Jan A. Nolta, Ph.D., is the Director of the Stem Cell Program at UC Davis School of Medicine, and directs the Institute for Regenerative Cures. She also serves as the Scientific Director of the large UC Davis Good Manufacturing Practice Facility, and as Scientific Director of the California State Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program. She has been ranked as one of the Global Top 50 Most Influential People in the Field of Stem Cells.
The fields of stem cells, immunotherapy, gene therapy and regenerative medicine are poised to change the face of healthcare. Immunotherapy is giving terminal cancer patients a second chance at life, gene therapy can cure rare diseases, and living stem cells and other cell and cultured tissue therapies are beginning to be prescribed for certain indications. Gene editing offers unprecedented opportunity to alter stem cell genomes to make lasting cures for monogenic disorders, including countless rare diseases. This changes the fields of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy, since the new generations of healthcare students will need to learn how to handle drugs that are not pills or liquids in a vial, but rather are living, often cryopreserved, biological medicines. Manufacturing, preparation and delivery will be performed by large teams of experts with different expertise and backgrounds, including those with cell biology and manufacturing knowledge, in addition to experts in medicine, surgery, imaging, monitoring, outcomes, health technology and statistical analysis. New technologies are needed to streamline the manufacturing, formulating, and administration of the cell and gene therapy products. Telehealth technology is proving useful for remote patients healthcare and we are leveraging it, through our UC Davis TeleHealth program and Alpha Stem Cell Clinic, to help recruit patients to clinical trials and developing programs for more effective follow-up.
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