Groundbreaking for new stem cell lab

October 27, 2008 1:04:07 PM PDT
A ceremonial groundbreaking and scientific symposium will take place today at the Stanford University School of Medicine as work begins on the $200 million Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building.

The 20,000-square-foot facility is expected to be the nation's largest center for stem-cell research, according to the university.

The four-story building will house 350 scientists.

"Stem cells are going to be as significant as the silicon chip that created Silicon Valley," said Lokey, who graduated from Stanford in 1949.

The cells, he said, are going to "introduce an entirely new field of medicine for extending lives and improving the quality of life."

Scientists and clinicians from multiple disciplines will work in an open area to encourage collaboration. There will be 60 laboratory benches for visiting scientists, according to the university.

"It will give people the opportunity to apply stem cell thinking to different problems, including regeneration, aging and cancer," Irving Weissman, MD, said in a statement.

Weissman is the director of the Stanford Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute, which will be housed in the new building.

Lokey, founder of Business Wire, donated $75 million toward the building. The 81-year-old has said he was motivated to support stem-cell research after President Bush's administration restricted federal funding for the field in 2001.

The symposium will begin at 1 p.m. in the Clark Center auditorium and will feature talks by members of the bioengineering department and the center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education.

Groundbreaking will begin at 3 p.m. at the construction site on Campus Drive West between Panama Street and Via Ortega.


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