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Stem Cell Research in New York State

Stem Cell Research in New York State: A Snapshot (2008)

(Complete report available in pdf format - 1.6 MB)

Part One.

Executive Summary
I. Introduction
II. Methodology and Scope
III. The Potential of stem cell research and NYSTEM
IV. Findings
V. Observations and Recommendations from the NY stem cell research community

Part Two.

Directory of Principal Investigators (available in the PDF above)
An updated directory of stem cell scientists in New York State is now available.

 

Executive Summary

This report summarizes data obtained from responses to written surveys and structured personal interviews with stem cell scientists in New York State between June and October, 2007. The findings are accompanied by a directory of the scientists interviewed. The objectives of this initial inquiry were threefold: (i) identify institutions and scientists in New York State with ongoing stem cell research programs; (ii) develop an overview of the scope and directions of these researchers' activities and (iii) solicit the views of the stem cell science community in New York regarding the potential scope and mechanisms of funding by NYSTEM. Letters were sent to 42 institutions that were identified through publicly available funding and publication records as having relevant research efforts. Overall, from 28 responding institutions we received feedback from 162 principal investigators (PI) at 23 institutions in time for inclusion in this report. The first interviews took place July 20 and the most recent visit was October 4; in this span of 10 weeks we interviewed investigators from 21 institutions representing all geographic areas of the state.

Importantly, this inquiry identified a strong community of stem cell scientists across the state, as judged by publications and external funding, with diverse interests and expertise, who are well positioned to take immediate advantage of the opportunities that will be provided by NYSTEM. Within the limits of our surveys and interviews, we estimate that more than 200 scientists head laboratories conducting stem cell related research, and that roughly two-thirds of these have a major focus in some aspect of stem cell science. Our survey demonstrated that 52% of PIs have NIH funding. Based on an examination of public databases in 2006, the research scientists have attracted $39.5 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for stem cell research, as well as substantial foundation, industry and other types of support for which no comprehensive figures are available. Based on survey responses, their work has resulted in at least 115 patents and 16 licenses. Moreover, we estimate that approximately 1,000 scientists, trainees and support staff are currently employed in their academic and private laboratories conducting stem cell research. The data provide fuel for the need for traineeships. At present, only 58% of PIs have graduate students working on stem cells. The situation is similar but slightly better with postdocs as 67% of PIs report having a postdoc.

Stem cell research in New York is broad in scope and highly collaborative, as about 80% of the investigators reported at least one collaboration. One objective of our inquiry was to ascertain the scope of this research within New York State and determine if there are dominant themes or specific areas of strength. Based on data from 162 scientists, the largest fractions had a focus on cancer, neural disease or aging. Other major topics included hematopoietic and musculoskeletal disease and diabetes. The data also showed that many investigators are engaged in studies of fundamental aspects of stem cell biology. Of the 162 respondents, nearly half reported that their research significantly concerned basic stem cell biology.

The types and sources of stem cells that researchers use in their studies are diverse. The majority of investigators use rodent or other non-human sources to supply stem cells for their research. However, nearly half of the investigators use stem cells of human origin, most of whom employ non-embryonic derived cells of a variety of types: hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells from marrow and umbilical cord blood, amniotic stem cells, and organ-specific cells derived from skin, cardiac, liver, kidney and other sources. Also included in this list are cancer stem cells. A smaller but still significant fraction of investigators use human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in their work, or hold approved protocols and plan to use hESCs in the immediate future. Of 39 investigators, 24 reported using only NIH-approved ("registry") hESC lines and 15 reported using "non-registry" lines. Investigators planning to derive new stem cell lines from embryos deemed non-viable, were included in the "non-registry" hESC group. Several of those involved in hESC work were doing so only through collaborations with investigators at other institutions, and only about half of those using hESCs in their work reported that it represented a large fraction of their effort.

