Oct 26 2012

Feinstein to Pentagon: Support UCLA Program for Wounded Warriors

World-class hospital consortium delivers advanced therapies and care for wounded veterans

Washington—In a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) urged the Department of Defense to support UCLA’s application for a $75 million grant to develop regenerative therapies and advanced care for America’s wounded warriors.

The grant, through the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine-II program, would support UCLA’s Op Mend-AFIRM II, a consortium of universities including the University of Southern California, Northwestern Medicine, the University of Louisville Institute for Cellular Therapeutics and Duke University Medical Center.  The consortium program has already recruited top transplant surgeons and raised over $20 million to support its regenerative research project.

“The work at UCLA is extraordinary and groundbreaking, and I am proud to support the innovative medical therapies that are helping the men and women of our armed forces recover from severe injuries and lead fulfilling lives.” Feinstein said.

Full text of the letter follows:

October 25, 2012

The Honorable Leon Panetta
U.S. Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

Dear Secretary Panetta,

I am writing in strong support of University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) application for funding through the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine-II (AFIRM II) program to develop innovative approaches to help heal our wounded warriors.

UCLA is the lead university applying for the AFIRM II grant funding on behalf of a consortium known as UCLA Op Mend-AFIRM II. The consortium includes the University of Southern California, Northwestern Medicine (which includes Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine), the University of Louisville Institute For Cellular Therapeutics, and Duke University Medical Center. UCLA Op Mend-AFIRM II is uniquely structured to fast track the development of new regenerative therapies, and most importantly, to deliver advanced care for our wounded warriors.

With the requested funding of $75 million over five years, UCLA Op Mend-AFIRM II will be able to dramatically build upon UCLA’s previous successes. UCLA’s existing program has already recruited top transplant surgeons to perform innovative surgeries, and has raised over $20 million to support its regenerative research project. AFIRM II funding will allow the consortium to maximize its own private fundraising efforts and directly benefit our wounded warriors by accelerating clinical application of new therapies. The work being done by UCLA Op Mend-AFIRM II is extraordinary and I am proud to support opportunities for our men and women of the Armed Service who have suffered severe injuries to heal and live fulfilling lives.

I urge you to support UCLA Op Mend-AFIRM II’s proposal. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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