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Minnesota Allots $50 million for Regenerative Medicine Research

Nov 4, 2014

Minnesota has allotted $50 million in funding over the next 10 years for regenerative medicine research.

Regenerative medicine is a rapidly growing field, and many health care providers and industry leaders are beginning to dedicate resources to research and development in the innovative new technology. State legislators are also becoming increasingly interested, as the field has the potential to improve population health and reduce health care costs. In fact, the state of Minnesota has recently allocated about $50 million to regenerative medicine research over the next decade.

The 2014 Minnesota legislative session, which took place in spring, agreed to fund research into regenerative medicine. The representatives agreed that this initiative has the potential to uncover treatment options and cures for some of the population’s most devastating health conditions. As such, they set aside $50 million for scientists in their efforts for testing and experimentation.

The legislation was heavily supported by the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine as well as the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute. However, it was spearheaded by two government officials: majority leader of the Minnesota House Rep. Erin Murphy (who is also a registered nurse) and assistant majority leader Sen. Katie Sieben.

About the law
This new legislation will provide $4.35 million in grant funding every year beginning in 2015. It also involves the organization of a committee of outside experts assigned the task of evaluating proposals based on how these propositions affect Minnesota communities. For instance, those that create jobs and have both industrial and clinical applications may be considered more highly than others. Final funding decisions will be made by a five-person board that includes members from the university, Mayo Clinic, private industry and two stakeholder groups.

Another strong proponent of the law was Dr. Jakub Tolar, director of University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute. In an interview with the university’s publication HealthTalk, he had much to say about the enormous potential for success this funding initiative could have in all assets of medicine.

“The fact is, we’ve reached the ceiling on many current treatment methods, especially for chronic diseases, and regenerative medicine may open new doors and opportunities,” Tolar told HealthTalk. “Because of the ability of the body’s complex mechanisms to rebuild themselves on so many levels, regenerative medicine can be an exceptional tool in just about any discipline. … This is a fantastic time of rapid development, where we as researchers and clinicians have the understanding of stem cells and genomics, we have the tools, and we have the expertise. Why wait to pursue this opportunity?”

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