The New Regenerative Medicine Research Building at the Buck Institute for Age Research Novato, California

“The Buck Institute’s unique contribution to regenerative medicine research is its intensive focus on understanding why aging tissues lose their capacity to regenerate and why stem cells fail to function as one gets older. Equally important, the Institute is trying to understand how tissues change during aging such that they no longer support normal regenerative processes. Until we understand – and then neutralize – the age-related tissue changes that disrupt normal cellular behavior, many stem cell therapies are doomed to fail in older people.”

- Judy Campisi, Ph.D., Professor -


In September, 2010, the Buck Institute for Age Research will break ground on a new state-of-the-art biomedical research facility dedicated to understanding how the regeneration of human cells and tissues can be used to treat life-threatening diseases of older age, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, stroke, and diabetes.

When it opens in March, 2012, the new research building – the Buck Institute’s third major scientific facility – will be a state-of-the-art, four-story, 65,000 square-foot laboratory building on the Institute’s 488-acre campus in Novato, California. The new building has been designed in keeping with the Institute’s original Master Plan, developed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei.

The projected cost of constructing and equipping the new research building is $41 million. To fund the project, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has pledged $20.5 million – a contribution that is contingent on the Buck Institute raising $20.5 million from other external sources.

The Buck Institute now seeks to raise a total of $20.5 million in gifts and pledges from private contributions as soon as possible to complete project funding and to minimize the cost of interim project financing.

A pledge of $10 million will entitle a donor to name the new Regenerative Medicine Research Building. Additional naming opportunities listed at the end of this document are available to recognize other major gifts to fund the new facility.

Why the Diseases of Aging Place Our Nation’s Future at Risk

Aging is the principal risk factor in often untreatable, life-threatening chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. More recently, aging is widely viewed as a cause of these diseases. Consequently it is no accident that the incidence of these diseases increases dramatically with age and that the cost of providing medical care for someone 65 or older is nearly five times the cost of treating a younger person.

Dealing with the diseases of aging is rapidly becoming the most daunting social and economic challenge the U.S. has ever faced. Just 20 years from now, the number of Americans 65 or older will nearly double – from 40 million today to more than 70 million. Consequently, unless the major chronic diseases of aging can be delayed or cured, the medical needs of America’s seniors will overwhelm the capacity of our healthcare system as well as our ability to finance quality medical care for those who will need it.

For example, just one of the many diseases associated with aging – Alzheimer’s disease – could have disastrous consequences for our nation’s future. Although Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease now constitute only one-tenth of the entire Medicare population, they account for more than one-third of all Medicare spending! By 2025, due to the dramatic increase in the number of those 65 or older, annual Medicare/Medicaid spending to treat those with Alzheimer’s disease will grow from $90 billion to $325 billion. When the cost of treating those afflicted with other aging-related diseases is added to this amount, the total cost will be astronomical.

The Buck Institute’s Unique Role in Addressing This Major Health Challenge

Investing in scientific research such as that conducted at the Buck Institute is essential to provide vital solutions to prevent this economic and social disaster. Simply training more physicians and building more hospitals will not avert this crisis anymore than building iron lungs eliminated polio as a major killer a half century ago. It was basic research in the 1930s that yielded penicillin to treat pneumonia and other deadly bacterial infections, and it was basic research that produced lifesaving vaccines for smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and most recently shingles and swine flu.

Investing in scientific research in leading centers such as the Buck Institute provides hope that Americans will no longer have to suffer the ravages of Parkinson’s disease, the indignity of Alzheimer’s disease, or the devastation of cancer as they move into their later years of life. Investing in scientific research is the only way to identify the causes and risk factors associated with diseases that afflict older people. Only scientific research will make it possible to find ways to treat or delay the onset of these life-threatening disorders.

Ironically, most research on aging-related diseases does not focus on aging as a major cause of these diseases! This represents an enormous shortcoming, because recent research conducted at the Buck Institute and other leading research centers confirms that disease and the mechanisms of aging are closely connected. Already, Buck scientists have simulated the aging process in laboratory animals such as mice to study human disease, and Buck investigators are now applying the knowledge of basic aging processes to reveal the causes of human disease.

