New York Governor Spitzer And Lieutenant Governor Paterson Announce Stem Cell Research Awards

New York Governor Spitzer And Lieutenant Governor Paterson Announce Stem Cell Research Awards

$14.5 Million in Awards Granted Today

January 7, 2008 -- New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson today announced the first grant awards of New York State's new $600 million multi-year stem cell research program, offering new hope to people who suffer from debilitating and life threatening diseases and ailments such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. The awards -- totaling $14.5 million -- were approved today at a meeting in New York City of the Funding Committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Board.

In an effort to quickly boost New York's biomedical research capability, the first awards are being made eight months after Governor Spitzer created a stem cell research initiative in the 2007-2008 budget.

"Innovative stem cell research has the potential to yield therapies that may prevent, treat and perhaps even cure many debilitating and life threatening conditions," said Governor Spitzer. "I thank the members of the Stem Cell Board for their monumental effort to quickly award funding to invigorate stem cell research at institutions throughout the state and help build the infrastructure needed to support a robust research community."

Lieutenant Governor Paterson said: "With a total investment of $600 million dollars over 11 years, New York State is now a leader in supporting stem cell research. Today's awards are just the first step. More research grants will be announced this year, as the Stem Cell Board is currently considering several additional funding proposals."

In the first round of funding, 25 institutions received one-year development grants to support stem cell research and training. These Institutional Development Grants are designed to increase the capacity of New York State research institutions to engage in stem cell research.

In the first round, all not-for-profit research institutions in New York that received at least $1 million in biomedical funding in 2006 from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation were eligible to apply for between $100,000 and $1 million in state funding. Institutions could request funding support for direct stem cell research, stem cell research equipment and infrastructure, and for training stem cell researchers.

With this influx of state support, scientists throughout New York will now be able to:

* Continue or supplement their active stem cell research to enhance outcomes (78 awards);
* Purchase large equipment and instrumentation (infrastructure) to be shared by researchers and/or institutions in stem cell research (41 awards); or,
* Receive specialized training for scientists to enter the field of stem cell research, thus expanding the community of stem cell scientists in New York State (23 awards).

Together these awards provide $6.1 million for direct stem cell research, $7.4 million for stem cell research infrastructure, and $1 million for stem cell research training.

Future stem cell funding Requests for Applications (RFA's) expected to be approved by the Stem Cell Research Board and issued by the State Health Department in the next few months will focus on fostering collaboration among the state's stem cell scientists and their partners, support innovative investigator-initiated research, and accelerate research on the latest scientific findings, including induced pluripotent stem cells (cells that have the capacity to become other cells).

These new RFA's will invite research institutions to apply for funding to support:

* Emerging opportunities in stem cell research and research consortia planning;
* Investigation of pluripotent stem cells and other approaches for deriving these stem cells;
* Grants to stimulate and support new discoveries in stem cell research; and,
* Shared stem cell research equipment or core facilities grants.

In addition, the Board's Funding Committee is working with the Board's Ethics Committee to develop Requests for Applications for funding to support research on the ethical, legal and social implications of stem cell research, as well as the need to create curricula at the high school and undergraduate college levels to encourage and foster the next generation of stem cell scientists.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. said: "This scientific endeavor not only holds great promise for saving lives and improving health, but also for strengthening and revitalizing New York's biomedical research industry."

Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, M.D., president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a member of the Empire State Stem Cell Board said: "Stem cell research has enormous potential to reveal fundamental truths about early human development, to assist drug development, and to be used as medical therapies for a wide range of human disorders. By supporting such research, New York State is ensuring that our scientists can contribute to this rapidly evolving discipline, and that the economic and health benefits of their discoveries may be enjoyed by our citizens."

Peter Sheehan, M.D., President of the ADA's New York City Leadership Council and a member of the Association's National Board of Directors said: "The American Diabetes Association applauds the award of the first stem cell research grants. This exciting new program keeps New York's scientists at the forefront in stem cell research. It also renews the hopes of the more than one million people in New York with diabetes that this research may lead to a cure for diabetes and its complications."

Cheryl DeSimone, M.D., Legislative Chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said: "Today's funding announcement gives hope to the millions of children and adults with type 1 or juvenile diabetes. Stem cell research holds great potential for curing or treating this disease, which has potentially devastating consequences to those who battle it every day. We want to thank Governor Spitzer and Lt. Governor Paterson for making this research possible in New York State."

Jo Wiederhorn, Executive Director of the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) said: "New York State is home to one of the strongest biomedical research communities in the entire world. With 15 medical schools, and approximately 100 teaching hospitals and other top quality research institutions, New York scientists are conducting some of the most cutting-edge, exciting research. Governor Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor Paterson's support for this initiative will position New York as a leader in stem cell research, and will bring hope to millions of people suffering from a range of debilitating diseases."

Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association said: "These grants will bring New York's entire health care community closer to realizing the vast medical breakthroughs that stem cell research offers. I applaud Governor Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor Paterson for their leadership in advancing this critically important issue."

Maria Mitchell, Ph.D., Resident of AMDeC said: "AMDeC has long advocated on behalf of state funding for stem cell research and is delighted that the Governor, Lt. Governor and the Legislature have made such a sizable and strong commitment to this dynamic area of research this past April and that the program's Funding Committee, under the effective leadership of Dr. Richard Daines, has moved with such diligence and purpose in releasing this initial round of funding."

Robin Gelburd, chair person of New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research said: "The $600 million multi-year Empire State Stem Cell Program, marked by this initial round of $14.5 million in funding, announces to the national and international community that New York recognizes the importance of this promising area of discovery to the development of potential treatments and therapeutics and to the ability of New York's premier academic medical centers and research institutions to attract and retain the world's leading scientists as well as its importance to ensuring the overall economic well-being and vitality of this state."

Robert I. Grossman, M.D., Dean and CEO of NYU Medical Center said: "NYU Medical Center is extremely grateful to Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lt. Governor David Paterson for their leadership role in providing state funding for stem cell research, and for sparking such prompt and decisive action on the part of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. This initiative will offer new hope to many patients and their families, while also playing an important role in attracting and retaining exceptionally qualified scientists in New York State."

Daniel Sisto, President of the Healthcare Association of New York said: "This historic investment reinforces New York's position as a national leader in medical research and education. A commitment of this magnitude enables New York's medical research facilities to continue to make breakthroughs in stem cell research and bio-medicine. The knowledge gained and the advances made in these emerging fields will help shape the future of health care, and augment providers' ability to save lives and deliver the best possible treatment and care."

Susan Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) said: "The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) commends Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson and members of the Empire State Stem Cell Funding Board for today's announcement of grant awards to support stem cell research and training. We believe that society deserves the full commitment of scientific inquiry and today's funding announcement demonstrates the Spitzer Administration's dedication to advancing scientific discoveries in fields related to stem cell biology. This forward thinking will continue to position New York as a leader in stem cell research."

The recipients of one-year stem cell research institutional development grants are:

* Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Yeshiva University $999,933
* City College of New York/CUNY $198,000
* Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory $380,933
* Columbia U./Morningside $1,000,000
* Columbia U. Medical Center/Columbia U. Health Sciences $1,000,000
* Cornell University $1,000,000
* Hunter College -- CUNY $155,980
* Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research $1,000,000
* Montefiore Medical Center $150,899
* Mount Sinai School of Medicine $1,000,000
* New York Medical College $215,718
* New York State Psychiatric Institute $504,809
* New York University $553,586
* New York University School of Medicine $999,715
* Ordway Research Institute $100,000
* Polytechnic University of New York $100,000
* Roswell Park Cancer Institute $419,442
* SUNY Stony Brook $871,000
* SUNY Buffalo $606,422
* SUNY Downstate Medical Center $192,267
* Rockefeller University $768,426
* Trudeau Institute $101,457
* U. of Rochester School of Medicine/Dentistry $1,000,000
* SUNY Upstate Medical University $196,581
* Weill Cornell Medical College $997,382