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Stanford announces new Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine



The Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine, a joint initiative of the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health, opened recently to provide the organizational and physical infrastructure to support investigator-initiated clinical translational studies on stem cell and gene therapy. The center will work to turn discoveries into stem cell and gene therapies to aid the millions of people who have genetic diseases.

Housed within the Department of Pediatrics, it will be directed by renowned clinician and scientist Maria Grazia Roncarolo, M.D., professor of stem cell and regenerative medicine, pediatrics and medicine. 

The center is designed to allow the rapid development of early scientific discoveries into the clinic. It includes an interdisciplinary team of basic and clinical scientists to shepherd nascent therapies developed at Stanford. The team will be headed by associate directors Matthew Porteus, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics, and Anthony Oro, M.D., professor of dermatology.

To help with clinical development, the center boasts a dedicated stem cell clinical trial office with Sandeep Soni, M.D., clinical associate professor of pediatrics, as medical director. In addition, the center has dedicated clinical trial hospital beds in the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases located on the top floor of the soon-to-open Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. From work performed by scientists over the past decade, the center already has a backlog of nearly two dozen early stage therapies whose development the center will accelerate.            

The center will also work closely with the recently opened $35 million Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine, a 23,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Headed by executive director David DiGiusto, Ph.D., the lab can produce diverse cellular products for patient use, such as genetically corrected bone marrow cells for sickle cell anemia, genetically engineered skin grafts for children with the genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa or genetically engineered lymphocytes to fight rejection and leukemia.

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