An $8.8 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM) will accelerate efforts by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to develop new stem cell-based treatments for chemotherapy-resistant blood cancer and other genetic blood disorders.
Increasing Stem Cells Collected
Specifically, the grant is expected to advance ongoing research efforts seeking to increase the number of stem cells in cord blood collections. Blood stem cell transplantation is the only potential therapy available for most patients with blood cancers. To obtain blood stem cells for transplant, doctors use cord blood collections, which contain only limited numbers of stem cells. Mount Sinai researchers have developed a method to increase the number of collected stem cells to 35 times that of the average collected now. The grant will move this research ahead to clinical trials in collaboration with biotechnology firms NeoStem and AllCells, leaders in cellular therapy.
Ronald Hoffman, MD, Albert A. and Vera G. List Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology, Professor of Gene and Cell Medicine, and Director of the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Program at Icahn, will head this research project. Dr. Hoffman is a leader in stem cell research, and his earlier observation of myeloproliferative neoplasms and the biology of human hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells have led to therapeutic trials to improve therapy of this disease.
“We are grateful to NYSTEM for providing a unique opportunity to move our discoveries in the laboratory to a clinical setting,” said Dr. Hoffman. “We are able to build upon 30 years of work to develop new treatment options for our patients.” ■