In April 2011, Stanford University School of Medicine claimed to have established the “first PhD program in stem cell science in the world”. You can read the story at: http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2011/april/stem-phd.html, stating that “Stanford is the first to create a free-standing doctoral program dedicated solely to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine”. The article goes on to emphasize that stem cell biology is a distinct field and as Dr. Irving Weissman, Director, put it: “We are establishing an entirely new field that affects both life sciences and medicine”.
Dr. Walter P. Drake, Acting Dean of the Panama College of Cell Science, which offers a three year online PhD degree program in stem cell science applauded the news and stated that the analysis by others to the effect that stem cell biology is a separate discipline vindicated the College’s offering of a PhD program specialized in stem cell education and training. “I have said many times, that the discovery of the many cures that can be effectuated today by using adult repair stem cells from the patient, constitutes a significant new medical treatment, which will be the New Medicine now and in the future. How patients and disease will be treated is going to change forever, and more people need to be trained in this new field”.
Dr. Drake further stated that he agreed with Dr. Renee Reijo Pera’s comment to the effect that a stem cell biology graduate program appeals to a new generation of graduate students interested in applying their knowledge to address critical clinical needs.
The curriculum of the Panama College of Cell Science has been modified to provide greater emphasis on stem cell science and hormonal control of cellular repair. Courses such as “Fundamentals of Stem Cell Biology”, “Stem Cell Laboratory Protocols”, and “Disease Treatment with Autologous Stem Cells”, and “Fetal and Embryonic Stem Cell Treatment” are examples of some of the courses being offered. In fact, nearly half of the academic credits relate to stem cell studies, and even core subjects such as Molecular Biology and Immunology are presented with an eye toward relevance to stem cells. It is hoped that graduates of the Panama College of Cell Science program can walk into any lab, clinical, or academic setting and be productive.
We are not a heavyweight like the Stanford School of Medicine, to be sure, but yet we offer a nice affordable graduate program in stem cell biology, well suited to working adults such as lab technicians, clinicians, clinic administrators, and those interested in academia. Tuition is $3,900 per year with payment plan, or $2,750/year if paid annually in advance. Our three year program may be just the ticket for many students who want to expand their knowledge of stem cell science, particularly with respect to the clinical uses of adult repair stem cells, but do not have the time or funds needed to complete a program such as that offered by the the Stanford University School of Medicine.