ISCRM

About the Institute

Mission

The University of Washington Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) is committed to the ethical pursuit of basic research to unleash the enormous potential of stem cells and thereby develop therapies and cures.

Strategy

The University and its affiliated institutions, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and Children's Hospital, are widely regarded as leaders among the premiere biomedical research institutions in the world, with great strengths in the constellation of areas crucial for success in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Our strategy is to bring these interdisciplinary strengths together, and to leverage our basic research to develop therapies. ISCRM integrates diverse scientific and clinical disciplines.

Figure: ISCRM integrates diverse scientific and clinical disciplines. The synergy that this interaction promotes facilitates the development of therapies for regenerative medicine.

How the team will implement the strategy of leveraging research to develop therapies

Use an integrative approach to study stem cells and their normal biology

Looking forward, what do we need to do to leverage the above track record and expertise to develop new therapies for diseases ranging from heart failure to diabetes? We propose that we need a highly efficient, highly integrated research process to enable basic discoveries in stem cell science, and an innovative, cutting edge pathway for converting these discoveries into ground breaking clinical trials. The University of Washington is uniquely positioned among biomedical research institutions in its ability to lead both in basic discovery and its application to the treatment of disease. A realization of this vision requires that we leverage our world-class scientific expertise to focus on understanding stem cells, while simultaneously positioning ourselves to rapidly exploit this knowledge for the benefit of patients.

We emphasize the importance of building upon a broad foundation of strength because success in stem cell and regenerative medicine requires the coordinated input of diverse disciplines, including stem cell biology, bioengineering, cancer biology, developmental biology, genomics, proteomics, small molecule chemistry and drug development, nanotechnology, and the clinical sciences. For example, Developmental Biology is the historical home for studies of progenitor/stem cells of all types. How germ cells give rise to new eggs, how regeneration uses many of the same mechanisms as embryonic development, and how cancer might recapitulate aspects of embryonic cell programs have all been studied by developmental biologists for decades, which informs us as we move forward. Importantly, the University is one of the leading centers in the country for the study of developmental biology.

Work with clinicians to develop cell transplantation methods

The Institute will play a lead role in training scientists in the science of stem cells, and in training transplant surgeons to become cell transplant surgeons. A key component to success is the installation of an iterative process, whereby obstacles encountered in clinical trials open the door to unanticipated new research questions, with answers that lead to new clinical trials and ultimately, effective therapies.

Work in a transparent, open manner

All activities of the Institute will be imbued with an expectation of adhering to the highest standards of ethics and will have normal oversight and transparency in accordance with University policies.

Engage in outreach

We will succeed only if our vision is shared, supported, encouraged, and trusted by the public. We shall continually engage the public, the press, and state legislators to listen and then to inform them of our goals, and our approaches.

Our team of clinicians and scientists

Our team of faculty are dedicated to our mission statement, and cover a broad spectrum of academic units, backgrounds, and talents. It is the diversity of the team and their collaborative interactions that will enable us to develop novel therapies.