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Stem Cell Expert To Head Cedars’ New Regenerative Medicine Institute

Clive N. Svendsen, joint leader of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin, has been named director of the new Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, effective Dec. 1.      

Currently a professor of neurology and anatomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and consulting professor at Stanford University, Svendsen’s research focuses on both modeling and  treating neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Parkinson’s disease using a combination of stem cells and powerful growth factors.  

As director of the  National Institutes of Health-funded Stem Cell Training Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison and  editor of the Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research, he has also had a longstanding interest in stem cell  education, public policy and community outreach.     

Under Svendsen’s direction, the Regenerative Medicine Institute will bring together basic  scientists with specialist clinicians, physician scientists and translational scientists across multiple medical  specialties to translate stem-cell studies to therapeutic regenerative medicine.

The institute will  be housed in new laboratories being constructed for stem cell and regenerative medicine  research. At the heart of the Institute will be a specialized core facility for the production of pluripotent stem  cells (capable of making all tissues in the human body) from adult human skin biopsies.   

Cells produced  within the institute would be used in a variety of Cedars’ research programs (initially focusing  on understanding the causes of and finding treatments for diseases of the brain, heart, eye, liver, kidney,  pancreas and skeletal structures, as well as cancer and metabolic disorders).       

“Under Dr. Svendsen’s leadership, Cedars-Sinai will integrate all of our stem cell research into one  streamlined translational effort. The synergy of our clinical strengths and the scientific expertise of Dr.  Svendsen will empower us to accomplish unparalleled medical advances,” said Shlomo Melmed, MD, senior  vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Cedars-Sinai.

“This is an exciting time in  regenerative medicine and we look forward to understanding more about disease and discovering new  treatments that will emanate from stem cell research,” Melmed said.

“I was attracted to join Cedars-Sinai because of the medical center’s strong commitment to translational  medicine, its outstanding faculty and resources, and its willingness and ability to move research from the  lab to the patient as quickly as possible,” Svendsen said.  “Stem cell therapies offer new hope to patients  with many life-threatening diseases, but require the integration of both basic and clinical scientists along  with a careful balance of hype and hope in this emotive field.  We plan to recruit some of the best  researchers to join with the current Cedars-Sinai physicians and scientists to ensure that Cedars-Sinai will  be at the forefront of this endeavor.”  

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