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Tulane Gene Therapy Center Receives $10 Million Grant For Stem Cell Research

Related News: Stem Cell Investment The Tulane Center for Gene Therapy announced a grant of more than $9.5 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study the use of adult stem cells for lung diseases. The five-year grant will fund four projects involving investigators at the Tulane and LSU Health Sciences Centers. In addition, Tulane announced a major expansion of the center's activities.

"We're excited to announce today the expansion of our gene therapy program," says Paul Whelton, senior vice president for health sciences at Tulane. "With the expertise we have in the field of regenerative medicine and the excitement about the future of adult stem cell therapy, Tulane is investing additional resources and space."

The four lung disease projects will study the use of adult stem cells to repair damaged tissue from asbestos exposure, emphysema and cystic fibrosis. Researchers also will try to determine which stem cells will produce the most beneficial results.

The Tulane Center for Gene Therapy, directed by Darwin Prockop, has pioneered adult stem cell research in pulmonology for more than two years, Whelton says.

"Most lung diseases destroy the architecture of the lungs," Prockop says, "so they represent difficult problems. We have to learn how to correct the defect with adult stem cells and restore lung function," says Prockop, principal investigator on the new grant. "Adult stem cells seem to have an almost miraculous capability to go to damaged tissue to repair the damage."