The Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM), comprised of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic (CC), University Hospitals (UH), and Athersys, Inc. has received $5 million from Ohio's Third Frontier Commission under the Research Commercialization Program. The funding will help support new and innovative stem cell technologies including two commercial, four emerging and three pilot projects. This funding will be matched by each of the projects to create a $10 million grant benefiting stem cell and regenerative medicine in Ohio.
"This funding provides CSCRM the support it needs to continue to aggressively move new technologies from academic labs towards commercial development," said Stan Gerson, director of the Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. "We have linked corporate partners to our major projects and have been gratified by the development of a stem cell biotechnology commercial landscape in our region. Our goal is to rapidly move stem cell research from the lab to patients through clinical trials, using our strong background in preclinical models."
The continued research efforts will result in efficient clinical applications and commercialization of stem cells to benefit patients throughout Ohio. To date, such efforts have brought in $170 million in new commercial development and investment in Ohio.
"This grant continues to build distinctive and broad reach capabilities that are making Ohio a leader in the development and clinical use of cellular therapies," said Baiju R. Shah, President and CEO of BioEnterprise. "Ohioans benefit both through the resulting company development and jobs as well as by having access to leading-edge clinical therapies at our region's clinical institutions."
The use of stem cells has focused on leukemia and myeloma treatments with recent applications in cardiovascular disease. Current healthcare is limited to the use of drugs or devices to treat disease and injury. CSCRM, located in Northeast Ohio but collaborating state wide, is uniquely positioned to rapidly implement new stem cell technologies in the commercial and therapeutic arenas.
"I can see stem cells replacing drugs to improve many diseases," said Gerson. "Stem cells can replace injured cells, improve the function of many organs in the body and provide specific new functions to treat many diseases."
The Third Frontier funding will support the following commercial, emerging and pilot programs:
The commercial projects are expected to generate significant near term value for the sponsoring companies and the State of Ohio.
With further refinement of already established proof of concept, the following programs could mature into significant opportunities for CSCRM and the region.
The pilot projects represent early stage, cutting edge scientific projects that were developed in the Center. While these projects are at an early stage, they were selected based upon their significance to the field and their potential economic impact if successfully matured. Funding for the three projects will be accompanied by a subset of eight new pilot projects determined through review by CSCRM oversight committees.
The CSCRM Administration, led by Debra Grega and Michael Gilkey, is responsible for coordinating, accounting and reporting on all of these projects, continuing and creating education programs on stem cells and regenerative medicine for middle school through graduate level students, executing a biennial international stem cell conference (MSC 2009), interfacing and cultivating new commercial interactions, developing new research collaborations within the State as well as internationally, and representing the Center in scientific conferences and public events.
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