UC Davis formally broke ground on the $62 million Institute for Regenerative Cures on its Sacramento campus late September – the first such facility funded by the state in Northern California.
The project is supported by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and will focus on team-oriented projects with the goal of discovering new methods to treat chronic diseases and injuries.
“This institute fits perfectly with our research traditions and unique dedication to solving real-world problems,” said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef at the groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 26, “That interdisciplinary, collaborative approach has thrived as one of UC Davis’ enduring values.”
The institute will be housed in a 92,000-square-foot facility and will include primary laboratories and support space, microscopy and researcher cell sorters, a shared-vector core as well as office space for academic, administrative and postdoctoral affairs. A portion of the facilities is scheduled to be completed and certified in late 2009.
“We have the good fortune of renovating an existing building, which allows us to complete the project quickly,” said Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences Claire Pomeroy. “We expect to have an initial portion of the facility to be completed in fall, with additional sections by May 2010. There still will be remaining space in the building after that to further expand our program.”
The institute will also host a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility, which allows cellular therapies to be moved safely into critical trials
“The facility is vital to our research,” said Gerhard Bauer, Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory director. “It would be difficult to perform the research we want to do without the money.”
The institute’s primary goal is to convert laboratory research into clinically tested methods of medical treatment. Scientists will use adult stem cells to target retinal occlusion, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and Huntington’s disease, although researchers plan to use both adult and embryonic stem cells.
“The facility will be home for more than 125 scientists at work on various aspects of regenerative medicine research,” Pomeroy said. “The range of scientific investigation is breathtaking.”
Other research areas include liver disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, skin disorders and retina damage, among other conditions.
“UC Davis’ Institute of Regenerative Cures is well positioned for success because it arises from a tradition dedicated to improving life and advancing health,” Vanderhoef said.
UC Davis already holds a substantial reputation for genetic research, but this institute will prove to be a unique addition to the university’s already prestigious position, Vanderhoef said.
“From my perspective, UC Davis offers a unique combination of research, clinical care, education and community engagement in the stem cell research field,” Pomeroy said. “For patients and families suffering from chronic diseases or injuries, our stem cell work offers great promise and hope.”
RITA SIMERLY can be reached at email@example.com.