Stem cell research in New Jersey
New Jersey First State to Publicly Fund Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology (NJCST) has approved 17 applications for the state's $5 million Stem Cell Research Grant program, making New Jersey the first state in the nation to publicly fund human embryonic stem cell research. A full list of grant recipients is included below.
After receiving the applications in October, the NJCST turned the proposals over to a panel from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) to conduct an independent, scientific review, as required by Codey. The (AIBS) is a nonprofit scientific association dedicated to "advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society."
A thorough ethics review was also conducted, led by Dr. Harold Shapiro, chairman of the state Ethics Advisory Panel for stem cell research, President Emeritus of Princeton University and past chairman of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission for President Clinton.
In order to meet the goals of both patient treatment and economic development, the NJCST has sought to fund proposals that demonstrate a means for translation to patient treatment and that create a foundation and capacity in New Jersey for a vibrant stem cell research/biotech/patient treatment community.
The NJCST asked reviewers to consider factors reflecting the significance and feasibility of the research. The AIBS research panel used nationally recognized criteria to assign each proposal a "scientific merit score" reflecting the overall impact of the project on the field, how innovative the project is and the competence of the research plan.
Grants have been awarded for promising research using human embryonic stem cells (hESC), as well as mouse embryonic stem cells and "adult" stem cells. The diverse group of proposals selected address crucial fundamental questions about how stem cells work, how to use stem cells for treating devastating conditions such as heart disease, brain injury, spinal cord injury and autoimmune diseases and how to advance New Jersey's position as a leader in stem cell research.
Grant awards will finance research ranging from fundamental inquiries to understand differentiation in human embryonic stem cells to investigations of an FDA-approved therapy using cells from a patient's own bone marrow to repair damaged heart tissue. Other successful research proposals include production of specific cell types for therapeutic transplant to treat brain trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease; creation of a center to train New Jersey scientists to work with human embryonic stem cells and potential therapies for low bone mass, autoimmune disorders including MS and asthma, and other debilitating disorders that could benefit from cell replacement therapy.
This $5 million in research funding is part of Codey's larger commitment to stem cell research, which included a $5.5 million appropriation this year to fund the Stem Cell Research Institute of New Jersey and support clinical trials. As Senate President, he also introduced separate bills that would allocate $150 million in unused bond capacity to construct a building to house the Stem Cell Institute, as well as a bill that just passed the Senate this week authorizing the state to seek voter approval for a $380 million bond referendum to fund stem cell research grants.
For more information on the grant recipients and New Jersey's stem cell research initiative, visit the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology's website at http://www.state.nj.us/scitech/ .
STEM CELL RESEARCH GRANT RECIPIENTS:
Treena Arinzeh Ph.D. New Jersey Institute of Technology $295,362
Nanofiber Scaffold for Stem Cell Based Cartilage Repair
To test whether stem cells can be used to repair cartilage defects with the potential for providing new tissue engineering therapies that could help cancer patients who have had tumors removed from bones, osteoporosis and other cartilage and tendon damage.
Rick Cohen Ph.D The Coriell Institute for Medical Research $299,043
Center for Applied Training in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Biology
To provide basic and advanced training in the field of human embryonic stem cell biology and to develop a well-trained pool of scientists in New Jersey proficient in hESC culture techniques with the goal of advancing New Jersey's leadership in stem cell research.
Ronald Hart Ph.D. Rutgers University $275,590
Regulation of microRNA Gene Expression in Differentiating Neural Stem Cells
To understand and control differentiation of neural stem cells with the potential to produce specific cell types for therapeutic transplant in brain trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Hristo Houbaviy Rutgers University $300,000
MicroRNAs MiR-290-295 in Blastocyst-Derived Stem Cells and the Early Mouse Embryo
To understand stem cell development and lineage determination with the goal of expanding and improving knowledge of areas of stem cell biology currently not well understood.
Ihor Lemischka Ph.D. Princeton University $300,000
Genome-Wide Functional Analysis of ES Cell fate Regulation
To understand human embryonic stem cell decisions such as survival/death, renewal/determination and to understand how to maintain or induce specific cell fate with the goal of applying this knowledge to patient therapies.
