One of the most advanced research centers for the therapeutic applications of epithelial stem cells in the world, the ‘Stefano Ferrari’ regenerative medicine center at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, opened its doors with the ambitious goal of becoming the flagship research center in Italy. It was completely financed by the Modena Savings Bank, which invested 13 million euros for its completion and was inaugurated by Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi and Emilia-Romagna President Vasco Errani. It includes a new three floor, 30,000 square meter building (half of which is contamination controlled) at the University of Modena, and will employ 50 researchers and experts when fully operational.
Director Michele De Luca explained, “The center is the only existing structure able to treat diseases that do not have therapeutic alternatives, using adult epiithelial stem cell research and development, including cellular and genetic therapies. The principle fields involve the reconstruction of compromised epithelial coatings, like the epidermis, cornea, urethra, oral mucosa, and therapies for rare genetic dermatological diseases, like Epidermolysis bullosa, a fragile skin disorder. The new center in Modena is named after Professor Stefano Ferrari, who planned the center, but died last August, just a few months before seeing it completed. Gian Carlo Pellacani, the Dean of the University of Modena said, “Ferrari understood the strategic value and importance of involving the university in a project able to unite research, experimentation, application, and transferal of results, believing in an efficient synergy between the university and the world of business.
The challenge for researchers now is to cure devastating diseases that until now have been fought with long and inefficient treatments. This is a new medical frontier that needs continued investments. The building also stands out for its giraffe skin exterior design whose geometry is based on mathematical formulas that regulate the morphogenesis of animal tissue. The Modena center of regenerative medicine also received compliments and best wishes from . According to the Italian premier, the center contributes to discredit negative myths spread across the country, reagrding “brain drain” of the country’s most important scientists and intellects. Your dedication, your commitment, and your will, prove that Italy has the resources, the intellect, the morals, and the economy to compete at the highest level in scientific research. This is finally a positive message, an example of excellence, and a model to imitate.”