In fact, the Buck Institute is the nation’s first and only not-for-profit, independent research center that seeks to understand both the natural human aging process and how this process gives rise to a number of life-threatening diseases that have eluded effective treatment. Through their work, Buck scientists are laying the critical groundwork for the development of new diagnostic tests and treatments to prevent, delay, and treat the devastating disorders for which aging is the most common risk factor.

The Buck Institute’s unique structure brings together scientists from diverse fields of expertise who are driven to discover and understand the basic biological functions of aging, and from this effort, to find solutions to age-related disease. In so doing, the Institute has pioneered the revolutionary field of “geroscience” by bringing together world-renowned experts from genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience, cancer biology, and other diverse fields to zero in on the causes and risk factors associated with aging-related diseases. The Buck Institute’s driving force is to increase the healthy years of life, so that growing older no longer means growing ill.

History validates the effectiveness of the Buck Institute’s highly focused, interdisciplinary approach: the vast majority of high-impact medical breakthroughs occur where different scientific disciplines intersect – not necessarily within the disciplines themselves. And the research organizations best equipped to foster this interaction are small, nonprofit, independent, interdisciplinary research centers such as the Buck Institute which operate without bureaucratic red tape and without a typical university departmental structure that tends to compartmentalize specific medical problems in artificial ways.

Cancer and neurodegenerative diseases provide excellent examples of such compartmentalization: while there are numerous research centers dedicated to cancer or to neurodegenerative diseases – both of which are caused primarily by aging – the Buck Institute is one of the few research centers worldwide that is focusing on the early events in the aging process which could yield groundbreaking insights into both groups of diseases.

As evidence of the power of this approach, the Buck Institute has been designated a ‘National Center of Excellence in Age Research’ by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Moreover, the Institute has compiled an exemplary record of major discoveries that shed new light on the fundamental mechanisms of aging and on how Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, breast cancer, and other aging-related diseases might be delayed or prevented, treated, and ultimately eliminated.

Regenerative Medicine and the Aging Process

One of the most exciting and rapidly developing fields of biomedical research involves regenerative medicine, which is devising entirely new ways to create living, functional cells and tissue to repair or replace human cells, tissue, or organ function lost due to age, disease, injury, or congenital defects. The ultimate goals of researchers engaged in regenerative medicine are to:

* naturally stimulate damaged cells, tissues, and organs in the human body to heal themselves;
* grow cells, tissues, and organs in the laboratory and safely implant them when the body cannot heal itself – hopefully eventually solving the severe shortage of donated organs for patients requiring life-saving organ transplantation; and
* eliminate the rejection of transplanted organs, since the organ's cells will match those of the patient.

The field of regenerative medicine encompasses several areas of investigation, the most well publicized of which uses stem cells to provide breakthrough treatments – hopefully even cures – for certain diseases. Other key areas of regenerative medicine research include the natural stimulation of cell regeneration using biologically active molecules, and the transplantation of organs and tissues, often called “tissue engineering.”

Human stem cells begin in a ‘neutral’ mode and then wait for their specific assignment beginning when one develops in the womb and continuing as one ages over many decades. During fetal development, stem cells give rise to all cells and tissues in the human body: some cells become bones, some become brain cells and nerves, some become muscle, and others become internal organs – with all stem cells taking orders from our individual genetic code (DNA).

After disease strikes, human stem cells provide a means to recover functions that have been lost, and they also provide a powerful scientific tool to reveal the mechanisms of healing. Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated the remarkable versatility of stem cells, and they have long dreamed of harnessing stem cells to find new life-saving treatments for disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington’s (“Woody Guthrie’s”) disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, diabetes, lupus, heart failure, and other deadly disorders.

Regenerative Medicine Research at the Buck Institute

The Buck Institute has firmly established itself as one of the nation’s leading resreach centers in regenerative medicine, with particular expertise in stem cell research. As an indication of this capability, since 2006 when the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) began making competitively awarded grants, the Buck Institute has received more grant dollars from CIRM for stem cell and other regenerative medical research than any other nonprofit independent research center in California.

