Updated 08/09/2012 03:35 PM
Senator Gillibrand pushes innovation legislation
There's Nanotech, GlobalFoundries, no wonder the Capital Region has become a center for science. A New York senator wants to keep that encouraging this growth by introducing a bill that would put money into the hands of local researchers. Our Megan Cruz has more.
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RENSSELAER, N.Y. -- Dr. Chris Fasano, Director of Research and Development for UAlbany's Neural Stem Cell Institute, said, "When we have that drug that might work it's that funding, that piece, trying to get that drug into the next stage of development, there's a real big gap."
A big gap that's meant for big headaches for UAlbany's Neural Stem Cell Institute. Here, researchers study stem cells to learn more about neural diseases, like Alzheimer’s. They have what they think might be cures. Too bad, like many other not-for-profits, their theories often stay in the labs.
"A lot of those things stall out and it's a shame," Fasano said.
But on Thursday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is facing Republican Wendy Long in the general election, announced a bill called the America Innovates Act, which aims to help universities to turn scientific ideas into products consumers can use.
Gillibrand said, "That will attract private investment and the critical capital that's needed for the next stage to commercialize."
"Finally. Exactly. This is exactly what we need," Fasano said.
For Fasano, this funding would mean more money for the Institute's for profit arm. They currently sell food for stem cells to keep their research going.
Fasano said, "We have a whole pipeline of products we want to develop. This will help us develop more products, get our name out there, really become a force so that we can generate more and more revenue and keep everything going."
The senator says the money could be used for things like hiring more staff, purchase testing equipment and testing products. She says she's excited for the possibilities here and at other institutions.
"The research they're doing could be translated ultimately into how do you cure Alzheimer’s, how do you cure MS and that's really exciting because for every family in New York that has a family member suffering from any of these diseases, we all want a cure," Gillibrand said.