For Immediate Release
June 19, 2007
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Core facilities will build capacity for human embryonic stem cell research
Trenton– The Commission on Science and Technology (NJCST) today awarded more than $10 million in Stem Cell Research Grants, including $5.5 million for two core facilities and nearly $5 million in individual grants for research that offers a means for translation to patient treatment and economic development. This funding, included in the FY 2007 budget, doubles the amount awarded for this program in FY 2006.
“The Commission, through the Stem Cell Research Grant Program, is proud to play a role in furthering Governor Corzine’s objective of enhancing New Jersey’s position as a national leader in stem cell research,” said James Coleman, Jr., commission chairman. “The program provides an opportunity to conduct this cutting edge research right here in the Garden State.”
The awarded core facilities grants create a foundation and increased capacity for human embryonic stem cell research beyond the current federal funding restrictions. In addition, the funding creates collaboration between New Jersey’s research universities while supporting the creation of stem cell research facilities. The Commission’s $10 million allocation follows last week’s authorization of $9.2 million for predevelopment funding of the New Brunswick Stem Cell Institute by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Together, this support advances the governor’s goal of providing funding for stem cell research through the Edison Innovation Fund.
The Commission awarded nearly $3 million to Rutgers University for a core facility that collaborates with Reprogenetics LLC, a genetics laboratory specializing in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), to research human embryonic stem cells for development of therapies for central nervous system disorders. An award of $2.5 million was also made to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in conjunction with Rutgers University to focus on the critical areas of gene delivery and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells.
In addition, the Commission approved nearly $5 million in individual research grants to 16 researchers from university and nonprofit institutions in New Jersey. Grant recipients include four projects working with human embryonic stem cell research, projects working with cord blood stem cells and projects aimed at finding treatments for cancers, as well as other diseases and disabilities.
The Commission received 73 complete applications for the individual research grant program and 3 core facilities proposals. All proposals underwent both scientific and ethics reviews before facing discussion and a vote during an open, public meeting of the Commission. The Commission sought to fund the best scientific proposals, including those that demonstrate means for translation to patient treatment and create a foundation for a vibrant stem cell research community.
NJCST, established in 1985, is responsible for the development and oversight of policies and programs promoting science and technology research and entrepreneurship in New Jersey. Commission members include business leaders, university leaders, scientists, the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, the Commissioner of Education, a representative of the Governor and four legislators.