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WORLD RENOWNED RESEARCHER JAMES WILSON, M.D., PH.D., TO LEAD UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL CENTER'S GENE THERAPY INITIATIVE

 WORLD RENOWNED RESEARCHER JAMES WILSON, M.D., PH.D., TO LEAD


UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL CENTER'S GENE THERAPY INITIATIVE
 PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- William N. Kelley, M.D., chief executive officer and dean of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and Edward W. Holmes, M.D., chairman of its Department of Medicine, announced today that renowned gene therapy researcher James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., will be joining the medical center as director- designate of the Human Gene Therapy Initiative and chief of the Division of Genetics in the Department of Medicine.
 Wilson will also serve on the staff of The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology.
 "Jim's decision to join us here at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center is a monumental win for Philadelphia's medical community and for the outstanding team of faculty we already have in place here at Penn," said Kelley, who worked previously with Wilson at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
 "The fact that Jim feels Penn is the place to be in terms of the pioneering research that is conducted here, is a true symbol of the solid commitment that the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center has made to the emerging science which will form the basis for gene therapy in humans," added Holmes.
 "Certainly one of the factors that impacted my decision to come to Penn is Dr. Kelley's commitment to building a world-class biomedical research complex here," said Wilson. "I am extremely excited about the future of this ever-evolving science and particularly about joining Dr. Kelley, Dr. Holmes, and the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania to continue my work."
 Wilson will join the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and The Wistar Institute from the University of Michigan Medical Center where he is currently chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics. He is best known in this field for leading the research team which employed gene replacement therapy to cure human cystic fibrosis cells in a laboratory culture. In addition, he was the first to conduct clinical trials of gene therapy outside of the NIH based on gene transfer to liver for the treatment of an inherited form of high cholesterol. Wilson also is the principal investigator on a five-year gene therapy grant from the NIH -- the first of its kind in the U.S. -- which will further gene therapy research and its clinical application in treating such diseases as cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, heart disease and hemophilia.
 According to Kelley, the first step of a 10-year plan to create the state-of-the-art research complex that Wilson referred to is the construction of the new Biomedical Research Building I (BRB-I). BRB-I will house programs in cancer, aging, cardiovascular disease, genetics and gene therapy involving top researchers from medicine, pathology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, dermatology and cell and developmental biology. The building's design will facilitate the sharing of expertise and equipment to promote interdisciplinary, collaborative research.
 Kelley also noted that The Wistar Institute, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania, was instrumental in recruiting Wilson to come to Philadelphia to continue his work. Since BRB-I is not yet complete, Wistar will provide laboratory space for Wilson's research. In addition, Wistar will develop a state-of-the-art recombinant vector facility where researchers can introduce genes into cells via genetically modified viral vectors.
 At Penn and The Wistar Institute, Wilson will collaborate with other scientists interested in gene therapy. Giovanni Rovera, M.D., director of the Institute, said, "We're enthusiastic for this opportunity to have Dr. Wilson work at Wistar over the next several years. Through his joint appointment, Wilson helps to move the focus of basic science research towards clinically relevant programs."
 In addition, Wilson's work will focus on children as well as on adults. Thus, he will also be working with the Penn faculty based at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
 /delval/
 -0- 10/5/92
 /Editors: Dr. Wilson will be available for interviews from 2:30 to 5 p.m. today. In addition, he will speak at a symposium on gene therapy tonight during the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center's BRB-I celebration from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Further directions and parking passes are available by calling 215-732-4100./
 /CONTACT: Christine Reimert or Mary Stengel of The Tierney Group, 215-732-4100, for the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center/ CO: University of Pennsylvania Medical Center ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU: PER


MP-MK -- PH002 -- 6458 10/05/92 09:44 EDT
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