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Johns Hopkins, NYSCF Collaborate on Stem Cell Models of Disease for Precision Medicine

NEW YORK – Bloomberg Philanthropies, Johns Hopkins University, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute have launched an initiative to create stem cell-based models of human disease for use in precision medicine research.

Under the collaboration, Johns Hopkins will collect biological patient samples through its precision medicine centers of excellence. Those samples will then go to the NYSCF Research Institute, where scientists will create induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of disease using the Global Stem Cell Array, an automated system for generating human stem cells. Researchers will also use gene editing to interrogate the disease models. 

Financial and other details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The stem cells generated through the collaboration will reside in a NYSCF repository and will be used in therapeutic and diagnostic development for a wide range of diseases, including, but not limited to, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, chronic renal failure, and cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, pancreas, and bladder.

"By combining our capabilities with Johns Hopkins' extensive clinical data and expertise, we will be able to develop effective, personalized therapies for patients suffering from diseases with a high unmet need," NYSCF CEO Susan Solomon said in a statement.

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins operates 16 precision medicine centers, each focusing on a specific disease, and is working to develop 50 more over the next five years. The NYCSF's Global Stem Cell Array automates cell reprogramming and differentiation into iPSCs. Public health is one of five areas that Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on.

"Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people," said Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire whose charitable giving is conducted through Bloomberg Philanthropies. "For years, Johns Hopkins University and the New York Stem Cell Foundation have shared that mission – and we're honored to deepen our partnerships with them as they explore new, innovative ways to save lives through the application of precision medicine."