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San Antonio Earns Reputation as Thriving Biomedical Research Center, Spring 2007
March 20, 2007

Innovation Texas

When the federal government issued its list of possible sites for a massive new lab to study potential bioterror threats and animal diseases that could cross into humans, San Antonio was the nation’s only city offering three locations: the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, Texas Research Park and Brooks City-Base.

That’s a testament to San Antonio’s growing reputation as a biomedical research center and home to the nation’s only privately-owned Biosafety Level-4 lab, which has operated safely with strong local support for several years.  The three local sites, working collaboratively under the Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium, are preparing for site visits this spring as part of the selection process.

San Antonio’s long tradition of support for America’s military and its expanding role as the “home of military medicine” were spotlighted in January’s dedication of the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center.  The privately funded, $50-million facility houses next-generation technology to help severely injured troops recover from battlefield wounds and non-combat injuries.

Military medicine programs, including the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, are expected to grow significantly in San Antonio, as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.  BRAC will relocate many Department of Defense medical and dental missions to San Antonio, making Fort Sam Houston the center for enlisted military medical training.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) received a major boost this year when philanthropist Bill Greehey donated $25 million to what is now the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute. The transformational gift is expected to be a catalyst for increased philanthropic giving.

BioMed SA, a non-profit organization dedicated to growing and promoting San Antonio’s biomedical industry, recently bestowed the first Palmaz Prize for Innovation in Healthcare and the Biosciences on UTHSCSA’s Julio Palmaz, M.D., inventor of the PALMAZ® Stent, now implanted in 2 million heart patients annually.  The University of Texas System also recognized Dr. Palmaz’s invention with the Chancellor’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award, as the most noteworthy innovation by a single UT System researcher.

To further expand and develop intellectual property in San Antonio, UTHSCSA and the University of Texas at San Antonio have combined efforts into a single Office of Technology Ventures.  This unique collaboration, which also includes other UT campuses in South Texas, will maximize opportunities for bundling discoveries arising from multiple research labs.

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