Regional stem-cell center launched by School of Medicine

By Staff

A new center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine promises to expand one of the frontiers of medicine: stem cell research and treatment.

Stem cells already have been studied since 2007 under a School of Medicine program. But the name change – from program to center – also could create a medical game change. With its higher profile, the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology is expected to:

  • Attract more private and federal financial support for research
  • Advance stem-cell treatment rapidly through a partnership with the Colorado Prevention Center (CPC). The alliance will combine strategic planning and funding of key clinical trials.

The overall goal is to move stem-cell discoveries into therapies that could revolutionize medicine with new treatments for heart disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, childhood diabetes, cancer and many more.

"The Center designation really lets us take off," said Dennis Roop, head of the stem-cell program at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora since 2007 and now the center's director. "This stature will help raise private support and federal grants."

The center, a cooperative regional venture, will draw on expertise from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Hospital, the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center, National Jewish Health, The Children's Hospital and other branches of Anschutz Medical Campus. The new stem-cell center is the only one of its kind for 500 miles.

The program is named for the late Colorado businessman Charles C. Gates, whose children carry on his philanthropic work. The change was recommended by Richard Krugman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. UC Denver Chancellor M. Roy Wilson, M.D., approved the center on March 15.