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County of Santa Clara to Establish Nonprofit Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Move will Position County as a Leader in Stem Cell Treatments
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—At its September 25, 2012 meeting, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the non profit Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a 501c3 that will continue the work of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s (SCVMC) Rehabilitation Trauma Center, one of the only rehabilitation centers in the western United States with experience caring for patients after experimental treatment with human embryonic stem cells.
“Establishing the non profit Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine will continue and expand the innovative stem cell therapy efforts that have already started at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, chair of the Board’s Health and Hospital Committee who brought the request to the Board in June. “We have the opportunity to lead the nation in new and innovative treatments of spinal cord injuries.”
Innovative rehabilitation centers such as the one at SCVMC will be necessary to maximize improvements in patient function from emerging neurological stem cell treatments. SCVMC’s Rehabilitation Trauma Center is one of only two facilities in the nation capable of performing many types of acute neurological injury clinical trials.
"The progressive leadership of the Board of Supervisors and County Executive Jeff Smith has created an environment for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center to lead the country in both cellular and molecular regenerative medicine," said Stephen L. McKenna, MD, Director of SCVMC Rehabilitation Trauma Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine.  “Also, the Valley Medical Center Foundation deserves credit for building support in the county for the Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine.”
Over the past 30 years, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation services has treated more than 10,000 patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, as well as strokes and other neurological conditions resulting in disability.
Because Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is a level 1 trauma center - equipped to handle any level of trauma - and also a rehabilitation center, the hospital can introduce cellular and molecular therapies very early when someone has a spinal cord injury or other neurological injury.  SCVMC was the first hospital in the United States to use stem cell therapies in a clinical trial.   Last month, SCVMC was also the second hospital in the nation to enroll a patient in a clinical trial which evaluates new molecular therapies in an attempt to improve recovery after spinal cord injury.
“Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has a long history of being a leader in the treatment of patients with paralysis,” said Benton T. Giap, MD, MBA, Chairman of the VMC, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  “These clinical trials potentially give us a different set of treatment tools as well as changing the paradigm for early intervention.”
The new Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine will put SCVMC in a leading position to partner with others in clinical trials using these therapies that are just beginning and many that will begin in the next few years.
“The Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine will allow us to take a leadership role in this cutting edge medicine,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, MD.  “This is a very exciting opportunity, one that holds a lot of promise in furthering our understanding of how to help people live long and healthy lives, even after they have suffered debilitating injuries.”
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is accelerating the development of new therapies for chronic disease and injury by funding stem cell research programs throughout California. CIRM was established in 2004 after Californians passed Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, called for the establishment of a new state agency to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities and other vital research opportunities.
The mission of CIRM is to support and advance stem cell research and regenerative medicine under the highest ethical and medical standards for the discovery and development of cures, therapies, diagnostics and research technologies to relieve human suffering from chronic disease and injury. The most recent information available shows CIRM has made 519 grant awards in California worth $1,400,847,227.
The new Silicon Valley Institute for Regenerative Medicine will direct and monitor research and treatment related to regenerative medicine. It is expected that a coordinated research, clinical care, communication, and financing effort will allow the Institute to rapidly become self-sustaining.  The Board’s action, in addition to directing staff to create the 501c3, also included $250,000 in funding and providing temporary staff resources including one half-time Medical Doctor, one Administrative Assistant, one Health Care Program Analyst, one Clinical Research Program Director, and one Nurse Manager.
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Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Amy Carta, Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System, (408) 885-4551
Posted: September 26, 2012