Case Western Reserve University
is expanding their regenerative medicine research thanks to $2.4 million in funding awarded from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission
. Case Western’s National Center for Regenerative Medicine
(NCRM) will match funds along with a variety of collaborators, including Ohio State
, Nanofiber Solutions
to provide $4.8 million for the university’s “OH-Alive Innovator Platform: A Process and Manufacturing Platform for Cell Therapy” project.
The goals, says NCRM Marketing and Operations Manager Michael Gilkey, are twofold: first, to transform medical therapy through the use of cells rather than drugs to heal tissues and organs; second, to create the commercial and academic infrastructure in Ohio to establish a self-sufficient industry of biotechnology and support services that prove attractive to cell-therapy institutions across the U.S.
If successful, taxpayers and private companies in the industry stand to benefit. “[This project] plays a significant role in building the biotechnology infrastructure in Ohio,” explains Gilkey, reiterating that lives will be directly impacted by this research. “New cell therapies will be accelerated into clinical trials and market approval, so patients will get access to effective, cutting-edge therapies sooner.”
This project will save in public health costs. “Many diseases and injuries have no regenerative or curative therapy, so costs to U.S. tax payers is often high,” says Gilkey. “For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the cost of diabetes to be $174 billion in 2007.” Functional cell therapy could cure the disease early on and eliminate the possibility of developing complications associated with diabetes, saving billions of dollars every year.
The project’s finish date is slated three years from the start of the grant in late October or early November 2012. Gilkey says the platform will result in a new startup company that will commercialize the platform’s base technology. “We hope to have a long legacy of successful spinout companies from OH-Alive whose manufacturing technology is based from work by this innovative platform.”
Source: Michael Gilkey
Writer: Joe Baur