Saturday, September 15, 2007

Trounson Statement

The California stem cell agency released the following statement from its new permanent President, Alan Trounson.

Vision Statement for Relationship Between CIRM President and the Governing Board (ICOC)

Alan Trounson

The art of delivery of new developments in science and medicine, in my experience, has been dependent on creating partnerships with others with expertise in a different discipline. A shared vision then provides for a working relationship where the partners invest their expertise in achieving the potential outcome.

Historical Partnerships in Delivery of New Developments

There are many historical examples of productive partnerships, and in my case the key models include:

1.In vitro fertilization and associated technologies Trounson (scientist) and Dr. Carl Wood (clinician). Wood was a man of extraordinary vision and lateral thinking who provided the clinical platform for the embryology developed in basic research by Trounson and colleagues. There are now >4 million IVF children in the world as a consequence of this partnership and others.

2. The Institute of Reproduction and Development (IRD) Trounson (female reproduction and development – Deputy Director) and Dr. David de Kretser (male infertility expert – Director) came together as a partnership to develop a new Institute of Reproduction and Development at Monash University by fusing their research groups – Centre for Early Human Development (Trounson) and Andrology research group (de Kretser) in 1990. The IRD was the first research only institute at Monash University and rose quickly to international prominence as the world leading research institute in human reproduction, with more than 350 scientists by 2001. de Kretser was appointed Governor of Victoria in 2006 and Trounson left to establish the National (Australian) Stem Cell Centre in 2002.

3.The Australian Stem Cell Centre (ASCC) Trounson (scientist), Robert Moses (biotechnology business) and Dianna DeVore (patent attorney and molecular geneticist) joined in a partnership to win the Australian Biotechnology Centre of Excellence from all other disciplines in biotechnology. The ASCC was initiated with a grant of A$54 million for 3 years, followed by another tranche of A$54 million to carry through to 2011. Moses was made foundation Chairman of the Board, Trounson CEO and DeVore COO.

4. Embryonic Stem Cells Trounson (embryologist) and Martin Pera (embryonal carcinoma specialist from Oxford) joined together in a partnership at the IRD to develop human embryonic stem cells. They were successful, producing these cells in the late 1990s and led the new science of directing differentiation of these extremely interesting cells into the neuronal and other lineages.

5. Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories Trounson (stem cell biologist - Director) and Richard Boyd (thymic immunologist – Deputy Director) joined together to form a new research centre at Monash University – Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories. The two disciplines of stem cells and immunology created a unique focus for the delivery of stem cell technologies. Regulating the immune system is critical for delivery of allogenic cell therapies, and embryonic stem cells are being developed to reprogram tolerance and autoimmunity for transplantation and regenerative medicine.

Prospective Partnership Between Governing Board (ICOC) and the President of the CIRM

Partnership with the ICOC offers a unique mechanism for integrating key stakeholders from academic research, industry and advocacy in the discovery and development processes as we move toward therapies. The initiative (Prop 71) creates a participatory partnership between the leadership of the President of the CIRM and the governing board; the board represents a high-value spectrum of knowledge in medical research, patient advocacy and biotech experience that the President can draw upon in advancing the mission.

Klein, the visionary financier and designer of innovative systems, Chair of the governing board, and Trounson will form a partnership to deliver the incredible opportunity of cell therapies for regenerative medicine. Together they have the financial, political and scientific capacity to take the well prepared CIRM strategy to the desired outcomes in the clinic efficiently and effectively. The partnership provides the further opportunity to engage nationally and internationally with other leading groups in stem cell science to avoid duplication of effort and to hasten clinical applications.
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