The Advanced Therapeutics Cluster (ATC) represents a long term vision at the UMass Medical School that encourages novel research to develop new biological therapies for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes; from infectious to neurodegenerative diseases.
ATC anneals the three emerging scientific fields of RNAi, stem cell biology, and gene therapy into a matrix within the school that encourages the best research minds in the world to investigate ways to create new therapies that can be moved from the bench top to the bedside. A center for each of these fields allows researchers with specific interests and skills to have daily operational contact with colleagues of similar interest.
Under the umbrella of the ATC, UMass Medical School formed: The Gene Therapy Center (GTC) emphasizes the promise that lies within the application of the recombinant adeno-associated virus; RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) features novel strategies for using the RNAi mechanism to silence the action of individual genes; and The Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine seeks to unlock the enormous promise to elucidate disease mechanisms inherent in humans.
ATC recognizes that there is an interconnectivity from which the researchers in these three centers work together in creating optimal therapies. For example, the use of viral vectors developed by the Gene Therapy Center to deliver RNAi materials for a targeted disease; or the use of genetic modification to optimize stem cell function in the context of regenerative medical applications.
In addition to the research support from the numerous core facilities found at UMMS, ATC investigators can call upon the Program in BioInformatics and Integrative Biology to help unravel the mysteries behind many diseases through the use of complex computational and statistical analysis.
As the leadership of ATC support investigators in their bench top work, they anticipate a future where translational benefits through clinical trials will become well established bedside therapies. Shepherding these therapies into medical practice will be accomplished through well established university programs like: Massachusetts Biological Laboratories, Commonwealth Medicine, and The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center.