Imagine generating new insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes; or stopping the toxic proteins that cause Alzheimer’s, then growing replacement nerve cells to reclaim memory and restore cognitive function. Cancer could be attacked from within by robbing tumor cells of their deadly ability to multiply unchecked. Stem cells could be grown into cardiac cells to repair a damaged heart. Cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and other diseases could be cured by adding back working copies of the missing genes whose absence gave rise to the illness.
These are the kinds of new therapies envisioned by UMass Medical School through the Advanced Therapeutics Cluster(ATC), a major new initiative to be housed in the Albert Sherman Center that will dramatically expand the school’s research efforts and focus some of the best minds in the world on creating new therapies for many debilitating diseases.
The mission of the ATC is to apply the knowledge flowing from the latest biomedical discoveries, develop new ways to treat disease and then drive those therapies into clinical trials. When complete, the ATC will include some 80 new faculty researchers with 700 scientific and support staff. Three integrated research programs will comprise the ATC:
The Gene Therapy Center
RNA Therapeutics Institute
Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine