Gov. Rick Perry has announced the state will invest $5 million to expand and recruit researchers to the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Medicine's Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Scott and White. The governor also urged the Texas Legislature to continue to appropriate funds to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).
"Commercialization of adult stem cell research will provide much-needed solutions for Texans suffering from various tissue and organ disorders while protecting the unborn from exploitation," Gov. Perry said. "This investment will promote innovation and commercialization in this evolving biotechnology sector and attract top researchers and outside investment to the Institute of Regenerative Medicine."
Gov. Perry is committed to enhancing the quality of Texas' higher education system and building universities' research potential through the ETF by attracting world class researchers and their staffs to institutions in the state. This provides a dynamic environment for graduate and doctorate students, while building a culture of commercialization for research projects. To date, the ETF has allocated $56 million in funds to create 16 world class research centers at 12 universities, attracting more than 45 top researchers and their teams to the state and creating more than $69 million of industry capital investment.
Investments from Texas A&M and Scott and White helped recruit Darwin Prockop and his team of more than 70 researchers from Tulane University. The ETF award will help recruit additional members to the research team, who will work to commercialize 20 existing patent applications and five issued patents for regenerative technology and identify new commercialization opportunities.
Regenerative medicine focuses on the functional restoration of damaged organs and tissues rather than treatment to decrease or moderate symptoms.Initial research has shown that regenerative medicine has the ability to improve quality of treatment and decrease healthcare costs by replacing or repairing the malfunctioning tissues rather than treating them with therapies such as dialysis, implanting replacement devices, or transplanting organs.
"This investment by the state in the expansion of the Texas A&M Health Science Center ensures that Texas will continue to serve as a leader in medical research and innovation," said Nancy W. Dickey, president of TAMHSC and vice chancellor for health affairs for the Texas A&M University System. "Formation of this institute and recruitment of these world-class researchers will facilitate the growth of science, creation of new discoveries, and expansion within the biotechnology industry."
The ETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in
2005 at the governor's request and was reauthorized in 2007. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
For more information on the ETF, please visit www.emergingtechfund.com.