Stem-cell research building opens at Stanford

Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building is largest of its kind in the country, university says

Stanford University today celebrated the opening of a new $200 million stem-cell research building, which the school says is the largest of its kind in the country.

The Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building at the Stanford University School of Medicine features 200,000 square feet of floor space and will serve roughly 550 researchers, among them faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, students and staff members.

"It's an extraordinary facility with so many possibilities," Ruthann Richter, a spokeswoman for the Stanford University School of Medicine, said.

"You're going to have the best brains in the country working concertedly in a research area that has so much promise."

The four-story building was constructed over a period of two years with a $43.6 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a $75 million donation from businessman and philanthropist Lorry Lokey, who founded Business Wire. The rest of the money came from private donations and university funds.

The top level will house the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, which used to be located off campus on Arastradero Road. Faculty members from the Stanford Cancer Center will occupy the second floor. Neuroscience labs and the stem cell institute's Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education will be located on the ground floor. The basement will house the tissue bank and the animal facilities. A tunnel provides a route for deliveries of equipment to nearby buildings.

The building has ample housing space for large centrifuges, freezers and tissue culture rooms, along with a dedicated tissue bank to store stem cell lines and animal and human tissues. Other features include a state-of-the-art animal research facility with biometric entry codes, air showers and recyclable mouse cages.

The building additionally provides resources that one participating researcher said are rare in other parts of the country, such as cell-sorting capabilities and advanced single-cell genetic-profiling equipment. The dedication ceremony was held at 4 p.m.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Will
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

While the bulk of the money for this facility seems to be from private funds, about 25% of it comes from the CA taxpayers, via the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine:

Web Link

which has so far doled out over $1B:

Grand Total $1,147,757,270 (384 Grants Active)

Stanford seems to be the big winner, when it comes to "taking home the green" ..

Web Link

Institution Total Funds Committed Total Awards
Stanford University $ 175,862,473 50

What's not so obvious is where the money is going. The CIRM lists the following contributions on its web site:
Saving lives: CIRM-funded research has already produced a therapy in clinical trials

Creating jobs: Our major facilities are generating 13,000 job-years of employment, bringing in $100 million in tax revenue

Lowering costs: Therapies funded by CIRM will be available in California at discounted pricing

But this doesn't seem like much for the billions that are to be given away through this "Stem Cell Research" Institute. Very vague promises like "discounted pricing for CRIM-funded therapies" doesn't sound like it's more than a little hand waving. Who will own the patents that are created by this taxpayer funding? Who will receive the royalties for these patents? And who will be auditing the use of taxpayer funds?

It's amazing how many different groups have managed to line up with their gold-plated cups to siphon off the hard-earned money of the California taxpayers. Sadly, whether it is this boondoggle, or the HSR boondoggle, the voters (who often are not the taxpayers) have authorized these giveaways.

It will be nice to see something of value emerge from these billions, but don't hold your breath.

Like this comment
Posted by Phil
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

It sounds exciting. "...200,000 square feet of floor space and will serve roughly 550 researchers..." I am happy California and Stanford are chasing big dreams.

Like this comment
Posted by Leon
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

First: No kind of stem cells will cure Alzheimers, because that is a whole brain disorder. Neither adult, embryonic or umbilical cord stem cells would work with Alzheimers.

When this was on the ballot a few years ago, the 'brains' behind the measure deceived the public. They said Alzheimers was a disease where embryonic stem cells would make a difference. Only privately, at town hall meetings with pro/con panelists did they admit it will not.

There is no need to use embryonic stem cells for research. So far, the only thing embryonic stem cells have produced is tumors -like in Dolly, the Sheep who died young.

It took PUBLIC money to fund this already-proven failed idea of embryonic research. No wise business people jumped at the chance of making money off from it, this while it was never against the law for a private company to have done that research.

The sad part is very successful research from adult stem cells, ones with NO ethical objections by anyone, will be put on the back burner
to pursue the chasing of this big hoax.

Building 200,000 square feet of floor space is good for putting contractors to work. But too bad the 550 scientists will be working on unethical research that will ultimately get them nowhere.

I object to having been lied to by the people behind this project, when it was on the ballot. I believe they ought to pursue only adult stem cells, and umbilical cord stem cells, and manufactured cells that have caused no ethical concerns from the public.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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