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For Immediate Release

Monday, October 29, 2007      

For More Information:

Edye Fineman
(609) 984-1671


 Statewide symposium features groundbreaking public and private research

New Brunswick Several hundred New Jersey stem cell research scientists gathered today at the Third Scientific Symposium on Stem Cell Research, showcasing today’s groundbreaking research and setting the stage for new discoveries tomorrow.

Today’s conference highlighted New Jersey as a leader in stem cell research, with a thriving pharmaceutical and biotech presence, world-class stem cell facilities and a supportive public and private research environment. The symposium, hosted by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, provided scientists an opportunity to network with other researchers, industry representatives, venture capitalists and representatives from New Jersey’s current and future stem cell facilities.  

“Today’s event is encouraging for the future of stem cell research in New Jersey,” said Dr. Joseph Bertino, interim director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey. “The diverse and promising research, from basic to translational, currently being conducted by these New Jersey scientists has the potential to offer future treatments and cures for devastating diseases.”

This statewide symposium comes a week before New Jersey voters will decide on a $450 million Stem Cell Research Referendum. The Stem Cell Research Bond Act, if approval by voters in November, would authorize the sale of State general obligation funds in the amount of $450 million over 10 years for stem cell research grants. These grants will be awarded by the Commission on Science and Technology subject to evaluation by an independent research review panel and in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority concerning commercial viability of the projects.

 A  recent report released by Rutgers University indicates that New Jersey stands to gain nearly $2.2 billion in economic benefits from its stem cell research investments

Since December 2005, the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology has awarded over $15.2 million through the Stem Cell Research Grant Program. Today’s event included scientific posters and panel presentations from many of the grant recipients

Representatives of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, which broke ground in New Brunswick last week, were on site to discuss the state-of-the-art facilities that will soon be available to researchers in the state and around the world. Representatives from the other institutes receiving money from the $270 million facilities bill were also in attendance. In addition, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and the Community Blood Services were on site to discuss the New Jersey public cord and placental blood bank for stem cell research.

Speakers at today’s conference include:

  • Keynote Speaker: John Gearhart, Ph.D., Director, Stem Cell Program, Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Director, Stem Cell Biology and Ethics Program, Johns Hopkins Berman Ethics Institute
  • Robert Hariri, MD, Ph.D., CEO of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, Celgene is the fourth largest biotechnology company in the world in market capitalization
  • Scientific Panels moderated by Dr. Wise Young, W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and Dr. Joseph Bertino, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Cancer Institute of New Jersey 
  • Senate President Richard Codey

For more details about New Jersey’s stem cell research initiative, contact the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology at (609) 984-1671 or www.state.nj.us/scitech

About The Commission

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.