|$8 Million from NIH for Regenerative Medicine Research
November 3, 2009,
Volume 56, No. 10
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers, along with colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Toronto, have received $8 million for stem-cell research. The Penn group is one of nine research hubs awarded $170 million over the next seven years by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to develop the high-potential field of stem- and progenitor-cell tools and therapies.
The awards create the NHLBI Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium, which will bring together researchers from the heart, lung, blood, and technology research fields. The consortium assembles multidisciplinary teams of principal investigators and an administrative coordinating center to focus on progenitor cell biology.
While a stem cell can renew itself indefinitely or differentiate, a progenitor cell can only divide a limited number of times and is often more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become. Given the potential of these cells for clinical applications, the goals of the consortium are to identify and characterize progenitor cell lines, direct the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells to desired cell fates, and develop new clinical strategies to address the unique challenges presented by the transplantation of these cells.
The grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Edward Morrisey, professor of medicine and cell and developmental biology and scientific director of the Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and colleagues will determine how certain signaling pathways—ordered sequences of biochemical reactions inside cells—affect cardiac and blood-forming cell development and cardiac regeneration and repair. The team will also study whether these pathways, namely Wnt and Notch, may be harnessed for therapeutic applications.
For information on the NHLBI awards go to: www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2009/nhlbi-07.htm