UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SCHOOL AND MASSACHUSETTS LIFE SCIENCES CENTER ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL REGISTRY

September 11, 2008 

BOSTON – – The University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced the launch of the International Stem Cell Registry (ISCR). As an initial component of Governor Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, the ISCR received a $570,000 grant from the MLSC.

“This is an important step forward as we continue to make strategic investments in growing industries in Massachusetts, including the life sciences,” said Governor Patrick. “The International Stem Cell Registry will provide important information for stem cell research that will lead to cures for illnesses, a stronger economy and good jobs at good wages in every region of the Commonwealth.”

The ISCR provides an online resource of information on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to the academic and private sector biomedical research community and to the public. Envisioned as a “one stop shop” for hESC information, the site details the properties and potential applications of specific hESC lines and includes information about obtaining the cells and a catalog of references related to each hESC line. While researchers can use the information to inform their scientific studies, patients can use the website to gain information about stem cell advances that may benefit them, and doctors can stay current on information relevant to their patients. The website will provide information at varying levels of complexity, ensuring that each constituency can access the information in a practical format.

Though the ground-breaking database is still evolving, it will ultimately provide a searchable and comprehensive catalog of published and validated unpublished information on every human embryonic stem cell line derived to date. 

“The launch of the Stem Cell Registry represents a milestone for the Commonwealth and will help to further solidify the state’s position as the global leader in life sciences. A Registry here in Massachusetts will further accelerate the important biomedical research already being done in the State and will enhance the potential impact of projects that the Center funds in the future,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President and CEO of the Center.

“As the state’s public medical school, we are so pleased to be partnering with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center on this exciting and important initiative,” said Michael F. Collins, MD, Interim Chancellor of the Medical School.  “The International Stem Cell Registry will immediately begin providing scientific benefits and establishing credentials for Massachusetts within the global scientific community, and those credentials will provide the Commonwealth with a platform from which to build its broader life sciences initiative.” 

The ISCR is run out of the Medical School’s Shrewsbury campus alongside the Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank, also funded by the MLSC and slated to commence activities this fall.

For more information on the ISCR, please visit the Web site at http://www.umassmed.edu/iscr.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $189 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The work of UMMS researcher Craig Mello, PhD, an investigator of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and his colleague Andrew Fire, PhD, then of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, toward the discovery of RNA interference was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, hailed as the "Breakthrough of the Year" in 2002 by Science magazine and has spawned a new and promising field of research, the global impact of which may prove astounding. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.umassmed.edu.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, created by the Massachusetts legislature in June 2006.  It was established to promote the life sciences within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is tasked with investing in life sciences research and economic development. The MLSC’s work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions growing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community.  For more information, please visit www.masslifesciences.com