Randall McKinnon Ph.D. UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
Gliogenic Potential of Human Placental Stem Cells
To identify mechanisms of glial cell generation from human placental cells with the goal of identifying a potential alternative to embryonic stem cells for clinical trials. In collaboration with Celgene, a New Jersey-based biotech firm ranked sixth largest internationally.
Kateri Moore DVM Princeton University $299,970
Interactive Mechanisms of Stem Cells and Microenvironments
To further understand the mechanisms of stem cell self-renewal and commitment toward the purpose of developing new therapies or advancing existing therapies for use in drug development and for gene and cell therapy for immunological and other diseases.
Richard Nowakowski Ph.D. UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
Molecular Circuitry of "Stemness" in the Developing CNS
To learn how to reprogram or teach transplanted cells how to generate the right type and number of necessary cells for cell-replacement therapies with the potential for replacing specific brain areas damaged by disease or injury.
Robert Preti Ph.D. Amorcyte, Inc. $289,200
Bone Marrow Derived CD34 Cells for Treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction
To produce a cell therapy product using bone marrow-derived cells for treatment of coronary damage following a heart attack and advance the company's federal Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trials with the potential for new and more effective therapy for cardiac patients.
Ling Qin Ph.D. UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
PTH-Mediated AGFR Signaling in Stromal Stem Cell Growth and Multidifferentiation
To conduct fundamental research using bone marrow stem cells with the potential to develop more effective treatments for low bone mass and similar disorders.
Monica Roth Ph.D. UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
Selective Gene Delivery to Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells
To apply novel genetic screening approaches to stem cells with the potential of enhancing the ability to use stem cells and gene therapy in many clinical settings, including treating hematopoietic disorders and cancer.
[Note: United States Patent 6762031, titled Targeting viral vectors to specific cells , with Keith Bupp.]
Junichi Sadoshima M.D. Ph.D. UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School $300,000
Mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation
To increase the efficiency of stem cell differentiation into cardiac myocytes by manipulating a particular signaling mechanism with the potential for developing an effective method to repair damaged heart tissues.
Biagio Saitta Ph.D. The Coriell Institute for Medical Research $300,000
Role of Extracellular Matrix in Cord Blood Stem Cell Response to Cardiac Injury
To use stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood to study the molecular mechanisms of stem cells in repairing damaged areas of the heart with the potential to heal damaged tissue and preserve or regain function, offering an alternative to transplants which are possible but limited by the number of donors.
Michael Shen Ph.D UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
Role of the Nodal signaling pathway in regulation of embryonic pluripotency
To enhance fundamental understanding of basic molecular functions in mice and human stem cells with the potential for improving manipulation of ES cells in culture for use in stem cell-based therapies including possible insights into the genesis and dysregulation of cancer stem cells.
Thomas Shenk Ph.D. Princeton University $300,000
Isolation and Characterization of Life-Extended Human Cord Blood Cells
To produce populations of stem cells from human cord blood that can be used to study the molecular characteristics of such cells including how to modulate these growth responses in vivo and in culture with the potential to improve the clinical uses of stem cells.
Yufang Shi, DVM, Ph.D. UMDNJ-RWJMS $300,000
Immunobiology of Mesenchymal Stem Cells
To investigate the mechanisms underlying stem cell mediated immune tolerance and its use in treatment of autoimmune disorders with the potential to lead to new treatment for many human diseases in which the immune system attacks the body, including MS and asthma.
Jay Tischfield Ph.D Rutgers University $300,000
Genetic and Structural Analysis of Mouse ES Cells and their Derivatives
To study cultured ESC and confirm, monitor and regulate phenomena that would be deleterious to tissues derived from stems cells with the potential to prevent problems that could slow development of stem cell therapies.
I have been told that New Jersey has some interesting rules requiring payback by the grantee if the grant makes money. If true, this would offer an alternative to the drone by some in California that the Bayh-Dole Act is the only model. However, separately, I'm thinking about a new article: Is "it's on the website" the next "the check is in the mail"?