UNMC investigators snare awards from statewide advisory council

July 18, 2013

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Iqbal Ahmad, Ph.D. Hamid Band, M.D., Ph.D.
Iqbal Ahmad, Ph.D., and Hamid Band, M.D., Ph.D., each received grants of $110,000 from The Nebraska Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.

Four grants, including grants to researchers at Creighton and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, were approved for one year of funding, to begin July 1. The Nebraska Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee is a state program funding adult stem cell research from tobacco settlement funds.

Dr. Ahmad's proposed study is on "Therapeutic regeneration in diseased retina."

"This grant will allow us to test the most tantalizing aspect of stem cell therapy, repairing the retina from within by activating endogenous stem cells in adult retina," said Dr. Ahmad. "This is called therapeutic regeneration, and if successful, it would replace the invasive approach of stem cell transplantation."

Dr. Band will study "Genetic dissection of intestinal crypt stem cell regulation by Cbl-family ubiquitin ligases."

"Matched organ donors are unavailable for more than 90 percent of patients with intestinal failure, a major problem in regenerative medicine," Dr. Band said. "Ex vivo-expanded adult stem cells represent a future therapy for such patients as well as for patients with other solid organ failure."

Dr. Band's group, in collaboration with transplant surgeon and co-investigator David Mercer, M.D., will use the grant to investigate a novel mechanism to control the expansion of intestinal stem cells in an animal model. Insights from these basic studies are anticipated to help refine stem cell-based regeneration of intestine and other solid organs.

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