The University of Massachusetts system is formulating a strategy for stem cell research across all five campuses, with Amherst and Worcester set to lead the way in research and development.
“This is one of the most exciting and promising areas of modern molecular biology and scientific medicine,” said John A. Armstrong, the UMass trustee from Amherst who chairs the board’s Task Force on Science and Technology, yesterday. “The university does not want to be left out.”
At UMass Medical School in Worcester and the Amherst campus, scientists are working with adult stem cells, but not embryonic stem cells, said William Wright, a spokesman in the UMass president’s office.
At Amherst, there are several departments that would be included in the stem cell program. Armstrong referenced the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences’ curriculum, which includes the study of cell and molecular biology.
This year, the Institute for Cellular Engineering was established on campus, which encompasses the study of stem cell science and research.
Stem cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body and serve as a repair system for the body, theoretically dividing without limit to replenish other cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Telfer’s lab uses mouse stem cells to study blood and immune systems with respect to bone marrow transplants, but other labs on campus use human adult stem cells.