Maryland Stem Cell Center Consortium & Core Facility
In order to take advantage of the potential of stem cells for the purposes of regenerative medicine, robust standardized methods are required to generate sufficient quantities of stem cells that meet defined criteria for specific stem/progenitor cell populations. Currently, the availability of these cells for research, drug screening and therapeutic use is limited due to technical challenges associated with their generation and expansion. On May 3, 2011, The University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Paragon Bioservices, Inc., a contract research and GMP manufacturing company, received a Biotechnology Shared Resource Award from the state of Maryland to establish The Maryland Stem Cell Consortium to facilitate the research, commercial development and clinical application of stem cell based technologies and therapies. A key component of the consortium is the establishment of a stem cell core facility that has expertise to expand and differentiate induced pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and other types of stem cells for laboratory and clinical research under GLP/GMP conditions, as needed. This core facility is open to all, without intellectual property reach-through. Cell banking and genetic modification of stem cells is also available. The core services are available on a fee-for-service model that is open to the wider stem cell community, public and private, especially in the state of Maryland. Life Technologies, Inc., a global biotechnology company that is a provider of scientific products and reagents, is also participating in the consortium and providing training opportunities for research scientists.
As a founding member of the consortium, the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine is committed to developing strong interactions between academia and the private sector and seeks to facilitate the partnering of faculty expertise with that of the external private and public sectors. The Center faculty are interested in the analysis of molecular pathways regulating basic stem cell biology, characterization of stem and progenitor cell properties to improve expansion of stem cells for transplantation, optimization of directed differentiation of pluripotent cells into distinct cell lineages, functional characterization of differentiated cells and testing the translational potential of stem cell and their progeny. Taking advantage of patient material from the University of Maryland Hospital System (a network of 12 hospitals centered at the adjacent ~1000-bed University of Maryland Medical Center plus the Baltimore Veterans Administration Hospital), Center faculty are establishing induced pluripotent stem models for human disease, such as Gaucher’s Disease. The Center’s researchers are also using mesenchymal stem cells for repair of a range of tissue types; and several of our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are involved in clinical trials to test stem cell-mediated cardiac repair. Via the Maryland Stem Cell Consortium, we hope to encourage productive scientific and intellectual interactions between researchers in academia, government and private sectors to accelerate stem cell related discoveries and their translation into much-needed treatments.
If you would like more information about the Maryland Stem Cell Consortium or are interested in participating, please contact the Center.