Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) is an independent nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Though an independent organization, it is academically affiliated with the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and located on the campus of [Harbor-UCLA Medical Center]].
It was founded in 1952, and has more than 100 researchers studying infectious diseases, chronic diseases, inherited illnesses, cancer, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. One of Los Angeles' largest and most advanced medical research institutes, LA BioMed got its start in a collection of army barracks that had originally been part of the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation Hospital during World War II. Founded by physicians seeking solutions to the diversity of public health problems they experienced every day in one of the nation’s busiest hospitals, LA BioMed supports research to find real-world solutions to real-world health problems around the world.
Since its founding, LA BioMed has made innovative scientific breakthroughs with worldwide implications including the modern day paramedic model for emergency care in the U.S., low-cost eyedrops that prevent blindness in children in developing countries, the modern cholesterol screening test and early discoveries that led to in vitro fertilization.
More recently, it's become an incubator of biomedical startups, including companies that are developing a novel vaccine to prevent the superbug MRSA and fungal infections, a device to detect when babies are in danger of succumbing to sudden infant death syndrome and therapies to prevent painful sickle cell crises. It's also pioneering new therapies that are being developed by others for the market, including a new cosmetic therapy for which Kythera Biopharmaceuticals is seeking final regulatory approval.
LA BioMed Innovations
Institute scientists achieved successful fertilization through artificial implantation of the ovum, a breakthrough that would lead to the world’s first ovum transfer birth some 20 years later. The Institute’s investigators created the paramedic model for emergency care that is now a life-saving standard nationwide and identified the genetic basis for the skin disease, x-linked ichthyosis.
The institute's developmental biology research team discovered the key to stimulating human growth. Other teams of Institute investigators pioneered diagnostic tests that remain the standard today, including the modern cholesterol test. They created a testing and outreach program that has virtually eliminated new cases] of Tay-Sachs disease in high-risk populations. They also developed a thyroid deficiency test for infants now used in most of the industrialized world to help prevent irreversible developmental disabilities. In addition, the Institute patented an implant that helped surgeons reconstruct severely injured jaws.
In the 1980s, the institute founded a Perinatal Clinical Research Center, one of eight in the United States. Institute investigators helped develop refined synthetic surfactants that have saved the lives of thousands of premature babies, and they evaluated vaccines for influenza, herpes simplex and much more. They also performed the first ovum transfer, laying the groundwork for a procedure that’s resulted in more than 47,000 births to infertile couples in the U.S. alone.
Institute advances included the use of non-invasive techniques for detecting breast cancer, development an inexpensive treatment for eye diseases that’s saved the sight of thousands of children in underdeveloped nations, the use of antiviral medications to treat HIV infections, stent technology to treat devastating abdominal aneurysms and an enzyme replacement therapy to help victims of a devastating genetic disorder, Hurler-Scheie disease. The Institute’s scientists also played key roles in the development of innovative approaches to prenatal care which have virtually eliminated in this country maternal-fetal transmission of the virus which causes AIDS.
2000 & beyond
Institute investigators developed new rehabilitation strategies for millions of sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other disorders. The Institute spawned numerous new biotechnology startups, including Novadigm Therapeutics, Emmaus Life Sciences Inc., QT Medical and more.
- Daily Breeze, April 26, 2014, "LA BioMed Woos Deep Pockets Interested in its Life-Saving Research,: http://www.dailybreeze.com/science/20140426/la-biomed-woos-deep-pockets-interested-in-its-lifesaving-research; Los Angeles Business Journal, Nov. 4, 2013, "Leaving the Lab," http://labusinessjournal.www.clients.ellingtoncms.com/news/2013/nov/04/leaving-lab/
- Medical lab does first-rate research in second-rate facilities (Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2012)