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Research and Clinical Trials

Return to Stem Cell Initiatives in Rehabilitation Medicine Overview

More on Stem Cell Initiatives in Rehabilitation Medicine

Stem Cell Initiatives in Rehabilitation Medicine

New Initiatives Expand Department's Mission

New York (Mar 12, 2010)

Researcher at a lab bench

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has announced the establishment of a formal Stem Cell Initiative in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. As a result of the new research effort, the department has been renamed the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, reflecting the newly expanded focus on research.

"Historically, the field of rehabilitation has been primarily clinical, without a strong scientific foundation," said Joel Stein, MD. "We see a real synergy between the fundamental work being done in stem cell research and the clinical mission of rehabilitation, which is to restore people's abilities lost to injury or illness."

The effort is an umbrella initiative which will formally unite stem cell investigations conducted in various departments of the medical center. "We're developing a nucleus of faculty to form a nexus of communication and institutional leadership in the promising area of stem cell research," explained Dr. Stein. "This program provides a place for researchers and clinicians to come together to exchange ideas, collaborate, and share resources. The strong commitment of the Department to this effort sets NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia apart from other institutions."

As an example, researchers studying a rare disfiguring inherited skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa are working with physicians and therapists on a clinical trial assessing a new stem cell therapy for this disease. The study, which began this year, brings together specialists from the Departments of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Dermatology, and Pediatrics.

Future projects could focus on stem cell approaches for treating neurological disorders, stroke, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and muscle disorders. "New York-Presbyterian/Columbia has a strong foundation in stem cell research," concluded Dr. Stein. "Our efforts strive to translate the findings of basic science studies into clinical therapies to preserve and restore function in patients affected by disabling diseases and disorders."

Faculty Contributing to this Article:

Joel Stein, MD, is the Physiatrist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Simon Baruch Professor and Chair in the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Professor and Chief in the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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