Columbia University launches multi-year campaign to support stem cell research

NEW YORK, NY, June 15, 2005 Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) announced today that it is halfway toward realizing the first phase of a multi-year campaign to build upon the university's groundbreaking stem cell research and lead the effort to fully realize the therapeutic potential of stem cells. Of the $50 million goal for the first stage of the campaign, $25 million has been raised from the private sector, specifically for diabetes and neural stem cell research.

Columbia University Medical Center researchers are at the forefront of an extraordinary movement to revolutionize medical approaches to therapeutics through its Stem Cell Initiative. Columbia's leadership in developmental biology, neuroscience research, transplantation, and cell replacement therapy uniquely positions the university to push stem cell research forward, and more than 40 CUMC researchers are currently conducting leading stem cell studies.

"This initiative will provide our researchers with the resources necessary to fully realize the potential of stem cells," said Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University Medical Center and dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons. "Columbia continues to be a leader in this revolutionary health technology that holds the promise to benefit people suffering from a wide variety of debilitating health problems."

Federal restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research funding and lagging state funds have limited available government support for this emerging and promising research, prompting CUMC to reach out to the private sector with this crucial stem cell initiative.

CUMC researchers are currently exploring the vast potential of stem cells to treat a wide range of illnesses, including Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), diabetes, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, stroke and other diseases of the nervous system, liver, eye,

Contact: Craig LeMoult
Columbia University Medical Center

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