The Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at Gladstone has been created to honor the legacy of Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry.
The Roddenberry Foundation, co-founded by Rod Roddenberry, donated five million dollars to establish the Center, which will “build on Gladstone’s existing expertise in stem cell science, helping to speed the process by which discoveries are turned into therapies for a host of devastating illnesses.”
“This gift is our largest to date, and with it, we hope to help accelerate advances in biomedical research,” said Roddenberry. “In addition, if our support can inspire one child to become a scientist, one organization to become more charitable, one person to simply invest himself or herself in improving the future of our world, then our foundation can be a catalyst in making the future envisioned through Star Trek a reality.”
“Today’s biggest challenge for solving disease is getting the investments required to transform our basic-science discoveries into health solutions that can alleviate human suffering,” said Deepak Srivastava, MD, who directs both stem cell and cardiovascular research at Gladstone. “We are a basic science institute—but with the purpose of solving three major disease groups.”
The three major disease groups include: cardiovascular disease, viruses such as HIV/AIDS and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“Research at the new center can help to change that, in part by building on pioneering work done by Gladstone senior investigator Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD. In 2006, Dr. Yamanaka and his Kyoto University team discovered how to reprogram skin cells into cells that, like embryonic stem cells, can develop into other cells in the body. This discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, has since altered the fields of cell biology and stem cell research, opening promising new prospects for both personalized and regenerative medicine.
“To further develop Dr. Yamanaka’s iPS technology in order to create patient solutions, the Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at Gladstone today is also announcing a collaboration agreement with CiRA. This accord will clear a path for these two leading stem cell centers to freely exchange materials and knowledge—all in order to accelerate the advancement of their stem cell research results into therapeutics to improve human health.”
“The Roddenberry gift will help us create the human, iPS-based disease models that we need to accelerate the development of drug therapies for a host of devastating diseases, honoring Gene Roddenberry’s call to ‘live long and prosper,'” said Dr. Srivastava.