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Sunday, October 17, 2021

New institute for regenerative cures opened in Sacramento

UC Davis has opened a new center for stem-cell research, which facilitators believe will be the hub of regenerative cures in California over the next several years.

The UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures opened at its location last month in Sacramento. The institute primarily focuses on clinical and

research methods to devise cures for stem-cell related diseases.

The state’s stem cell agency – the California Institute for Regenerative

Medicine – provided $20 million in key funding for the initial phase of this project, which costs approximately $62 million. The new facility, when it is fully completed over the coming years, is envisioned to be a $100 million research center for the university’s regenerative medicine program, said Jan Nolta[cq], director of UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.

Numerous institutions will use the center for research, including Stanford, UC Merced, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, the Buck Institute and Sacramento State University.

The building itself is a 6,000 square-foot Good Manufacturing Practice facility. This is a highly sophisticated and state-of-the-art suite that will enable scientists to safely prepare and manufacture cellular and gene therapies for use in clinical trials.

“Our GMP facility will be the largest academic research lab in

northern California,” Nolta said.

The location of the center on the Sacramento campus is helpful due to

its proximity to numerous centers of health improvement, including a nationally designated cancer center, a renowned neurodevelopmental institute, state-of-the-art imaging and biophotonics programs and the UC Davis Medical Center.

In the weeks following the opening of the center, researchers have been moving in their equipment, preparing to focus their research on several different diseases.

“We will be launching several clinical trials using adult stem cells to explore potential treatments for Huntington’s disease, retinal occlusion, or vision impairment, and peripheral vascular disease,” said Nolta.

Among the various researchers, there are 15 specifically designated teams, each with their own expertise, from liver and kidney diseases to

neurodegenerative diseases.

Currently a multitude of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and several undergraduate students are moving into the center, and administrators hope to house more researchers in the coming months.

Researchers are hoping to generate cures for diseases that are currently at the forefront of health services.

“This new building is exciting not only for UC Davis but for the California

Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the entire state of California,” said

Robert Klein[cq], chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Governing Board. “Proposition 71’s initial ‘push’ for the construction of new research facilities, like the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, will now generate a long-term funding ‘pull’ as scientists here strive to obtain supplemental funds from other sources.”

SADAF MOGHIMI can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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