What distinguishes the Buck Institute’s regenerative medicine research program from that of other major biomedical research centers worldwide is its special focus on understanding how the aging process affects the ability of cells, tissue, and organs to regenerate. As an example of the value of the Institute’s unique focus on the aging process, knowing how stem cells change with age – and how these changes relate to the chronic diseases of aging – will be essential to developing effective stem cell therapies designed for older people.

The Buck Institute’s research in regenerative medicine covers a wide range of medical problems associated with aging, including these promising initiatives:

* The Andersen Laboratory is using natural human growth factors to coax stem cells already present in the brain to replace brain cells destroyed by Parkinson’s disease.

* The Benz Laboratory is seeking to convert malignant cells that cause breast cancer into more normal functioning mammary cells.

* The Campisi Laboratory is trying to undertstand why aged tissues lose their capacity to regenerate and why stem celltherapies need to be designed with the emphasis on effectiveness in older persons.

* The Ellerby Laboratory is using induced pluripotent stem cells and human embryonic stem cells to replace brain cells lost from Huntington’s disease.

* The Gibson Laboratory is trying to ascertain how the aging process affects the function of stem cell proteins following stem cell replacement therapy.

* The Kapahi Laboratory is attempting to understand how one’s diet can influence the effectiveness of natural human stem cells to regenerate normal cells and tissue.

* The Greenberg Laboratory is examining how the brain naturally protects itself from injury and how brain function may be restored following a stroke or other neurological disorders.

* The Lithgow Laboratory is studying how signals from stem cell populations influence other aspects of aging, including longevity.

The Buck Institute now seeks to expand its capability in regenerative medicine by building on a strong foundation in stem cell biology and other areas of cell and tissue regeneration. To accomplish this, the Institute must now increase the capacity of its laboratory facilities and enlarge the team of scientific investigators dedicated to this most promising field of scientific inquiry.

Increasing the Capacity of the Buck Institute
to Maximize Its Impact on Age-Related Health Problems

The distinguished history and extraordinary contributions of the nation’s preeminent independent biomedical research institutes – notably The Rockefeller University in Manhattan, Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island – indicate that developing ‘critical mass’ in health-related areas targeted for priority focus is a prerequisite to achieving scientific excellence and impact.

With the success of these distinguished institutes as a roadmap, the Buck Institute is pursuing a plan for the phased growth of its scientific Faculty, the objective being to develop greater scientific depth and breadth – both of which are essential for the Institute to succeed in its unique quest to prevent and treat aging-related diseases.

The Buck Institute’s scientific team currently consists of 17 Faculty scientists supported by 175 staff scientists, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and technicians. Since 1999, Buck Institute scientists have published more than 660 scholarly papers in prestigious scientific journals. They have also obtained numerous patents (and patents pending) for discoveries that may someday yield revolutionary clinical applications. Collectively, Buck Institute investigators have achieved one of the highest grant approval rates at the NIH of any research organization in the United States – excellent evidence of the outstanding quality of their research.

The Buck Institute presently conducts its research activities in two research buildings consisting of 185,000 square feet of laboratory space on its campus in Novato. The Institute’s Master Plan calls for the construction of three more research buildings of 65,000 square feet each. Together these five major research buildings will provide the capacity to accommodate the laboratories of up to 60 faculty scientists and their research teams.

To fulfill this growth plan, the Institute will expand its research facilities and scientific personnel in three phases over the next 15 years:

- Phase I (Present – 2014): Construct the Institute’s third building, a 65,000 square-foot research facility dedicated to research in regenerative medicine, and recruit up to 12 new faculty scientists and their research teams to occupy the new facility and eight (8) other faculty scientists to occupy space now available in the existing second building.

- Phase II (2015 – 2020): Construct the Institute’s fourth building, a 65,000 square-foot research building, and recruit up to 12 additional faculty scientists and research teams to occupy this facility.

- Phase III (2020 – 2025): Complete the Institute’s expansion plan with the construction of a fifth research building containing 65,000 square feet, and recruit up to 12 additional faculty scientists and research teams to occupy this facility, thereby bringing the Institute’s scientific faculty to approximately 60.

