It's a win for
The board oversees $600 million dollars in biomedical research funding; critical dollars which could help find new treatments and even cures for a long list of diseases. Currently, researchers at URMC are working on stem cell therapies for the following diseases: cancer, brain tumors, spinal cord injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and childhood neurological disorders.
Not only is the appointment an important move for
“People said to me, why would you go from Queens down in the City, you could have done Columbia, you could have done Mt. Sinai, all these different places and I said because I have found no one more dedicated to this cause than Dr. Bradford Berk,” says NYS Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) who pushed for Berk to be appointed to the board.
Berk will now be one of three Upstate NY physicians to sit on the 12-seat Empire State Stem Cell Board. A physician from
“I think we will be a major player in
The University of
“There's going to be a lot of technology developed around stem cells, harvesting them, growing them, engineering them to make them better to deliver them to specific areas,” says Dr. Berk.
The Empire State Stem Cell Board will designate funding toward adult stem cell, cancer stem cell and the controversial embryonic stem cell research projects across the state.
“We actually haven't been able to work on stem cells because the bulk of our research funding dollars come from federal sources which have prohibited completely that line of investigation,” says Dr. Edward Schwarz, URMC Director of Molecular Therapeutics.
Dr. Schwarz’s lab is currently investigating ways to re-grow limbs using adult stem cells.
“Right now, with our wars in the Middle East, we're looking at a potential crisis with so many of our veterans coming back, very young as amputees,” says Dr. Schwarz.
It’s projects like Dr. Schwarz’s which hold the potential to create job opportunities in
“Two large industries I think will grow out of stem cells. One based on diseases, the second based on technology specific to optimizing the use of stem cells,” says Dr. Berk who also believes stem cell research will also help improve the current shortage of certain doctors in the Greater Rochester area.
“Having an institution that has expertise in stem cell biology I think will be attractive to physicians of all types, whether you're a surgeon, a pediatrician, a neurologist. All of those physicians are going to be very excited to come some place where they can make a difference.”