Metrodora Institute Launches to Advance the Treatment of Complex Neuroimmune Diseases and Accelerate the Path to Cures
Metrodora is the first integrated, multidisciplinary medical and research center dedicated to diagnosing and treating neuroimmune axis disorders, an under-researched disease space that impacts hundreds of millions of people
Institute is building the world’s first biobank and high-density data repository focused on these conditions to inform treatment and serve as the bedrock for future research accelerated through the Metrodora Foundation
SALT LAKE CITY, April 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Metrodora Institute today announced the opening of its state-of-the-art medical and research center, dedicated to advancing care and accelerating the path to improved diagnostics, therapeutics, and cures for patients living with neuroimmune axis disorders. The opening follows a soft launch that welcomed initial patients over the last month. Located in Salt Lake City, UT, the multidisciplinary institute brings together world-class clinicians, scientists, and engineers under one roof to maximize the impact of scientific discovery and rapidly translate research into better patient outcomes. Metrodora is designed to deliver a new blueprint for healthcare that breaks down the barriers between medical specialties and embeds scientific research and discovery directly into the patient care process. The Metrodora Foundation, the Institute’s non-profit research arm, will fund and further the scientific discovery needed to accelerate novel treatments and cures.
The launch of Metrodora and its focus on neuroimmune axis disorders comes as a growing body of research points to a dramatic increase in these disorders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including long-COVID, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Neuroimmune axis disorders are complex chronic illnesses that trigger dysfunctional interactions across multiple body systems, including the nervous, immune, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems. Today an estimated four in 10 Americans live with at least one chronic disease resulting from the dysregulation of the neuroimmune axis. Typically triggered by an immune-activating event, such as an infection, surgery, injury, or hormone change, these conditions remain severely understudied, under-reported, and misdiagnosed due to deep silos across medical specialties and between scientific research and clinical care. There are currently no cures for neuroimmune axis disorders, and treatments remain limited.
“In order to improve the lives of people living with neuroimmune axis disorders, we must accelerate progress towards treatments and cures. This requires a new healthcare model that effectively closes the gap between clinical medicine and scientific discovery”, said Laura A. Pace, MD, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Metrodora Institute. “Metrodora was inspired by what healthcare should be. Our approach to multidisciplinary care brings medical specialists together with scientists focused on discovering treatments and cures. By redefining how we diagnose and care for patients with these complex, multisystem disorders, we are leading the next frontier of medicine by addressing a significant unmet medical need.”
“Metrodora exists to rebuild the connective tissue across medical specialties and between clinicians, patients, and scientists,” said Fidji Simo, Co-Founder of Metrodora Institute, President of Metrodora Foundation, and CEO of Instacart. “We believe science should improve human health faster, so we’re treating these disorders in a way that ensures the highest likelihood of finding cures. Metrodora provides patients with the level of multidisciplinary care they deserve as well as the ability to contribute to research. This rich and comprehensive data set is key to better understanding these conditions and unlocking new insights that will drive scientific discovery.”
A New Blueprint for Multidisciplinary Care Informed by Research
An Integrated, Multidisciplinary Focus
The current healthcare system is not optimized to care for complex medical conditions that impact multiple body systems, with medical specialists focused on individual organs and body systems. Medical specialists operate independently from each other, as well as separately from the scientists exploring these conditions. As a result, patients with neuroimmune axis disorders face many years of visits to different specialists, often without receiving a proper diagnosis. The Metrodora Institute is bridging these gaps in care by redefining how research and clinical practice work together to treat and cure complex, chronic diseases. With multiple medical specialists together under one roof, patients receive comprehensive evaluations and testing over the course of a few weeks — instead of years. Through this integrated approach, Metrodora aims to significantly decrease the diagnostic odyssey for patients.
The Institute also features dedicated collaboration spaces and holds weekly case conferences that bring experts from all specialties together with their scientific team to collaborate on complex patient cases. Metrodora’s state-of-the-art research and pathology laboratories are also co-located within its medical center, allowing clinicians and scientists to work side-by-side to drive faster, more informed discovery.
Innovative Approach to Diagnostics and Therapeutics
Metrodora’s clinical programs are designed to create a full health ecosystem that integrates neurology, immunology, and gastroenterology care with genetics, pain management, comprehensive rehabilitation programs, nutritional and neurocognitive therapies addressing patients’ comprehensive care needs. In addition to the multidisciplinary clinic, the Institute features a state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center, two advanced autonomic laboratories, and an infusion center.
From interventional medicine to specialized treatments, the Institute leverages advanced technologies to provide faster and more effective diagnoses and care pathways. For example, Metrodora is the first medical center in the U.S. to employ Cellvizio, a confocal laser endomicroscopy technology, for real-time diagnosis of allergies, immunological responses, and barrier dysfunction within the adult gastrointestinal tract.
Revolutionizing How Scientific Research Impacts Patient Care
Metrodora’s unique model actively integrates scientific research with clinical care to ensure the rapid translation of discoveries from the bench to bedside. The Institute will see up to 20,000 patients per year, and each patient will have the opportunity to contribute biological samples (including blood, tissue, microbiome samples) and data (via biometrics and surveys) to research, as well as participate in relevant clinical trials. Direct access to this engaged patient population is enabling Metrodora Institute to build the world’s first biobank and high-density data repository focused on neuroimmune axis disorder space.
