From the Dean of Faculty
Every day, our experts aspire to transform innovative ideas into tangible reality. … The possibilities are awe-inspiring.
Each year, the National Institutes of Health invests approximately $1.5 billion in stem cell research. Cedars-Sinai has been honored to be a recipient of some of these highly competitive funds, which have paved the way for exciting advances in the field of regenerative medicine.
Every day, our experts aspire to transform innovative ideas into tangible reality. We have entered an era when cell and tissue regeneration is both feasible and clinically relevant. We are utilizing newly regenerated tissues for accurate disease modeling, drug discovery, therapeutic trials, and more.
The possibilities are awe-inspiring. We now can grow a patient’s own diseased tissue in the laboratory, allowing us to revert the illness back to its early stages to understand the disease process, and, perhaps, reverse it. Recreating tissues and even producing organ facsimiles enable us to screen medications to identify the safest and best treatment protocols without exposing patients to potentially toxic side effects. In addition, many animal studies and proposed clinical trials are combining stem cell therapy with gene therapy to produce a gene that can be artificially inserted into a patient’s diseased tissue to activate a therapeutic growth factor (a naturally occurring substance that stimulates proliferation of cells involved in tissue healing).
At Cedars-Sinai, these scientific achievements have real-world implications for our patients with heart disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), blindness, joint and vertebral dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions.
In this issue of Discoveries, you will read about our progress in leveraging leading-edge cardiac stem cell technology to combat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Another story highlights the role regenerative medicine may play in unlocking the mysteries underlying idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic and serious lung disease.
The future is already here at our doorstep. At Cedars-Sinai, our distinguished researchers and physicians are harnessing their skills and experience to break ground on novel discoveries and expanding opportunities to improve and extend patients’ lives. This is the hallmark of our work: driving innovation to make a meaningful difference for the people who rely on us each day. On their behalf, we will continue to broaden our investigations into regenerative medicine and collaborate with colleagues from across the nation to chart a healthy and vibrant future for all.
Shlomo Melmed, MD
Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs
Dean of the Medical Faculty
Helene A. and Philip E. Hixon Distinguished Chair in Investigative Medicine