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UCLA launches $20 million stem cell institute to investigate HIV, cancer and neurological disorders

ation and potentially come up with new ways to fight many life-threatening diseases."

Researchers are hopeful that stem cell research will lead to revolutionary new treatments for Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's, cancer and other diseases, and perhaps shed new light on how some diseases develop. However, most scientists agree that human treatments are years or even decades away.

Proposition 71, passed by 59 percent of California voters in November, will provide $3 billion for stem cell research. A state institute is being created in Northern California to allocate funding to stem cell scientists at universities, medical schools and research facilities. Grant applications will be available in May. A 29-member oversight and governing board will oversee the institute and review requests for funding.

"With the launch of this institute, we realize our goal of bringing together scientific, ethical, legal and policy experts from across the UCLA campus to focus on the great promise of stem cell research," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine. "As dean, I am committed to advancing the full potential of stem cell research to find novel and more effective therapies to treat many diseases for which present-day therapy is either unsatisfactory or unavailable."

Because the university and medical school at UCLA are located on the same campus, researchers are well positioned to compete for stem cell grant funding, Witte said. UCLA researchers have proven their skill at ushering scientific discoveries from the lab to modern medicine. Several targeted therapies were developed based on UCLA research, including Gleevec and the breast cancer drug Herceptin. Additionally, UCLA scientists played key roles in testing the targeted therapies Avastin and Tarceva.

UCLA also is the only public university in California to boast a sophisticated Good Manufacturing Practi
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Source:University of California - Los Angeles


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