Rochester, N.Y. - The laboratories may resemble old ones, but the new stem cell facility at the University of Rochester Medical Center can do more than most. The Upstate Stem Cell "current good manufacturing practice" or cGMP Facility was built to create stem cells.
"Unlike what they do in the research labs, most of the material they make is for basic research studies going into animal models," said Mike Fiske, Executive Director of the facility. "We are actually going to manufacture materials that go into humans."
The facility cost nearly $3 million and was largely funded through state money, according to a spokesperson for URMC.
With the opportunity to research spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, among other ailments, the center is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars in research funding.
Edward Schwarz, Ph.D. Is among the first four researchers whose teams will begin work at Upstate Stem Cell immediately.
His team will work with stem cells in an effort analyze bone health and guard against infections.
Upstate Stem Cell could help researchers like Schwarz answer tough questions about the uses of stem cells.
"How do we learn on a large scale to reproductively grow these stem cells or antibodies, purify them and insure their efficacy," said Schwarz.
"We are now poised for early stage clinical studies in a wide range of conditions, including efforts to repair damage to the central nervous system, re-grow bone and cartilage, and even select and destroy stem cells that are the source of some forms of cancer,"
said Mark Noble, Ph.D., director of the URMC Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute.
Upstate Stem Cell is located at URMC's DelMonte Neuromedicine Research Institute.