 1 (1970): 133-138.
  4. Kaighn, M. E., K. Shankar Narayan, Y. Ohnuki, J. F. Lechner, and L. W. Jones. "Establishment and characterization of a human prostatic carcinoma cell line (PC-3)." Investigative Urology 17, no. 1 (1979): 16.
  5. "Dysfunction of Sodium Homeostasis in a Rat Migraine Model" (5R01NS072497). NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  6. Mehta, Geeta, Amy Y Hsiao, Marylou Ingram, Gary D Luker, and Shuichi Takayama. "Opportunities and Challenges for Use of Tumor Spheroids as Models to Test Drug Delivery and Efficacy" Journal of Controlled Release (2012).
  7. Shelden, C. Hunter. "Prevention, the only cure for head injuries resulting from automobile accidents." Journal of the American Medical Association 159, no. 10 (1955): 981-986.
  8. Alfred Aschoff, P. K., Bahram Hashemi, Stefan Kunze (1999). "The scientific history of hydrocephalus and its treatment." Neurosurgery Review 22: 82
  9. Agnew, William F., Edwin M. Todd, Hendry Richmond, and W. S. Chronister. "Biological evaluation of silicone rubber for surgical prosthesis." Journal of Surgical Research 2, no. 6 (1962): 357-363
  10. Pudenz, Robert H., Findlay E. Russell, Arthur H. Hurd, and C. Hunter Shelden. "Ventriculo-auriculostomy; a technique for shunting cerebrospinal fluid into the right auricle; preliminary report." Journal of Neurosurgery 14, no. 2 (1957): 171
  11. Grimes, William. "Richard Bing, Pioneering Heart Researcher, Dies at 101". The New York Times (November 13, 2010). Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  12. Leo A. Bullara. "Implantable Electrode Array" United States Patent 4,573,481. USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database.
  13. "VNS Therapy Leads" Cyberonics, Inc. (Houston, Texas) Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  14. "Microelectrode Arrays for Deep Brain Stimulation and Recording" (5RO1NS040860). NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  15. "Technology for an Advanced Cochlear Nucleus Auditory Prosthesis" (5R01DC009643). NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  16. "Silicon-Based Microelectrode Arrays for Neuroprosthetic Control of Micturition" (5RO1NS057287). NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  17. Shelden, C. Hunter, Gilbert McCann, Skip Jacques, Harold R. Lutes, Robert E. Frazier, Richard Katz, and Rudi Kuki. "Development of a computerized microstereotaxic method for localization and removal of minute CNS lesions under direct 3-D vision: Technical report." Journal of Neurosurgery 52, no. 1 (1980): 21-27.
  18. John D. Roberts. "Biomedical Applications of NMR" Engineering & Science (January 1986) pp 10-16.
  19. William G. Bradley Jr. "Comparison of CT and MR in 400 patients with suspected disease of the brain and cervical spinal cord" Investigative Radiology 21.3 (1986): 289-291
  20. Mamelak, Adam N., Nancy Lopez, Massoud Akhtari, and W. William Sutherling. "Magnetoencephalography-directed surgery in patients with neocortical epilepsy" Journal of Neurosurgery 97, no. 4 (2002): 865-873.
  21. Kreis, Roland, Thomas Ernst, and Brian D. Ross. "Development of the human brain: in vivo quantification of metabolite and water content with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy." Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 30, no. 4 (1993): 424-437
  22. Chekmenev, Eduard Y., Jan Hövener, Valerie A. Norton, Kent Harris, Lynne S. Batchelder, Pratip Bhattacharya, Brian D. Ross, and Daniel P. Weitekamp. "PASADENA hyperpolarization of succinic acid for MRI and NMR spectroscopy." Journal of the American Chemical Society 130, no. 13 (2008): 4212-4213
  23. "Huntington Medical Research Institute Awarded U.S. Army Grant for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Research" Pasadena Now (May 8, 2013). Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  24. Marcellin, Patrick, Ting-Tsung Chang, Seng Gee Lim, Myron J. Tong, William Sievert, Mitchell L. Shiffman, Lennox Jeffers et al. "Adefovir dipivoxil for the treatment of hepatitis B e antigen–positive chronic hepatitis B." New England Journal of Medicine 348, no. 9 (2003): 808-816
  25. Yu, Nam C., Vinika Chaudhari, Steven S. Raman, Charles Lassman, Myron J. Tong, Ronald W. Busuttil, and David SK Lu. "CT and MRI improve detection of hepatocellular carcinoma, compared with ultrasound alone, in patients with cirrhosis." Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 9, no. 2 (2011): 161-167
  26. "Beyond MRI: MR Spectroscopy for the New Millennium, with Brian Ross MD and Alexander Lin" GE MR Masters Series Physicians MR Training Program. GE Medical Systems. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
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