Human Gene Therapy Initiative records, 1988-1992
Using These Materials
- The records are open to research.
- University of Michigan. Molecular Medicine and Human Genetics Division.
- Molecular Medicine and Genetics Division established within the Department of Internal Medicine in 1991 to coordinate aspects of University of Michigan research as part of the Human Genome Project, an international effort to identify and map the genetic structure of the human chromosomes. Planning records from the University of Michigan Internal Medicine Molecular Medicine and Genetics Division relating to the unit's participation in human gene therapy; include minutes, development and feasibility studies, and a copy of the program proposal, "Experimental Models of Gene Therapy."
- 3 linear feet
- Call Number:
- 9426 Bimu 2
- Finding aid created by Brian A. Williams, April 1994
- Scope and Content:
The records of the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine Molecular Medicine and Genetics Division, dating from 1988 to 1992, document some of the earliest gene therapy endeavors, centering on successful efforts to establish a Human Genome Center at the university. The bulk of the records focus on the development of the program project grant, "Experimental Models of Gene Therapy." The collection, organized in four series, includes Human Gene Therapy Initiative (an early effort to establish a Human Genome Center at the University of Michigan), Scientific Basis for Gene Therapy, Experimental Models of Gene Therapy, and Center for Excellence in Gene Therapy files. The organization of the series reflects the general chronology of the development of gene therapy research at the University of Michigan
- Biographical / Historical:
Research in the field of human genetics at the University of Michigan dates from 1941 when a Hereditary Clinic was established under the direction of the Laboratory of Vertebrate Biology and the University Hospital. In 1956 the clinic underwent reorganization, resulting in the creation of the Department of Human Genetics, the oldest such department in the nation. In 1977 the Division of Medical Genetics was established within the Department of Internal Medicine, a move which greatly strengthened the ties in the Medical School between the basic science and clinical aspects of genetics. Human gene therapy is a more recent development, however, dating from 1984 when the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) established a unit at the University of Michigan. In the original application for this unit, Dr. William N. Kelley (b. 1939) identified gene transfer as one of the Unit's major goals.
A core of talented young genetic researchers were recruited to the faculty, including Dr. Thomas J. Palella (b. 1951), Dr. Francis S. Collins (b. 1950), Dr. Gary J. Nabel (b. 1953), and Dr. James M. Wilson (b. 1955). In 1987 Dr. Kelley was awarded the University of Michigan's first grant on gene therapy (Somatic Cell Human HPRT [an enzyme associated with Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome] Transfer) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The following year, Drs. Palella, Wilson, and Kelley published the first papers on gene therapy research by University of Michigan faculty members.
In 1988 the NIH and the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Human Genome Project, part of a massive, fifteen-year $3 billion international effort to identify, map, and analyze the genetic structure of the twenty-three pairs of human chromosomes, collectively referred to as the human genome. In 1989 the National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR), the NIH component of the project, awarded the University of Michigan $8.9 million to establish one of the first four five-year research centers in the nation (similar centers were established at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-San Francisco, and Washington University in St. Louis).
The Human Genome Center established at the University of Michigan in 1989 brought together investigators from seventeen academic departments in four schools, including Medicine, Engineering, Public Health, and Literature, Science and the Arts. This multi-disciplinary research center fostered the collaborative relationship between basic scientists and clinical investigators. The Genome Ethics Committee was also created at this time to address the philosophical and ethical issues raised by the application of gene therapy to humans.
In 1990 the NIH funded the five-year, $5 million experimental program project, "Experimental Models of Gene Therapy," the only program project of its kind in the nation. The research was designed to support efforts to develop ways of transferring genes of therapeutic interest into a variety of organs, both in tissue culture and in animals. This project followed the much publicized discovery by Dr. Collins and associates of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.
The relationship between the medical sciences and human genetics was broadened in 1991 by the establishment of the Molecular Medicine and Genetics Division in the Department of Internal Medicine. A Human Applications Laboratory was built in 1992 to accommodate the first gene therapy trials at the university, and in July 1992 the Regents approved the creation of a new Center for Molecular Medicine specifically designed to strengthen research in gene therapy. The new center effectively consolidated the many gene therapy resources and placed them within the Medical Science Research Building (MSRB).
Although several of the early key participants responsible for making the university a pioneer in gene therapy research from 1988 to 1992 have left, gene therapy remains a vital program at Michigan. Among the significant departures were Dr. Kelley, who left in 1990 to assume the deanship of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center; Dr. Wilson, who left in 1992 to assume the post of director-designate of the human gene therapy initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center; and Dr. Collins, who departed in 1993 to head the National Center for Human Genome Research.
Beatty, John, and Sandager, Elizabeth, "Documenting the Human Genome Project: Challenges and Opportunities," (Unpublished report from the History of Science Society), 1 October 1992.
Bishop, Jerry E., and Waldholz, Michael. Genome: The Story of the Most Astonishing Scientific Adventure of Our Time: The Attempt to Map All the Genes in the Human Body. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
Collins, Francis S., "Identification of Disease Genes: Recent Successes," Hospital Practice 15 October 1991: 93-98.
Finn, Kristen Lidke, "Learning to Fly: Human Genome Theory at Michigan," Advance (Summer 1991): 13-22.
Kelley, William N., "The University of Michigan Human Gene Therapy Initiative," (Unpublished program proposal) 16 January 1989 [see box 1].
Shears, Toni, "The Right Stuff' Talent, Tenacity and Technology Help Decode the Human Genome," Advance (Summer 1991): 2-13.
Shears, Toni, "Center for Molecular Medicine Approved by Regents," University Record, 20 July 1992.
Speaker, Susan L., and Lindee, Susan, "A Guide to the Human Genome Project: Technologies, People and Institutions," (Unpublished draft produced by Beckman Center for Chemical History) 3 July 1992.
Watson, James D., "The Human Genome Initiative: A Statement of Need," Hospital Practice 15 October 1991: 69-73.
Wills, Christopher. Exons, Introns, and Talking Genes. New York: Basic Books, 1991.
- Acquisition Information:
- The record group (donor # 7292 ) was received in one accession in October 1993.
No further additions to the records are expected.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Additional records regarding the planning and development of human gene therapy at the University of Michigan may be found in the following University of Michigan record groups: Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, Office of the President, and Office of the Vice-President for Research.
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Using These Materials
The records are open to research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, box, Human Gene Therapy Initiative records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan