San Diego institutes plan $115M stem cell lab

Four of San Diego's biggest research institutions are teaming up to form the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, a group aimed at advancing stem cell work. The four research bodies--UCSD, Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research--are planning a $115 million research "collaboratory" that would open in 2010. Each of the institutes brings something different to the Consortium. Salk and the Burnham Institute both have strong stem cell programs, Scripps is know for it medicinal chemistry, and UCSD has a stem cell program, medical engineers and access to patients who could participate in tests for therapies. Consortium members hope that by pooling their strengths they can quickly identify breakthrough drugs based on stem cell research.

"We have this vision of getting people with common interests in the same place so you get a synergy that enhances everyone's individual capacity and makes things go faster," said Larry Goldstein, a Howard Hughes Institute stem cell researcher at the University of California San Diego.

Some of the project's funding will come from the $3 billion stem cell initiative California approved in 2004. An unnamed donor contributed $30 million to the project and the Consortium will have to scrape together $72 million more. The center will be based in San Diego in the Torrey Pines biotech cluster.

- here's the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune
- and check out the AP report

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