In terms of funding preferences, there was strong, but not universal agreement for the use of an investigator-initiated NIH R01-like grant mechanism that would provide substantial funding to individual laboratories for multiple years. Many also favored an additional mechanism of investigator-initiated funding analogous to the NIH R21 vehicle which encourages higher risk with the promise of greater reward. Many interviewees supported institution-based multi-investigator grants in which several researchers at one institution, or investigators at several institutions, collaborate on complementary aspects of a particular research problem. There was considerable support for individual postdoctoral fellowships or young investigator grants as a mechanism for bringing new talent into the stem cell field. Likewise there was considerable enthusiasm for short -term funding for "sabbaticals" in which investigators could visit another laboratory (inside or outside NYS) to acquire specific training in stem cell science or a field that would benefit particular aspects of stem cell research. In contrast, there was little support for institutional training grants, in which graduate students or postdocs are supported en masse, often to work in assigned labs.

It is clear that the area of hESC research has been constrained by inadequate federal support, and that an important focus of NYSTEM should be to enhance opportunities for hESC studies within appropriate ethical guidelines as established by the Board. Concurrent with this opinion, there was unanimity among these researchers that NYSTEM funding should not be restricted to hESC work, since it is unknown at this time which human stem cell types (embryonic or adult) will be best suited for application to particular diseases. Several investigators involved in translational research noted that there is a major gap in available federal funding for pre-clinical studies that move important findings from animal models to human systems. New York State funding for advanced biotechnology core facilities was identified as important by a number of individuals. In particular, researchers working with non-registry hESC indicated that the duplication of equipment required by current federal funding restrictions was a hardship.

I. Introduction

This report summarizes data obtained from responses to written surveys and structured personal interviews of 162 stem cell scientists in New York State between June and October, 2007. The findings are accompanied by a directory of the scientists interviewed. The objectives of this initial inquiry were threefold: (i) identify institutions and scientists in New York State with ongoing stem cell research programs; (ii) develop an overview of the scope and directions of these researchers' activities and (iii) solicit the views of the stem cell science community in New York regarding the potential scope and mechanisms of funding by NYSTEM. The observations contained in this document, represent the opinions of current New York State scientists and academic leaders as to the areas of promise, targets for future research funding, and how improvements in infrastructure, recruitment and training of young and established investigators can be best achieved through state funding for stem cell research.

The data were collected and analyzed by staff from the Wadsworth Center led by David Anders, Ph.D. and including Carmen Mannella, Ph.D., Marti McHugh B.A., David L. Martin, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Kennedy, M.D.

II. Methodology and Scope

Letters were sent to 42 institutions that were identified through publicly available funding and publication records as having relevant research efforts. They were invited to participate by submitting lists of their investigators whose research included a broadly defined stem cell focus. A questionnaire was sent to responding institutions requesting a number of essential elements of information and soliciting opinions on scientific and funding mechanisms. Third, visits to responding institutions were arranged, whenever possible to allow for follow-up discussions with individual investigators.

This study was initiated in June, 2007. Overall, from 28 responding institutions we received feedback from 162 investigators at 23 institutions in time for inclusion in this report. A majority of the responding researchers reported that stem cell research was a major focus in their laboratories. The first interviews took place July 20 and the most recent visit was October 4; in this span of 10 weeks we interviewed investigators from 21 institutions representing all geographic areas of the state (Fig. 1).

The response to our request for information was excellent. Notably, those responding included the 15 institutions with most stem cell research activity as estimated by available data on relevant research funding. There were several limitations to our study however. Most significantly, although this effort was intensive and inclusive, it was not comprehensive. As indicated above, not all institutions responded to our initial query. Thus, an unknown number of stem cell investigators were unintentionally omitted from this first survey. Second, because of the compressed time frame, we were not able to visit every institution that hosts some stem cell research, and not all stem cell investigators were available to meet with us during our scheduled visits. Third, this is a new and dynamic field with ongoing recruitments bringing in new investigators while others depart to take positions elsewhere. Lastly, our initial analysis did not extend to the commercial sector, primarily because much of that information is not publicly available. In view of these limitations we intend to make this an ongoing effort.

