The Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3) is a joint initiative from the School of Medicine and the Pratt School of Engineering. The Center seeks to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries currently lacking effective treatments. MC3 aims to create an ‘academic biotech organization’ within Duke, assembling a diverse group of scientists, clinicians, engineers, professional staff, entrepreneurs and industry partners to work together to discover, innovate, and translate novel cellular therapies to solve unmet clinical needs.

Biologics are not classical drugs. They have distinct developmental pathways, completely different regulations and the added complexity of often being personalized, patient-directed products. Biological therapies also require donor screening and qualification, sourcing of biological material, and specialized manufacturing in GMP facilities. Given this complexity, biological therapies often have to be nurtured and developed in house until completion of Phase I/II studies before these technologies can be outsourced to commercial companies. The Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3) provides the necessary research, laboratory-based and administrative infrastructure needed to discover and optimize these biological therapies and to translate them to the clinic in first-in-man proof of concept and follow-on developmental clinical trials.

The Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3) has four initial areas of focus:

  • Development and evaluation via clinical trials of cellular and tissue based regenerative therapies
  • Harnessing mechanisms of endogenous repair
  • Manufacturing and delivery of cells, tissues and biomaterials
  • Creating non-invasive in vivo imaging to monitor cell distribution and function

Initial clinical targets include:

  • Autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Hypoxic Ischemic injuries
  • Leukodystrophies
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke