First Quantum Grant to fund stem cell repair of damage from stroke

HOUSTON, Oct. 9, 2006 The National Institutes of Health has named researchers at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Rice University in Houston as the first and only recipients of the inaugural Quantum Grant for their international research initiative to regenerate damaged brain cells and blood vessels for the treatment of stroke.

The three-year, $2.9 million grant, funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the NIH, will support research on neuro-vascular regeneration, which will make new brain tissues in the laboratory. The new brain tissue is planned to have its own blood supply to allow it to be placed into the damaged brains of stroke patients where it will provide a source of neural and vascular cells that will continue to develop and differentiate, repairing the injured tissue in the process.

"This project represents an integrated effort among leading scientists who have jointly authored numerous publications, mentored students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as collaborated on Bioengineering Research Partnership grants," said Jennifer West, who is leading the project's efforts at Rice. West is the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering and director of Rice's Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering.

The newly created NIBIB Quantum Grants Program supports researchers in the development of innovative biomedical technologies in hopes of making a significant impact in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Funding was awarded to only one grant application out of more than 100 submitted.

Karen Hirschi, deputy director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center within the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at BCM, is the principal investigator for the "Neuro-Vascular Regeneration" project, which will be conducted in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Rice, the National Institute for Medical Research in London, and Kin

Contact: Jade Boyd
Rice University

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