III. The potential of stem cell research and NYSTEM

Stem cells, which ultimately give rise to all of the differentiated cells, tissues and organs in the body, offer the potential of treatments for many diseases and injuries that result in suffering, disability and premature death for millions. For the purposes of this report we consider two broad classes of stem cells and stem cell research: embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells. ESCs are derived from a very early stage of development, the blastocyst, and are totipotent, meaning that they can give rise to every tissue type present in the adult (as well as the extraembryonic tissues necessary for implantation of the embryo). In the course of development, the progeny of these ESCs differentiate through a series of well-characterized steps to form the various tissues and organs present in the adult. However, a few, unique post-embryonic cells maintain the ability to divide extensively and to give rise to multiple cell types within a given tissue, and these are referred to as adult - or somatic - stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells, which have been studied for over 30 years, give rise to the full complement of cells found in blood and are the best known example.

Stem cell biology is relevant to almost all aspects of biomedicine and disease, including developmental abnormalities, degenerative diseases, immune dysfunction and even cancer. With the rapid growth in understanding of basic aspects of stem cell biology, the potential use of stem cells in other types of tissue repair is being widely investigated. In addition to applications in regenerative medicine, stem cells can provide in vitro resources to study the nature of certain human disease states at the cellular level, in ways that have not been possible. Such studies provide critical new approaches for drug discovery and for understanding the impact of environmental insults and injury during development. Finally, stem cells may give rise to some kinds of cancers, with major implications for cancer therapies. A better understanding of the relationship between stem cells and cancers will enable improved treatments and greater protection from devastating side effects.

Despite great progress in recent years, these are still early days in the medical application of stem cells to human disease problems. So what are the major challenges to be addressed? When we queried scientists about the most important research problems in the stem cell field, a number were repeatedly mentioned. First, much remains to be understood about the sources and properties of stem cells. Several approaches that could be used to produce histocompatible, pluripotent ESC or ESC-like cells are being developed including somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) into oocytes or zygotes, parthenogenesis where the embryo contains only maternal chromosomes, and most dramatically by "reprogramming" somatic cells using co-expression of transcription factors. Although demonstrated in animal models, except for parthenogenesis, the application of these approaches to human cells remains to be worked out. Bona fide ESCs remain the gold standard for all such studies. Likewise, new types of adult stem cells continue to be described, but as yet many of these have been incompletely characterized and so their potential for disease research and therapy is unclear.

Second, application of cellular therapies will require advances in maintaining "stemness" during expansion, and in directing stem cell differentiation into desired cell types. Again, many of these approaches must be worked out in animal models. This may be aided by a better understanding of the epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms that underlie pluripotency and self-renewal. Similarly, understanding the role of the microenvironment or "niche" and specific signaling mechanisms in regulating the properties and differentiation of stem cells remains an important problem. Therapeutic development remains mostly in the preclinical stage and only a few early clinical trials have been initiated. Thus, the consensus was that much fundamental work remains in order to translate the science into effective human therapies.

There is great excitement in the scientific community about the potential of the Empire State Stem Cell Fund to enhance stem cell science in New York State and to accelerate progress toward the ultimate goal of new treatments for devastating human diseases, and all of the participants generously shared information about the current focus of their research, as well as their ideas and opinions for NYSTEM which are summarized in the next sections.

IV. Findings

Institutions and scientists

New York State is home to more than 40 large and small, prominent, biomedical research institutions. These institutions clearly recognize the potential utility of stem cells in addressing human disease problems. In recent years they have moved to increase support for stem cell science and clinical applications through new recruitments. Several institutions have created new cross-department stem cell centers to enhance institution-wide interactions. Some institutions possess unique resources or technologies that could enhance the effectiveness of other, complementary programs. Strong non-governmental organizations have also provided leadership and support for stem cell research, particularly in areas where federal funding is restricted or insufficient as it is in research using newly generated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Nevertheless, these private resources are quite limited. NYSTEM provides an exciting opportunity to enhance the strengths of stem cell research in New York State and ultimately help speed the realization of its potential benefits.

