University of Miami's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute Awarded $10 Million Grant

University of Miami's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute

Awarded $10 Million Grant from Starr Foundation

Grant to Support ISCI's Mission to Translate Stem Cell Discoveries

Into Pipeline of Therapies for Debilitating Conditions

 

MIAMI, May 3, 2012 -- The University of Miami Miller School of
Medicine's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) today
announced that it received a $10 million grant from The Starr
Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United
States. The grant will support ISCI in broadening its preclinical and
clinical research on stem cells, and help accelerate its pipeline of
translational research and programs for a wide range of debilitating
conditions including cardiac disease, cancer, wound healing, stroke,
glaucoma and chronic kidney and gastrointestinal diseases.

 

"This is a momentous and transformative gift for the Interdisciplinary
Stem Cell Institute," said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A.,
Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller
School of Medicine and director of ISCI. "We are so gratified that the
level of science being conducted here was recognized by this very
generous grant from The Starr Foundation. With this award, we join the
ranks of the other major top-tier universities funded by The Starr
Foundation. This support, along with our growing NIH funding,
technology transfer, and other philanthropic efforts guarantees the
stability of ISCI through the end of the decade, and will allow us to
continue to push the boundaries of regenerative medicine with the goal
of improving human health."

 

"Stem cells and regenerative medicine are poised to transform the way
we practice medicine, cure disease and treat injuries. To realize this
potential, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is
performing world-leading research at ISCI," said Pascal J.
Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean
of the Miller School of Medicine, and Chief Executive Officer of the
University of Miami Health System. "We are extremely proud of this
recognition by The Starr Foundation that ISCI, and the Miller School
of Medicine, are leading the way for stem cell and regenerative
medicine breakthroughs."

 

Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami, said the grant
from the foundation will have "long-reaching implications for future
medicine. The team at ISCI is making new discoveries on a number of
fronts and this substantial support from The Starr Foundation propels
that work forward, both in the laboratory and in clinical trials."

 

The Starr Foundation has long been a champion of stem cell research
and its potential to dramatically change the way physicians treat and
cure disease. Similarly, ISCI was founded in 2008 with the goal to
discover and advance cell-based therapies for devastating and
untreatable diseases and help unlock the power of regenerative
medicine. ISCI's groundbreaking cardiac clinical trials, led by Dr.
Hare, account for the largest cohort of patients injected with stem
cells in the United States. These trials have demonstrated that stem
cells injected into hearts following a heart attack actually repair
damage and improve organ function, and compelling study results have
been published in Circulation Research, where the article was one of
the top 10 read publications of 2011.

 

"The Starr Foundation has had long ties to the University of Miami and
our total grants, including the endowed C. V. Starr Scholarship Fund,
now total more than $15.5 million," said Maurice R. Greenberg,
chairman of The Starr Foundation. "We learned about some of the
interesting stem cell research at Miami, specifically efforts to
rebuild damaged hearts, and we wanted to help further that research as
it moved into clinical applications."

 

ISCI is currently leading 13 clinical trials evaluating the use of
stem cells in patients with conditions including congestive heart
failure, skin wounds, burns, pulmonary fibrosis and stroke. The
POSEIDON clinical trial, an ongoing Phase 1/2 study led by Dr. Hare,
is designed to compare the effects of autologous (from the patient)
mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with allogeneic (from an unrelated
donor) MSCs in patients with heart failure. This NIH-sponsored study
is the first clinical trial to compare autologous to allogeneic stem
cells and is expected to provide valuable insights and data when it is
completed later this year.

 

"We try to stay current with developments at our long-time grantees
and sometimes this leads to additional grants based on compelling
projects," said Florence A. Davis, president of The Starr Foundation.
"The team at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute is energetic
and dedicated—it was a good fit for our medical research grant
making."

 

About The Starr Foundation

Established in 1955 by insurance entrepreneur Cornelius Vander Starr,
The Starr Foundation awards grants for philanthropic projects in areas
such as education, health care, human needs, public policy, and
cultural arts. In the area of education, which is traditionally one of
the foundation's highest priorities, the foundation provides
need-based financial aid to students by endowing C.V. Starr
Scholarship Funds at more than 140 secondary schools, colleges, and
universities, including the University of Miami. The foundation's
chairman of the board, Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, attended the
University of Miami in the late 1940s, and his wife, Corinne, is an
alumna.

About the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute

The Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), founded in 2008 at
the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is on the cutting
edge of translating stem cell therapies. ISCI's goal is to spearhead
cell based therapies for a host of untreatable diseases. Its focus
includes research in basic cell biology, hematology, oncology,
cardiology, dermatology, diabetes and endocrinology, neurology,
orthopaedics, pediatrics, and ethics and science policy. For more
information, visit www.isci.med.miami.edu.

 

About the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine was
founded in 1952 as the first medical school in Florida and is
acclaimed nationally and internationally for research, patient care,
education and community service in the United States, South America
and the Caribbean. Serving more than five million people as the only
academic medical center in South Florida, the Miller School of
Medicine and UHealth-University of Miami Health System have earned
international acclaim for patient care and research innovations.  The
Miller School ranks in the top third among U.S. medical schools in
terms of research funding awarded. For more information, visit
www.med.miami.edu.

 

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