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Columbia, Stony Brook, Guidant to develop biological pacemaker based on gene & cell therapies

NEW YORK, NY, August 26, 2004 Guidant Corporation of Indianapolis, Ind., Columbia University and Stony Brook University will collaborate to study a new gene and cell therapy that may ultimately provide better understanding of how genetically-engineered cells can help pace the heart. This five-year, phased investment will build on recent basic research conducted at the universities. The goal of the program is to develop better treatment options for people with heart disease. Terms of the investment are not being disclosed.

Research at the universities suggests the possibility of developing a biological pacemaker, one that can vary the heart's beats to fit the body's needs, as is required during variations in exercise or emotion.

"The opportunity to translate this important technology from basic research into human therapy fits in with our mission at Columbia University Medical Center," said Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., executive vice president and dean of the faculty of medicine at CUMC. "We look forward to collaborating with Guidant and Stony Brook and harnessing the potential of this new treatment."

"This extraordinary venture with Columbia and Guidant vastly expands the possibilities to enhance research into gene therapy," said Gail Habicht, Ph.D., Stony Brook vice president for research.

Research will be conducted in four laboratories at the universities: those of Michael R. Rosen, M.D., Gustavus A Pfeiffer Professor of Pharmacology and professor of pediatrics at Columbia; Richard B. Robinson, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at Columbia; Ira S. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Leading Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at Stony Brook; and Peter R. Brink, Ph.D., professor and chairman of Physiology and Biophysics at Stony Brook. The research grew out of collaborations between Columbia's Center for Molecular Therapeutics, headed by Dr. Rosen, and Stony Brook's Institute of Molecular Cardiology, headed by Dr. Cohen.

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Contact: Annie Bayne
as862@columbia.edu
212-305-3900
Columbia University Medical Center
26-Aug-2004


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