September 23, 2009 in City

Tax authority awards medical grant

Funds will help create human tissue bank and clinical data repository
By The Spokesman-Review
 

About the board

HSSA’s nine-member public board awards the grants.

About 75 percent of the money is to be spent for health sciences, another 15 percent for health care services, and the remaining 10 percent for administrative costs.

A Spokane medical research organization has received a $675,000 grant from a local taxing authority.

The Institute for Systems Medicine will use the grant from the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County to create a human tissue bank and boost efforts to set up a clinical data repository, said Anthony Bonanzino, chief executive officer of ISM, a nonprofit group.

The projects will help provide a foundation for future biomedical research, along with a clinical instrumentation laboratory, he said.

“Medical research can’t exist without human tissue samples and a repository for clinical data that can be shared,” Bonanzino said. “There’s a lot at stake here. We’re on the cusp of doing some pretty exciting things in the community.”

Local business leaders and politicians envisioned ISM several years ago as an effort to tie together and expand research opportunities to help Spokane’s economy.

Lofty goals of raising $100 million have been tempered in recent years, said ISM vice chairman Tom Paine, who also works as an executive of Avista Corp.

Economic realities set in and the organization’s board decided to instead embark on projects that can be held up as steady progress deserving of new funding.

Bonanzino said the repository has begun to take shape with the help of Kenn Daratha, an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Washington State University.

The grant dovetails with public and private sources of money and support by Washington State University, Providence Health Care, Gonzaga University, Avista Corp., and local, state and federal government.

The Legislature approved legislation in 2007 to allow the county to establish the HSSA. The law allows the HSSA to collect a portion of county tax revenues – estimated at about $1.4 million a year.


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