Arrowhead to Fund Stem Cell Research at Caltech
News Jan 31, 2007
Arrowhead Research Corporation has announced that it will sponsor the continued research of Dr. Eric Davidson’s laboratory at the California Institute of Technology focused on the re-engineering of the internal control systems of cells.
This field of inquiry is expected to have applications for the controlled differentiation of stem cells and could, in the longer-term, have therapeutic applications for the treatment of cancer and other diseases, the Corporation said.
“Dr. Davidson and his colleagues have made recent breakthroughs in understanding the large networks of interacting regulatory genes that govern the development of cells,” said R. Bruce Stewart, Arrowhead’s Chairman.
He continued, “These advances could open up a whole new paradigm in applied nanomedicine—similar to the discovery of genetic engineering and RNAi. We are honored to be associated with Dr. Davidson, whose distinguished career in this field has spanned four decades.”
Dr. Davidson’s research employs a rational approach focused on understanding the control mechanisms of the cell.
Dr. Davidson is the Norman Chandler Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1985 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1980.
“Eric Davidson is a world leader and pioneer in learning how the biological circuitry of life functions,” said Lee Hood, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Institute for Systems Biology. “His work will lead eventually to understanding how to reengineer human disease-perturbed networks with drugs to make the sick become well.”
The agreement between Arrowhead and the California Institute of Technology provides for $255,000 annually for three years and an exclusive right for Arrowhead to license the resultant technology.
The spatial and temporal dynamics of proteins or organelles plays a crucial role in controlling various cellular processes and in development of diseases. However, acute control of activity at distinct locations within a cell cannot be achieved. A new chemo-optogenetic method enables tunable, reversible, and rapid control of activity at multiple subcellular compartments within a living cell.