Importantly, this inquiry identified a robust community of stem cell scientists across the state, as judged by publications and external funding, with diverse interests and expertise, who are well positioned to take immediate advantage of the opportunities that will be provided by NYSTEM. Within the limits of our surveys and interviews, we estimate that more than 200 scientists head laboratories conducting stem cell-related research, and that roughly two-thirds of these have a major focus in some aspect of stem cell science. The years of experience in stem cell research reported by the PIs ranged from less than one, to more than 40, the average being 8.7 and the median 6 years. Our survey demonstrated that 52% of PIs have NIH funding (Table 1). Based on an examination of public databases in 2006, the research scientists have attracted 39.5 million dollars in NIH funding for stem cell research, as well as substantial foundation, industry and other types of support for which no comprehensive figures are available. Based on survey responses, their work has resulted in at least 115 patents and 16 licenses. Moreover, we estimate that approximately 1,000 scientists, trainees and support staff are currently employed in academic and private laboratories conducting stem cell research (Table 2). Because this is a rapidly growing area of biomedicine, and because industry commitment to the development of stem cell science is increasing as fundamental understanding matures, we anticipate these numbers will grow substantially over the coming decade. The data shown in Table 2 also provide evidence of the need for traineeships. At present, only 58% of PIs have graduate students working on stem cells. Those PIs with graduate students have an average of 2.1 students. The situation is similar but slightly better with postdocs, as 67% of PIs report having a postdoc. Those PIs with postdocs have an average of 2.7. Stem cell research in New York is highly collaborative, as about 80% of the investigators reported at least one collaboration. Three reported 10 or more collaborations and 20 reported five or more. The largest number of collaborations reported by a single PI was 14 (Table 3).

As detailed below, New York State scientists, working in diverse areas of specialization, contribute substantially to progress being made world-wide on the roles and potential therapeutic applications of stem cells in neurological disorders and injuries, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin and musculoskeletal disorders, cancer, and immune dysfunctions and aging, as well as crucial research into basic stem cell biology. They employ many different types of stem cells, including hESCs , in their investigations.

The scope and focus of stem cell research in NYS.

By its nature, the overall scope of stem cell research is diverse. One objective of our inquiry was to ascertain the scope of this research within New York State and determine if there are dominant themes or specific areas of strength. We categorized stem cell researchers by the disease groups on which their efforts are focused (Fig. 2). Note that in this classification, individual investigators were in some cases assigned to more than one category (e.g. "hematopoietic" and "cancer"). Based on data from 162 scientists, the largest fractions had a focus on cancer (39), or a neural disease or aging focus (37). Other major topics included hematopoietic (21) or musculoskeletal disease (19) and diabetes (10). Within each of the broad categories, studies addressed a variety of specific disease-related problems. For example, the neural category includes researchers with interests in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, mood disorders and spinal cord injury, among others. Not surprisingly perhaps, the distribution of stem cell investigators among different fields roughly reflects the research funding opportunities represented by those fields. Thus, it appears that the research interests of New York State stem cell scientists are distributed broadly, and there is no single predominant theme. Nonetheless, there is sufficient overlap in the research interests of New York State stem cell scientists that productive inter- and intra-institutional collaborative interactions have occurred, and, with appropriate funding opportunities, would be fostered.

Another observation from these data is that many investigators are engaged in studies of fundamental aspects of stem cell biology. Of the 162 respondents, nearly half reported that their research significantly concerned fundamental aspects of stem cell biology. These areas include growth control, regulation of self-renewal and differentiation, transcriptional and epigenetic programs, and the role of the stem cell microenvironment, or niche, in determining stem cell fate. It is widely held that a better understanding of the basic cellular, genetic, molecular and physiologic mechanisms underlying stem cell function is needed before scientists will be able to manipulate stem cells to desired ends. It is noteworthy that these "basic" scientists employed a variety of complementary approaches involving different technologies and model systems, thereby providing a comparative basis for establishing general principles and identifying the most useful models to address specific problems.