When its plan for expansion is completed 15 years from now, the Buck Institute will be able to lay claim to having assembled ‘under one roof’ the world’s most talented and creative group of scientific specialists whose common objective is to extend the healthy years of human life by helping to prevent and ultimately eradicate the diseases that afflict older people.

Features of the New Regenerative Medicine Research Building

Designed by Perkins + Will in accordance with I.M. Pei’s original Master Plan for the Buck Institute campus, the new Regenerative Medicine Research Building will be a four-story structure on a hillside facing south with dramatic views extending to Napa, Oakland, and San Francisco. The building will be virtually identical in footprint, design, and appearance to the adjacent laboratory building of similar size, and it will be built to obtain LEED certification at the highest possible levels (Silver at a minimum, and possibly Platinum).

The new building will accommodate the research laboratories and support space for up to 12 faculty scientists and their research teams. An ‘open lab’ configuration that eliminates interior walls and partitions and uses overhead service carriers will encourage interaction among scientists from different laboratory groups. This configuration will also allow expensive instruments and equipment to be shared among various scientists, and will result in significant savings in cost and time when adapting the lab space to meet changing needs and uses. (The only enclosed rooms in the lab areas will be special purpose rooms requiring higher air filtration and/or special environments for sophisticated instruments.)

One of the major goals of the new building is to integrate – and increase – both the depth and the breadth of Buck Institute expertise in applying regenerative approaches to the study of aging and age-related diseases. The facility will also expand the services of the Institute’s existing core laboratories to serve the needs of stem cell research programs at other research organizations. For example, the new building will feature a large-scale stem cell bio-specimen and bio-repository storage bank that will serve as a shared facility for stem cell research programs at other centers in addition to the Buck Institute.

Together, these features will allow the Buck Institute to train a larger number of young scientists in the use of stem cell technology in aging research, to accommodate visiting stem cell scientists, and to foster fruitful collaborations with stem cell investigators from other institutions.

The new building will house the laboratories of three current Buck Institute faculty scientists engaged primarily in stem cell research (Drs. Xianmin Zeng, David Greenberg, and Kunlin Jin), two current scientists involved in significant stem cell-related studies (Drs. Dale Bredesen and Judith Campisi), and one part-time scientist devoted exclusively to stem cell research (Dr. Mahendra Rao). The remaining space will be earmarked for new faculty investigators recruited to the Institute as part of its expansion plans.

Construction of the new building will begin in September 2010, with occupancy scheduled for March 2012.

The Need for Philanthropic Support to Fund the Institute’s Planned Expansion

Like all leading nonprofit biomedical research centers, the Buck Institute relies on competitively awarded, peer-reviewed grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Federal agencies to generate a significant portion (50-55%) of its ongoing operating budget. Today, competition nationally for such grants has never been keener: 92 of every 100 grants submitted to the National Institute on Aging are not funded – a serious trend that is not expected to improve in the near future. Thus, the Buck Institute’s ability to recruit highly talented researchers who can maintain, even increase, this level of federal funding is vital to the Institute’s future success.

While the NIH and other Federal agencies provide research support for scientists once they are established at a research institution, these agencies do not provide funds for research centers to recruit new scientists, and they do not provide funds to construct research laboratories for current and new scientists. Funds for recruitment and laboratory construction must be obtained entirely through philanthropic contributions or other external sources.

Therefore, in order for the Buck Institute to realize its plan for growth, philanthropic support will be critical to construct and equip the 3rd, 4th, and 5th research buildings, and to recruit the 40+ new faculty scientists and their research teams to occupy these facilities.

The Immediate Funding Need of the New Regenerative Medicine Research Building

Financing the cost of constructing the Institute’s new building will occur in two segments.

Half of the cost of construction will be funded by a challenge grant of $20.5 million from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

The other half of the budget – the non-CIRM segment – must be funded by a total of $20.5 million gifts and pledges now being raised from private sources to match the CIRM challenge grant.

The non-CIRM segment will be funded initially using the Buck Institute’s reserve funds, followed by interim debt financing scheduled to be locked in by June, 2010, and finally by payments on pledges obtained in the fundraising campaign. Once the non-CIRM segment of the budget has been expended, CIRM will release its portion of construction funds ($20.5 million) to the Institute.

