SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The University of California at San Francisco’s Parnassus campus is now officially the home to a new state-of-the-art stem cell research building.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The $123 million Ray & Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building took two and a half years to build and contains four floors of open labs. It will be completely devoted to researching how stem cells could replace or regenerate tissues, organs and the like.

“Much of it sounds like science-fiction. But the truth of the matter is that it’s happening even faster than I predicted,” said Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, a world renowned brain stem cell scientist.

Kriegstein, who has been named director of  UCSF’s stem cell biology program, said the facility will allow researchers to come together and collaborate.

“We are actually engaged in a clinical trial right now, one of the first to use stem cells in patients,” he said. “Although this is a very, very rare disease, this is a trial that is a first step towards treating more common diseases, like multiple sclerosis, where the same cell types are not functioning properly.”

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman presided over Wednesday’s grand opening.

“To look up now and see an entire building dedicated to stem cell research and created with state and private funds is truly gratifying,” she said.

70 percent of the building was paid for through private donations.

“It is a great day for the field of stem cell research, and, most importantly, for the human race,” said Desmond-Hellman.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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