The University of Utah Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Program will be getting a share of the total $2,000,000 dollars in grant money from the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership, or UCAP. The research park facility does stem cell manufacturing and research of ALS, leukemia, arthritis and other degenerative diseases. Dr. Jo-Anna Reems is a research associate at the center. Her department received $200,000 dollars from the fund. She says the field is evolving so rapidly that the technology and infrastructure is outpacing the ability to find people with the right skills to build human cells.
“So we’re hoping that, you know, with the UCAP funding that we’re going to be able to train more individuals to do this," says Reems, "and these individuals hopefully will stay with us and if not they will move with other companies who are doing similar work.”
Reems says the grant is relatively small compared to the tens of millions of dollars committed by California to stem research but it’s equally as important.
“We want to position our self in this state to be competitive with the groups out east and in the intermountain west we’re really it,” says Reems.
Jeff Landward is the deputy director of the Department of Workforce Services, which is part of UCAP. He says it’s the role of the DWS to foster these types of partnerships for job growth.
“It’s exciting to be able to find opportunities like this where government and private sector can come together and partner and have a real impact,” says Landward.
Expansion of the University’s facility for manufacturing stem cells is set for this month now that federal Food and Drug Administration certification is complete.