Thus, the Buck Institute’s highest, immediate priority is to raise a total of $20.5 million in gifts and pledges from private sources as rapidly as possible, to match the CIRM challenge grant and to minimize the cost of debt service on borrowed funds.

Once this immediate funding objective is fulfilled, the Institute will redirect its attention to raising funds to support the recruitment of scientific investigators to occupy the laboratories and to support the Institute’s scientific operations.

The Buck Institute now seeks a pledge of $10 million to name the third research building, as well as additional gifts totaling $10.5 million to name prominent interior portions of the new facility (see following pages for specific recognition opportunities).

Contact Information

To obtain more information about the new Regenerative Medicine Research Building at the Buck Institute for Age Research, please contact:

Masha Shifs
Campaign Director
Buck Institute for Age Research
8001 Redwood Boulevard
Novato, California 94945
Tel: (415) 209-2239

Naming Opportunities for Contributions to the
New Regenerative Medicine Research Building

To Name: Gift Commitment:


Building A (Administration Building)__________________________________________$20,000,000

Building 4______________________________________________________________$10,000,000

Atrium / Pavilion in Building A _______________________________________________$5,000,000

Main Entry Drive from Redwood Highway_______________________________________$5,000,000

Entry Foyer in Building A____________________________________________________$1,000,000

Entry Circle in Front of Building A_____________________________________________$1,000,000

Atrium Conference Room_____________________________________________________$500,000

Core Laboratory (several)_______________________________________________$500,000 (each)

Classroom (2)________________________________________________________$150,000 (each)


Overall Building

New Regenerative Medicine Research Building_________________________________$10,000,000

First Floor (See Floor Plan That Follows)

Entire First Floor _ _______________________________________________________$2,000,000

Large Open Research Laboratories Area (3,106 SF) _______________________________$750,000

Cafeteria / Kitchen Area (3,068 SF) ___________________________________________$750,000

Fitness Center (2,103 SF) ___________________________________________________$500,000

Conference Room (faces south) (633 SF) _______________________________________$300,000

Central Atrium ___________________________________________________________ $250,000

Faculty Scientist Offices Suite (972 SF) ________________________________________$200,000

Conference Room (faces south) (366 SF) _______________________________________$200,000

Laboratory Bench Area for a Faculty Scientist (4)____________________________$100,000 (each)

Faculty Scientist Office (4 @ 120 SF each)__________________________________$50,000 (each)

Second Floor (See Floor Plan That Follows)

Entire Second Floor________________________________________________________$2,000,000

Large Open Research Laboratories Area (6,808 SF) ______________________________$1,000,000

Conference Room (faces south) (627 SF) _______________________________________ $350,000

Smaller Open Research Laboratories Area (2,302 SF) ______________________________$300,000

Conference Room (faces north) (505 SF) _______________________________________$250,000

Central Atriu ______________________________________________________________$250,000

Faculty Scientist Offices Suite (1181 SF) _______________________________________ $200,000

Laboratory Area for a Faculty Scientist (5) _________________________________$100,000 (each)

Faculty Scientist Office (5 @ 118 – 148 SF each) ____________________________ $50,000 (each)

Break Room (150 SF) _______________________________________________________$35,000

Third Floor (See Floor Plan That Follows)

Entire Third Floor ________________________________________________________ $2,000,000

Large Open Research Laboratories Area (6,807 SF) _____________________________ $1,000,000

Smaller Open Research Laboratories Area (2,287 SF) _____________________________ $300,000

Conference Room (faces south) (653 SF) ________________________________________$350,000

Central Atrium ____________________________________________________________ $250,000

Conference Room (faces north) (505 SF) _______________________________________$250,000

Faculty Scientist Offices Suite (1176 SF) _______________________________________ $200,000

Laboratory Bench Area for a Faculty Scientist (5)____________________________$100,000 (each)

Faculty Scientist Office (5 @ 118-148 SF each) _____________________________ $50,000 (each)

Break Room (150 SF) _______________________________________________________$35,000





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