CINCINNATI Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has been named one of five national Centers of Excellence for Molecular Hematology to find new gene and cell therapies for inherited diseases affecting blood cells.
The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of 19 National Institutes of Health, has approved a five-year, $3.4 million grant for Cincinnati Children's to establish the multi-disciplinary center. The center blends Cincinnati Children's extensive research and clinical expertise, including its close collaboration with research affiliate, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
A key aim of the Cincinnati Center for Molecular Hematology is to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic approaches for conditions like sickle cell anemia, thalessemia, leukemia, immunological disorders and other blood cell-based diseases, according to Yi Zheng, Ph.D., director of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology and director of the new center. The center will also help speed the transition of new therapies from the research laboratory to clinical trials.
"We have a strong basic research pipeline at Cincinnati Children's and the ability to rapidly translate basic research into the clinic," Dr. Zheng said. "The medical center is one of the few institutions in the country that can claim excellence in basic science, expertise in genetic manipulation under Good Manufacturing Practice conditions, and also provide outstanding cell and gene therapies and patient care at a single location."
The challenge is to understand and correct diseases caused by interactions between mutated genes and environmental factors that adversely affect blood cells. Researchers believe that successfully applying molecular and cell therapeutics to blood cells that can be transplanted into patients will provide life-long cures for inherited diseases.
Cincinnati Children's is already working on gene th
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center