Joint Statement by Rutgers President Richard L. Mccormick and UMDNJ President Stuart D. Cook Regarding Proposed Stem Cell Research Institute

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Gov. James E. McGreevey’s proposal to establish a stem cell research institute jointly run by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) will catapult the state to the forefront of scientific research and medicine. Stem cell research holds tremendous promise for treating and curing a host of devastating diseases and disorders, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and coronary heart disease.

This exciting state-financed initiative, the first of its kind in the nation, will draw talented researchers from all over the world to New Jersey to participate in groundbreaking research programs. It will provide funds to construct the institute and to recruit new researchers, thereby adding to the already outstanding cadre of faculty doing pioneering studies in New Jersey. This initiative will also encourage the formation of new academic/private industry partnerships that will drive New Jersey’s science and technology economy to greater heights.

The institute will take full advantage of the remarkable synergies that can occur when UMDNJ and Rutgers combine their scientific expertise. For example, in the years since the opening of the jointly sponsored Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, researchers at these units have helped set the scientific agenda in their respective fields.

The New Jersey Parkinson’s Action Network, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the New Jersey chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are among the groups that have publicly voiced their support for stem cell research in New Jersey because they understand its enormous potential. Rutgers and UMDNJ applaud Gov. McGreevey’s bold initiative and are eager to move ahead with this promising research.