CLEVELAND, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) and University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) have been awarded $4.5 million in seed funding to establish the National Center for Regenerative Medicine as part of the omnibus appropriation bill approved by Congress this week. Additional funding for the center is expected over the next five years.
The center's research facilities, housed at Case, UHC and CCF, will enable new non-embryonic stem cell research discoveries by faculty to be translated into therapies that can be used to treat thousands of patients each year. In addition, the center's education programs will train personnel to perform groundbreaking research and deliver the world's foremost patient care.
"The importance of this new center's work will be incalculable, not only in terms of lives potentially saved but in the hope it will offer," said Edward M. Hundert, M.D., president of Case. "This is another example of the impact that Case, The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland can have when we continue to align our resources, talent and initiative."
The National Center for Regenerative Medicine builds on existing research at the three institutions that is supported by the National Institutes of Health and by the Ohio Wright Center of Innovation for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine involving Case, CCF and UHC. The Wright Center was established in 2003 through an investment by the State of Ohio as part of Gov. Bob Taft's Third Frontier Project. The Center institutions are nationally recognized in cell therapy for cancer and are rapidly translating new laboratory research into new therapies for heart disease, bone and joint disease and vascular disorders.
Congressman Ralph Regula (R-Ohio, 16th District), dean of the Ohio Congressional delegation and second highest-ranking Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee, played a pivotal role in securing this funding. Regula provided leadership within Congress and galvanized members of the Ohio delegation in support of the project.
"This funding will help us build on the solid foundation that we have developed for non-embryonic stem cell research in Cleveland," said Ralph I. Horwitz, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and director of the Case Research Institute. "It is a ringing endorsement of the research talent that is found at Case, The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland."
Stanton Gerson, M.D., professor of medicine at Case, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center and director of the Ohio Wright Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, will direct the new national center. Regenerative medicine is a new approach to medical therapy that uses non-embryonic stem cells to regenerate new tissue in diseased organs in place of using drugs or devices to improve function.
"Our goal is to move from using drugs to treat disease to using non- embryonic stem cells as effective treatments," said Dr. Gerson. "We owe a great deal of gratitude to our patients who provided graphic advocacy for the creation of this center to the Ohio Congressional delegation because of the benefits they have derived from treatment with stem cells."
In addition to Drs. Hundert, Horwitz and Gerson, others instrumental in helping to secure the award were Thomas F. Zenty III, president and CEO of University Hospitals Health System; Fred C. Rothstein, M.D., president and chief executive officer of University Hospitals of Cleveland; and Floyd D. Loop, M.D., former CEO, and Toby Cosgrove, M.D., president and CEO, both of The Cleveland Clinic.
Senators Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and U.S. Representatives Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio, 11th District), Dave Hobson (R-Ohio, 7th District), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio, 10th District) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio, 13th District) also contributed to the efforts to obtain funding.
"There is clearly a synergy among Cleveland stem cell researchers that is being recognized at state and federal levels," Rothstein said. "Over the last 30 years, the collaboration between UHC and Case has resulted in much deeper understanding of the potential for non-embryonic stem cells."
"In addition to the state-of-the-art research that will impact the lives of countless people, this center fosters growing collaborations which will significantly contribute to Northeast Ohio's continued emergence as a leading biomedical center," said Paul DiCorleto, Ph.D., chairman of The Lerner Research Institute at the Clinic. The Institute's new Genetics and Stem Cell Research Building, home to both the new Center for Molecular Genetics and the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, is scheduled to open in January.
About Case Western Reserve University
Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Sciences. Case's Web site address is http://www.case.edu/ .
About The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for- profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. The Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S. News & World Report consistently names The Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. Approximately 1,200 full-time salaried physicians at The Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2003, patients came for treatment from every state and nearly 90 countries. The Cleveland Clinic Web site address is http://www.clevelandclinic.org/ .
About University Hospitals of Cleveland
University Hospitals Health System (UHHS) is the region's premier healthcare delivery system, serving patients at more than 150 locations throughout northern Ohio. Committed to advanced care and advanced caring, University Hospitals Health System offers the region's largest network of primary care physicians, along with outpatient centers and hospitals. The System's 947-bed, tertiary medical center, University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC), is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University. Together, they form the largest center for biomedical research in the State of Ohio. Included in UHC are Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, among the nation's best children's hospitals; Ireland Cancer Center, designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center (the nation's highest designation); and MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women.
About the Wright Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
The Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine is a non-profit consortium of Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Athersys, Inc. and The Ohio State University. Established in 2003 through a $19.4 million award from the State of Ohio as a Wright Center of Innovation, the Center has 28 investigators at its member institutions working on six different adult stem cell types in the research areas of cancer, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and vascular disease.
Case Western Reserve University