The types and sources of stem cells that researchers use in their studies are diverse (Fig. 3) and (Table 4). The majority of investigators (120 of 162) use rodent or other non-human sources to supply stem cells for their research. However, nearly half (80) of the investigators use stem cells of human origin, most of whom (55) employ non-embryonic derived cells of a variety of types: hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells from marrow and umbilical cord blood, amniotic stem cells, and organ-specific cells derived from skin, cardiac, liver, kidney and other sources. Also included in this list are cancer stem cells. A smaller but still significant fraction of investigators (39) use hESCs in their work, or hold approved protocols and plan to use hESCs in the immediate future. Of these 39 investigators, 24 reported use solely of NIH-approved ("registry") hESC lines and 15 reported using "non-registry" lines. Investigators planning to derive new stem cell lines from embryos deemed non-viable, were included in the "non-registry" hESC group. Several of those involved in hESC work were doing so only through collaborations with investigators at other institutions, and only about half of those using hESCs in their work reported that it represented a large fraction of their effort. Finally, only a very few laboratories in New York State presently have the capability to create and work with new hESC lines.

Special resources and technologies.

It was clear from our discussions with the stem cell researchers that their institutions are home to a wide array of state-of-the-art scientific core facilities for large-scale cell culturing, cellular and whole-animal imaging, high-throughput genomic and proteomic analysis, structural biology, drug-screening, nanofabrication, bioinformatics, and high-end computation. However, the availability of these enabling technologies varies considerably from institution to institution, and it is not always clear whether particular cores are accessible to investigators from other institutions.

New York State has a network of high-technology research centers supported through various state programs (many through NYSTAR), as well as federally supported national biotechnology resource centers, that can contribute valuable capabilities and expertise to stem cell research. These include, but are not limited to, centers for bioinformatics and disease modeling in Buffalo (UB); a new supercomputer center in Troy (RPI); centers for nanotechnology in Ithaca (Cornell) and Albany/Troy (SUNY and RPI); centers for genomics in Albany/Rensselaer (SUNY) and NYC (Columbia); centers for bioengineering in Troy (RPI) and biotechnology in NYC (Yeshiva), Binghamton (SUNY) and on Long Island (SUNY and CSHL); national imaging resources in Ithaca (Cornell), Albany (Wadsworth) and Long Island (Brookhaven), along with other imaging centers in NYC (e.g. Columbia); and the statewide structural biology consortium, the New York Structural Biology Center on the CUNY City College campus. There is some question whether the capabilities and accessibility of these state and federally funded centers are sufficiently well-known to the general science community and, in particular, to the stem cell community in New York State.

V. Observations and recommendations from the NY stem cell research community

Through the use of surveys and structured personal interviews we queried investigators active in the field of stem cell research for their opinions regarding the mechanisms of funding that might have the greatest impact and about the nature and scope of the research to be supported by NYSTEM. The following is a synopsis of these discussions.

