Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson announced the first grant awards of New York State's new $600 million multi-year stem cell research program, offering new hope to people who suffer from debilitating and life threatening diseases and ailments such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer. The awards -- totaling $14.5 million -- were approved today at a meeting in New York City of the Funding Committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Board.
In an effort to quickly boost New York's biomedical research capability, the first awards are being made eight months after Governor Spitzer created a stem cell research initiative in the 2007-2008 budget.
"Innovative stem cell research has the potential to yield therapies that may prevent, treat and perhaps even cure many debilitating and life threatening conditions," said Governor Spitzer. "I thank the members of the Stem Cell Board for their monumental effort to quickly award funding to invigorate stem cell research at institutions throughout the state and help build the infrastructure needed to support a robust research community."
Lieutenant Governor Paterson said: "With a total investment of $600 million dollars over 11 years, New York State is now a leader in supporting stem cell research. Today's awards are just the first step. More research grants will be announced this year, as the Stem Cell Board is currently considering several additional funding proposals."
In the first round of funding, 25 institutions received one-year development grants to support stem cell research and training. These Institutional Development Grants are designed to increase the capacity of New York State research institutions to engage in stem cell research.
In the first round, all not-for-profit research institutions in New York that received at least $1 million in biomedical funding in 2006 from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation were eligible to apply for between $100,000 and $1 million in state funding. Institutions could request funding support for direct stem cell research, stem cell research equipment and infrastructure, and for training stem cell researchers.
With this influx of state support, scientists throughout New York will now be able to:
- Continue or supplement their active stem cell research to enhance outcomes (78 awards);
- Purchase large equipment and instrumentation (infrastructure) to be shared by researchers and/or institutions in stem cell research (41 awards); or,
- Receive specialized training for scientists to enter the field of stem cell research, thus expanding the community of stem cell scientists in New York State (23 awards).
Together these awards provide $6.1 million for direct stem cell research, $7.4 million for stem cell research infrastructure, and $1 million for stem cell research training.
Future stem cell funding Requests for Applications (RFA's) expected to be approved by the Stem Cell Research Board and issued by the State Health Department in the next few months will focus on fostering collaboration among the state's stem cell scientists and their partners, support innovative investigator-initiated research, and accelerate research on the latest scientific findings, including induced pluripotent stem cells (cells that have the capacity to become other cells).
These new RFA's will invite research institutions to apply for funding to support:
-Emerging opportunities in stem cell research and research consortia planning;
-Investigation of pluripotent stem cells and other approaches for deriving these stem cells;
-Grants to stimulate and support new discoveries in stem cell research; and,
-Shared stem cell research equipment or core facilities grants.
In addition, the Board's Funding Committee is working with the Board's Ethics Committee to develop Requests for Applications for funding to support research on the ethical, legal and social implications of stem cell research, as well as the need to create curricula at the high school and undergraduate college levels to encourage and foster the next generation of stem cell scientists.
Illustration: NY State.
New York State Governor’s Press Release (01/07/08)
WCBS TV (01/07/08)
Cells News (01/08/08)
The Ithaca Journal (01/08/08)