“Access to high-quality patient samples and high-density data is critical for making the scientific breakthroughs required to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of complex diseases. Until now, high-quality biobanks and data repositories have not existed for this disease space.” said James Hemp, PhD, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder, Metrodora Institute. “The richness of Metrodora’s comprehensive biological data is truly revolutionary. By providing researchers with access to essential high-density data, and ensuring that their work is informed by real-world clinical experience, we believe we can advance treatments and discover cures faster.”
To further expand the reach of the biobank and patient data repository, the nonprofit arm of the Institute – the Metrodora Foundation – will make this deeply phenotyped multidimensional patient data and biobank samples accessible to an ecosystem of research partners across biotech and academia, propelling scientific discovery, treatment breakthroughs, and ultimately, cures.
Partnering with Biotech and Academia
Metrodora’s unique capabilities will be directly informed and underpinned by this valuable patient data. As a hub for research and innovation, Metrodora is collaborating with leading industry and academic partners to dramatically accelerate the development of more effective diagnostic tools, treatments, and cures for this underserved patient population. Current biotech and academic partners include:
- Argenx – One of the first companies to conduct a clinical trial on a drug to treat long-COVID and COVID-induced POTS; Metrodora Institute is a clinical trial site.
- PathAI – Using AI to optimize the analysis of tissue samples to provide patients with a more accurate diagnosis and match them with effective treatments.
- Fabric Genomics – AI platform to identify and prioritize new genome variants associated with neuroimmune axis disorders and accelerate clinical diagnostics for these conditions.
- NeuraLight – Diagnosing neurological disorders more accurately using advanced oculometric technology.
- Biofourmis – Technology-enabled care delivery to provide continuous at-home patient monitoring with a focus on actionable data for chronic condition management with earlier interventions for better outcomes and ongoing research and development. Biofourmis’ connected platform includes configurable technology and services that span the care continuum and drug lifecycle, enabling dynamic care pathways that deliver accelerated R&D and individualized, timely data-driven interventions for patients.
- COUR – Developing new therapies designed to reprogram the immune system, and ultimately, identify cures for autoimmune diseases.
- Montana State University’s Hatzenpichler laboratory – Via a MIRA award through the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, MSU is partnering with Metrodora Institute on fundamental research studying the human gut microbiome.
About the Metrodora Institute and Foundation
Metrodora Institute is the first medical and research center dedicated to advancing care and accelerating cures for people living with complex neuroimmune axis disorders. Located in Salt Lake City, UT, the integrated multidisciplinary institute brings together world-class clinicians, scientists, and engineers under one roof – to maximize the impact of scientific discovery and rapidly translate research into better human health outcomes.
Metrodora’s comprehensive clinical programs integrate neurology, immunology, and gastroenterology care with genomics, pain management, comprehensive rehabilitation programs, nutritional and neurocognitive therapies, and telehealth services to provide patient-centered care. Grounded in multidisciplinary collaboration, Metrodora is delivering a new blueprint for patient care, designed to break down silos between scientific research and medical practice. As the nonprofit arm of the Institute, the Metrodora Foundation is committed to catalyzing essential scientific research that will lead to the rapid discovery and development of cures for neuroimmune axis disorders. With direct access to the Institute’s engaged patient population and high-density biobank, the Metrodora Foundation makes this fundamental research infrastructure accessible to academic and biotech partners – propelling scientific discovery, treatment breakthroughs, and ultimately, cures.
Founded in 2020 by Laura A. Pace, MD, PhD, James Hemp, PhD, and Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart, Metrodora is leading the next frontier of science and medicine to address a significant unmet medical need.
About Metrodora’s Founders
Dr. Laura A. Pace, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Metrodora
Laura is a physician-scientist with over 20 years of clinical and research experience. Her clinical expertise is focused on neuroimmune axis disorders with a specialization in neurogastroenterology, autonomic disorders, genetics, along with rare, undiagnosed, and neglected diseases. Her research has spanned chemistry, microbiology, neuroscience, and genetics. Laura has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as from private foundations to advance her pioneering work in the neuroimmune field. She is a leader in the rare disease space, including serving as the Co-Lead for of the University of Utah’s NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network (NIH UDN) clinical site. She has also served on medical boards and as principal investigator for many clinical trials. She earned a BS in Chemistry from Stony Brook University, an MD from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. James Hemp, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Metrodora
James is an interdisciplinary scientist with over 20 years of research experience spanning biology, chemistry, physics, genetics, and medicine. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and several private foundations. James received a BS in Honors Physics from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Biophysics and Computational Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a prestigious Agouron Postdoctoral Fellow while at Caltech.
Fidji Simo, Co-Founder of Metrodora and President of the Metrodora Foundation
Fidji currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Instacart and previously spent ten years at Meta, where she led the Facebook app, which reaches 2 billion people every month. Fidji has built some of Facebook’s most successful services – like Facebook Live and Facebook Video – and was a core driver behind Facebook’s mobile monetization strategy where she invented new ad formats for mobile, that have been widely adopted by the rest of the industry. Fidji has been recognized by Fortune as part of their “40 under 40” annual ranking of most influential young people in business and was also #2 on Fast Company’s list of Most Creative People in Business. She sits on the board of Instacart and Shopify.