Funding Preferences

  1. The researchers were unanimous in urging that the stem cell program be science-driven, and that funding should be determined by a peer-review process to assure that the best scientific as well as innovative proposals are supported. Although specific areas of focus varied among the scientists surveyed, there was uniform agreement that there is a critical need for research that will advance the basic understanding of stem cells, novel technologies, and ultimately the translation of fundamental knowledge to the clinic. This broader view of the field of stem cell research, in terms of promising new therapeutics coming from unexpected areas, is entirely consistent with the aims of the authorizing legislation.
  2. There was strong, but not universal agreement for the use of an investigator-initiated NIH R01-like grant mechanism that would provide substantial funding (in the range of $200,000 to 400,000 per year) to individual laboratories for multiple years (3-5). This kind of funding has long been the cornerstone of federal biomedical research support, providing investigators with financial resources needed to make significant progress in a reasonable timeframe, while providing a degree of flexibility needed to rapidly respond to new developments in their fields.
  3. Many favored an additional mechanism of investigator-initiated funding analogous to the NIH R21 vehicle which encourages higher risk with the promise of greater reward. Such grants support exploration of novel, innovative ideas with little or no preliminary data, essential for RO1 grants. Because of the uncertainties inherent in these proposals, the awards are smaller (in the range of $100,000 to $200,000 per year) and of shorter duration (1 or 2 years), with additional funding contingent upon achieving milestones. These grants promote thinking "outside the box", with positive preliminary results providing the basis for subsequent R01 funding. Researchers also felt that these kinds of grants provide critically needed opportunities for new investigators to establish themselves, and for established investigators in related areas to enter the stem cell field.
  4. Many interviewees supported institution-based multi-investigator grants in which several researchers at one institution, or investigators at several institutions, collaborate on complementary aspects of a particular research problem, usually enabled by specific advanced technical expertise or resources at a particular institution(s). Such "program project" grants aim to create synergies via the shared focus and mingling of expertise. There is a growing emphasis at the federal level on broader, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary, multi-institutional consortia, often involving cooperative agreements with active involvement of the funding institutes in setting directions. There was strong consensus among the scientists that this type of research cooperation already is essential in the field of stem cell research. Therefore the idea to establish "NYSTEM centers" as consortia organized around particular diseases or biological challenges, with external advisory boards assessing progress and helping to set directions, was a research funding theme that many of the institutions we visited had already considered. This was seen as a better method for sharing of resources and likely to expedite more rapid progress translating programs to the clinic.
  5. There was considerable support for individual postdoctoral fellowships or young investigator grants as a mechanism for bringing new talent into the stem cell field. It would be important that the host laboratories be assessed for the training and career supportive environment that they provide. Likewise there was considerable enthusiasm for short -term funding for "sabbaticals" in which investigators could visit another laboratory (inside or outside NYS) to acquire specific training in stem cell science or a field that would benefit particular aspects of stem cell research. In contrast, there was little support for institutional training grants, in which graduate students or postdocs are supported en masse, often to work in assigned labs.
  6. A smaller percentage of interviewees suggested that NYSTEM might be used to support programs for targeted recruitment of established investigators to the state. One example would be to create well-funded appointments (salaries of $250-400,000 per year, lab support of $500,000 per year, with $1-2 million start-up packages) for recruiting the directors of NYSTEM centers. This approach is consistent with the manner in which major universities and medical centers recruit "stars" who will play major roles in new initiatives. Several of the larger institutions have already set aside considerable funding to achieve these goals. Although this is an advantage of larger institutions, one can envision that cooperative research grants requiring multi-institutional investigators will enable other institutions to benefit from shared expertise and the growing influx of new, more senior investigators.

