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Stanford receives funding for unique cancer and stem cell biology institute

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford University has received a $12 million commitment from an anonymous donor to establish a new Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, a multi-disciplinary initiative that is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, it was announced today. The institute will bring together basic and clinical scientists in a unified effort that will harness the power of stem cell biology and cancer biology to develop novel treatments for cancer as well as other devastating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and cardiovascular disease. The institute will be directed by renowned stem cell researcher Irving Weissman, MD, the Karel H. and Avice N. Beekhuis Professor in Cancer Biology.

"This is a major undertaking that will capitalize on Stanford's expertise in stem cell and cancer research. It exemplifies our goal of translating the fruits of laboratory research into therapies that will directly benefit patients," said Philip A. Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and a distinguished cancer researcher.

Weissman said research in his lab and elsewhere suggests that in some cancers, such as leukemia, the cancer cells grow and proliferate in much the same way as stem cells. Scientists at the new institute will explore these similarities with the goal of developing powerful new stem cell-based therapies to treat cancer, he said.

"What we're doing is examining these two fields that we thought were separate and looking at the overlap that exists between them," Weissman said.

He said institute scientists also will work to develop a new series of embryonic stem cell lines that will serve as models for a wide range of genetically related diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, allergies and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

"We want to translate the advances i
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Contact: Neale Mulligan
nealem@stanford.edu
1-650-724-2454
Stanford University Medical Center
10-Dec-2002


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