Spring 2011

Message From the Chair - Neuroscience Spring 2011

The Accelerating Promise of Regenerative Medicine

Few areas of medicine have been as fascinating and promising as stem cell research. While some aspects of this research have been mired in controversy and funding stalled at the federal level, scientists are making significant progress and startling discoveries about the mechanisms of self-renewal and differentiation.

Nowhere is this more true than in California, where the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has served as the public funding source of high-risk, high-reward research into stem cell-based therapies. The UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center is currently leading a CIRM-funded program to develop a stem cell therapy for malignant brain tumors and this year, CIRM awarded $1.8 million to the laboratory of UCSF investigator Daniel Lim, M.D., Ph.D., to improve cell transplantation therapies.

While we have shown that stem cells can be effectively delivered into the brains of mice, the current technologies used to deliver cells into the human brain are not as effective. Overcoming the technical hurdles to cell-based therapies is just as critical to our success as unlocking the mysteries of cell fate.

By combining interdisciplinary expertise in bioengineering, neurosurgery and stem cell biology, Lim and his colleagues are poised to make a significant impact on translating basic knowledge of stem cells into regenerative medicine for patients.

In February, UCSF opened the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building, which houses 25 stem cell labs paid for solely by private and state funds. The building is a hub for scientists collaborating to advance all aspects of stem cell research and a symbol of UCSF’s commitment to push the envelope of science and medicine.

Mitchel S. Berger, M.D.
Kathleen M. Plant Distinguished Professor and Chair
UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery

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