Research facility to bring innovative treatments

February 25, 2010 6:33:44 AM PST
Scientists and physicians in a new building, all focused on the brain and bringing treatments to Houstonians faster. That's the story behind a huge new biomedical research building that opened today. They'll be using innovative treatments including stem cells to treat adults and children with brain injury, stroke and that's just the beginning. This space houses more than new labs. It's where answers may come for broken hearted parents, waiting in the ER with a child changed by a traumatic brain injury.

Here in the University of Texas Behavioral Health and Biomedical Research building, they will continue their study using the child's own stem cells to heal young, damaged brains. And they'll use stem cells to heal the brains of adults too, changed by stroke and spinal cord injuries.

In another part of the biomedical science building, parents of children with autism may find a treatment that gives their child new options. New clinics will open, not only for kids with Autism and Aspergers, but for kids with ADHD too.

There is a small room that is a pretend MRI built to allow children who have a brain disorder, to practice having the claustrophobic, noisy test...without feeling quite so fearful. In the next few weeks hundreds of scientists will begin moving into this biomedical sciences building.

"Researchers do a fabulous job working and coming up with discoveries and advancing our understanding and it's very good to provide them with the facilities where they can do this under the optimal circumstances," said Executive VP for research, Dr. Peter Davies, with the University of Texas Health Science Center.

It will also house clinics for adults who need help with bipolar disorder, depression, mood disorders and anxiety. And there will be new clinics for drug and alcohol addiction.

People with heart problems could soon benefit from stem cells. Researchers are working on ways to produce unlimited supplies of human cardiac cells. Stem cells could be used to make new blood vessels, or to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack.

Some small studies have started testing stem cells derived from bone marrow. Bypass surgery patients who have had heart failure have responded well.