Two prominent researchers at UC Davis are under a microscope for their work in stem-cell biotechnology. The pair from University of California, Davis was awarded close to $4 million in funding to improve biotechnology intended for physicians studying stem cell treatments.
The two grant awards, of over $1.8 million each, were awarded to Laura Marcu and Kent Leach by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to continue developing technology that is used in stem cell treatments for vascular disease, bone and cartilage repair.
These grants are part of almost $30 million in "tools and technologies" funding to be distributed over a three-year period by CIRM, whose purpose is to encourage the design and testing of new or existing technologies to help get stem cell therapies to market.
Laura Marcu, a professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery, and her colleagues, will receive $1.84 million to research and test technology that combines optical and ultrasound imaging to track progress made by stem cell tissues transplanted into the body to restore blood flow related to cardiovascular disease.
Also at UC Davis, associate professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery Kent Leach will receive $1.85 million to continue work studying how stem cells can speed tissue repair in broken bones.
“The broad range of biophotonic and ultrasound technologies developed in our laboratory could improve our ability to produce safer, more functional engineered tissues in the laboratory and large animal models to speed their use in clinical settings,” said Marcu, who also is co-principal investigator on Leach’s research project. “It should improve real-time, non-invasive, label-free imaging capabilities and give us a more thorough assessment of site-specific cellular growth and functional properties when engineered tissues are used.”
According to a university press release, this new diagnostic technology could accelerate the development and clinical applications of everything from engineered vascular grafts, which currently can pose significant complications for patients, to stem cell therapies for regenerating bone and cartilage in diseased or damaged areas of the human body.
“Sometimes even the most promising therapy can be derailed by a tiny problem,” said Jonathan Thomas, chair of the CIRM Board. “These awards are designed to help find ways to overcome those problems, to bridge the gaps in our knowledge and ensure that the best research is able to keep progressing and move out of the lab and into clinical trials in patients.”
Counting these two grants, UC Davis has received more than $125 million in support grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine since 2005. The university is a leader in regenerative medicine, with more than 150 scientists working on a broad range of stem cell-related research projects at campus locations in Davis and Sacramento.
For example, UC Davis’ Institute for Regenerative Cures, a facility supported by CIRM, opened in 2010 on the Sacramento campus. This $62 million facility is the university's hub for stem cell science, and it includes Northern California's largest academic Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory for testing and manufacturing cellular and gene therapies.
Other pertinent examples of UC Davis life science funding include:
- UC Davis has almost 1,000 basic science, translational and clinical research studies in progress.
- In 2014, the University of California, Davis Health System received over $220 million in external research funding.
- UC Davis provides 225 scientists with $85 million in research funding to improve cancer care.
As a leading bioresearch institution, UC Davis is home to some of California’s most active and highly subsidized scientists. Researchers at UC Davis are in constant need of laboratory supplies and stay well abreast of new developments in biotechnology, making this campus a premier marketplace for lab vendors and suppliers.
In order to market the latest and best products to these prominent researchers, lab vendors should consider exhibiting their products at the 15th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, to be held at The UC Davis Medical Center on February 25, 2015.
Last year, the Biotechnology Vendor Showcase™ Event at the University of California, San Diego attracted 644 attendees, making this event one of the most popular and lucrative life science tradeshows in the industry and the nation. For more information on this wonderful opportunity to network with lab vendors and researchers in a university setting, click below:
Image credit: Marcelo Terraza