A Message from the Chair

boulisA modern medical miracle

I consider stem cells to be a modern medical miracle – the most exciting advance in medicine since antibiotics. Yet just a few years ago, Michigan’s scientists couldn’t make new stem cell lines. Well, they could – but they would be committing a crime that could land them in jail for 10 years and cost them $10 million.

Thankfully, Michigan voters spoke out loudly in favor of curing diseases when in 2008 they approved a constitutional amendment lifting restrictions on stem cell research.

Since then, the progress we have made throughout the state in stem cell research has been nothing short of remarkable. Our great research institutions are hiring new scientists and doing cutting-edge work. The biotech industry is heating up, creating jobs and new opportunities. We’re on the verge of new, life-saving advances in medicine as a result of this burgeoning frontier of research.

At the University of Michigan, the scientists of the Taubman Institute are making incredible progress. Dr. Eva Feldman, our director, is conducting the first human clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for ALS, that terrible condition known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Dr. Max Wicha, a Taubman Scholar and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, is leading the first-ever clinical trial targeting cancer stem cells. The Taubman Institute also has established the Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, one of the few facilities in the nation to produce new embryonic stem cell lines that contain the genetic defects for specific diseases.

I founded the Taubman Institute to support innovative medical science like stem cell research. We are supporting the work of 12 Taubman Scholars, senior physician-scientists working in crucial fields of research such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders.  We have also launched an Emerging Scholars Program to foster the careers of promising young physician-scientists.

Yes, it is an exciting time to be in Michigan if you are a medical scientist. We are making crucial laboratory discoveries. More importantly, we’re moving that progress from bench to bedside, where it can help patients suffering from disease. That is the true goal of the Taubman Institute.


A. Alfred Taubman
Founder and Chair, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute


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