Stem Cell Studies Approved for UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville

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A series of new stem cell studies that could potentially lead to breakthroughs in medicine has been approved to take place at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. The Institutional Review Board has given the go-ahead for John Murray, M.D., and his team to begin work on the project.

“The IRB approval is a huge first step in moving forward with this research that we hope can eventually change lives,” said Murray, an assistant professor in UF Health Jacksonville’s department of surgery and chief of the division of plastic surgery. “We’re excited to take the next step in this groundbreaking study.”

The research Murray and his group will conduct will use adipose-derived stem cells taken from a patient’s own body fat, mainly from areas around the abdomen.

Each year in the United States, billions of dollars are spent on the treatment and consequences of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and organ failure. Researchers say if healthy cells could be regrown from diseased cells, or if one’s own healthy cells could be engineered to prevent these diseases, not only would trillions of dollars be saved, but the quantity and quality of human life also could be significantly improved.

“We believe through regenerative medicine, physicians may be able to isolate well-characterized cell subtypes and potentially begin to engineer predictable, efficacious and safe clinical therapies,” said Murray.

The first study will last for one year and will attempt to determine whether human adipose-derived stem cells will retain their original relevant biological characteristics after they are isolated from the body. Using human fat obtained through liposuction, this study will use several advanced laboratory methods to prove that these stem cells match internationally accepted definitions. The stem cells will be isolated using a kit created by a Jacksonville-based private company, Reviticell Holdings Inc., with researchers and technicians from the University of Florida and the University of Rochester also taking part.

“Research is a vital part of our mission at the University of Florida because it has the potential to positively impact many lives,” said Leon Haley, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “This particular study is a good example of bringing top minds together to find answers that can change the way we approach health care.”


Iffie Okoronkwo, M.D. is a Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Management physician at Manhattan Spine and Sports Medicine (, a private practice based in New York City with 40 years of experience providing the finest expert medical care and services to patients around the world.

Dr. Iffie is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and, as a physiatrist, utilizes ultrasound guided injections, fluoroscopy guided injections, PRP, regenerative medicine, and more to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions affecting muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves.