By Amritha Jaishankar
This year, here at MSCRF, we are skipping the crabs, old bay and beer and choosing instead to spend the weekend engaged in scientific review! As we commemorate the day the first settlers stepped on to Maryland soil, the MSCRF program steps onto new grounds as well!
MSCRF was created to promote state-funded stem cell research through grants to public and private entities in Maryland. For the past nine years, MSCRF has invested in basic and translational human stem cell research spanning multiple tissue systems and a wide range of disease areas. We have brought together scientists in academic and industrial settings to innovate and combine cutting-edge technologies in biomedical research and engineering to push the boundaries of human stem cell-based disease modeling and cellular therapies. The progress made by the scientists we support exemplify our mission to advance human stem cell research and develop therapies.
As a program directed and managed by scientists, the value of basic discovery-based research will never be lost on us. However, the scientific progress we’ve seen in the last 10 years in our field and here in Maryland, have enabled us to launch new initiatives this year. The accelerating cures initiative is designed to help translate discoveries from the bench to the bedside through discovery, validation, commercialization and clinical programs.
Our inaugural cycle has proved to be rewarding- more faculty than ever seem open, ready and interested in moving through the program. We are excited to see the progression of previously funded basic discovery projects into validation and early product development. We look forward to helping more stem cell companies in Maryland thrive and expand. We continue to support high-quality clinical trials and we encourage continued innovation and discovery.
I can only speak for myself when I say I became a scientist to have an impact- to cure a disease and to improve human health and the only way to achieve this is by taking the research and innovation out of the lab and to the people! Be a part of the ongoing evolution- commercializing research does not mean you abandon science or fail as an academic, quite the contrary! There isn’t one model that fits all and no single path to commercialization, but we serve as translators and provide an interface and an ecosystem to translate your ideas into tangible products. The path is not easy, of course, for stem cell-based life science start-ups, which require a significantly higher investment of time and money, but the unparalleled potential these technologies offer to cure diseases and save lives make them worth the investment, at least to us.
We, at TEDCO, know that these first steps onto new land can be intimidating, but we are here to help. We have the expertise and a track-record of successfully partnering with our universities in Maryland to help spin-offs get off the ground. So embark on this journey with us and let us help you navigate, discover and settle on new territories…..go ahead, take that first step!! It’s a great time to be in Maryland!
About the author: Amritha Jaishankar, PhD, MSCRF/TEDCO. Amritha is the MSCRF Award Manager and prior to joining TEDCO was a scientist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.