$20 million donated for Colorado State stem cell research facility


Veterinarians, physicians will benefit from collaboration funded by horse health enthusiasts.

A rendering of the future Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies at Colorado State University. Image courtesy of Colorado State University.An anonymous racehorse breeder has donated $20 million to Colorado State University to build a state-of-the-art regenerative medicine research facility, fulfilling a $65 million matching challenge from lead donors and fellow horse aficionados John and Leslie Malone, according to a release from CSU.

In December 2014, the Malones pledged $42.5 million, the largest cash gift in CSU history, for the planned facility. The gift was prompted by their interest in stem cell therapy and its effectiveness in treating equine joint problems.

The donations allow construction of the CSU Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies, which promises to develop next-generation remedies based on living cells and their products. These include patient-derived stem cells to treat musculoskeletal disease and other ailments. Groundbreaking will occur later this year.

Faculty with the Orthopedic Research Center in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences developed the vision for the institute as part of their focus on equine musculoskeletal problems. Other CSU faculty with interests in regenerative medicine then became involved.

Colorado State veterinarians have a history of investigating medical treatments for animal patients then providing knowledge gained to boost human medical advancements. The progression is known as translational medicine and is successful because of similarities between animal and human physiology and disease.

The leader in planning the new research institute has been Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, MS, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR, a professor, research chair and pioneer in arthroscopic surgery and joint disease research in horses. McIlwraith is founding director of CSU's Orthopedic Research Center and has worked with other faculty in the center to pursue regenerative treatments to augment surgery and hasten recovery from injury and joint disease. His work has involved stem cell and gene therapy, specialized tissue replacement and use of novel proteins.

McIlwraith and his veterinary colleagues have treated joint problems in horses owned by the Malones and by the anonymous donor. The new building will feature laboratories, specialized surgical suites, and conference space for veterinarians and physicians.

A rendering of the Institute for Biologic Translation Therapies at Colorado State University. Image courtesy of Colorado State University.

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