The role of ESC research in the NYSTEM Agenda

  1. The discussions with stem cell researchers also centered on their impressions of the role that the New York State initiative should have in hESC research. It is clear that this area of research has been constrained by inadequate federal support, and that an important focus of NYSTEM should be to enhance opportunities for hESC studies within appropriate ethical guidelines as established by the Board.
  2. Concurrent with this opinion, there was unanimity among these researchers that NYSTEM funding should not be restricted to hESC work, since it is unknown at this time which human stem cell types (embryonic or adult) will be best suited for application to particular diseases. Major new advances are occurring broadly through many different areas of human stem cell research, and therapeutics are likely to arise from unanticipated areas of research. Advances are occurring in development biology, genetics, cell signaling as well as areas of imaging and nanotechnology. The use of animal model systems was also considered essential to allow comparative studies that are needed to move the field forward quickly. It is important to note that researchers working with hESC were among those expressing these opinions about human adult stem cells and animal models. In the words of one established hESC researcher: "it would be a big mistake to limit all the funding to human ES cell work".
  3. As outlined in section III, these are early days in the medical application of stem cells. Many researchers stressed that NYSTEM should address the tremendous gaps in basic understanding of stem cells that must be filled to realize their full potential to treat human disease. One investigator drew the analogy with biomedical research in general: "the dynamic created by investing in earlier, more basic studies and encouraging translation toward the clinic is what has brought success and treatments". A counterbalance to this widely held view was the warning expressed by some that NYSTEM should not fund mediocre science just because it involves stem cells, or research in which stem cells were used out of convenience or because they are topical (i.e., fundable), with no intent to address the grand challenges that stand in the way of translation of stem cell research to the clinic.
  4. Several investigators involved in translational research noted that there is a major gap in available federal funding for pre-clinical studies (moving important findings from animal models to human systems) and Phase I clinical trials for promising therapies. They urged NYSTEM to provide support for this kind of research, which is often considered low priority by basic science-oriented NIH study sections.
  5. New York State funding for advanced biotechnology core facilities was identified as important by a number of individuals. In particular, researchers working with non-registry hESC indicated that the duplication of equipment required by current federal funding restrictions was a hardship. They would benefit from lab facilities built with non-federal dollars that generated and characterized these cells, as well as shared facilities with advanced imaging and analytic capabilities. There was a general interest in more advanced scientific core facilities, depending on the particular strengths and weaknesses of the researchers' home institutions. These needs may be met, in part, by a wider dissemination of information about existing state and federally supported centers (see section IV).
  6. The importance of scientific conferences in stimulating advances in a new field like stem cell science was stressed by many. These meetings would help to create a sense of community among NYSTEM-supported investigators, facilitate exchanges of ideas, and help in identifying potential collaborators. We received several ideas of particular note that should be considered.
    a. An annual meeting for New York State stem cell scientists structured along the lines of a Gordon Conference
    b. Gatherings specific for New York State scientists and their outside collaborators within a large national or international meeting.
    c. Mini-symposia that focus on key areas of technology development, new laboratory methods and education.

Figure 1 - Institutions Visited During this Study

Locations of Institutions Hosting Stem Cell Research

Institutions visited
Albany Medical College
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Cornell University
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York Medical College
New York University School of Medicine
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
State University of New York, University at Albany
State University of New York, University at Buffalo
State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center
State University of New York, Stony Brook University
State University of New York, Upstate Medical University
The Rockefeller University
Trudeau Institute
University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Weill Cornell Medical College

 

Figure 2 - Focus of Stem Cell Research in New York State

Disease Focus of NYS Stem Cell Research

 

Figure 3 - Stem Cell Sources

Stem Cell Sources


Table 1: Sources of funding for New York State stem cell researchers

Sources of Funding

  Number of PIs
NIH 69
Other Federal 16
NYS 17
NGO 40
Industry 10
Other 34

Table 2: Composition of stem cell laboratories

Staffing of Stem Cell Research Laboratories

  Number of PIs Reporting Staff
in Each Category
Total Number of Staff
Reported in Each Category
Senior Scientists 52 100
Post-doctoral 88 237
Graduate Students 77 158
Visiting Scientists 24 32
Technical Support 74 129
Other 26 84
Total employment reported   740

Table 3: Collaborative nature of stem cell research in New York State

 

Number of PIs Reporting Collaborations in Stem Cell Research

With scientists at home institution 76
With scientists at another institution 73
Did not report collaborations 26

Table 4: Type of stem cells used in research

 

Types of Stem Cells Being Investigated

Type Number of PIs Using
Human stem cells  
Embryonic stem cells 39
Federally approved hESC 24
Non-approved hESC 15
Non-embryonic stem cells/th> 47
Mesenchymal 15
Hematopoietic 8
Epidermal 6
Neuronal 1
Adipose 1
Endothelial 1
Cord blood 6
Other 28
Non-human stem cells  
Embryonic stem cells 55
Non-embryonic stem cells 77

Many investigators are using more than one type of stem cell.