March 2014 Newsletter
CIRM March Newsletter
- Viacyte Inc. receives $7M from JDRF as its CIRM-funded stem cell device for diabetes marches toward the clinic
- CIRM's Stem Cell Research Blog tops 1000 posts
- Hope for broken hearts this Valentine's Day - a CIRM clinical trial to repair the damage begins enrolling patients
- CIRM President Alan Trounson's Stem Cell Research Picks
- 1700 and Counting: The Latest Publications on CIRM-funded Research
- Upcoming CIRM Events
- CIRM Funding Opportunities
Viacyte Inc. receives $7M from JDRF as its CIRM-funded stem cell device for diabetes marches toward the clinic
Over several years, CIRM has awarded San Diego-based Viacyte, Inc. $40 million to support its embryonic stem cell-based device to treat type 1 diabetes. On February 6th, JDRF announced that it was giving Viacyte an additional $7 million to ensure the device's entry into clinical trials this year. This funding is on top of the $6 million that JDFR gave Viacyte in 2011. The device, called VC-01 is about the size of a credit card that can be inserted under the skin of a patient with type 1 diabetes. The device contains cells derived from human embryonic stem cells that become insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.
- Read our blog about the additional funding
On February 7th, CIRM celebrated the1000th entry in its Stem Cell Research Updates blog. The blog was started about five years ago to provide the public with easy-to-understand recaps of the latest progress in all stem cell research, while keeping an emphasis on our grantees’ work. In the past two years, we made a push to increase the number of blog entries each week which has led to increase readership averaging 25,000 views per month (compared to 8,000 per month four years ago) with over half a million lifetime page views. Our all-time most read blogs focus on disease-specific stem cell research such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, HIV, and Parkinson’s as well as stories about the biotech landscape for regenerative medicine. Even a stem cell-focused episode of The Family Guy cartoon gets a mention in one of our top blogs proving the importance of bridging mainstream and scientific audiences.
- Read our blog about the milestone
Hope for broken hearts this Valentine's Day - a CIRM clinical trial to repair the damage begins enrolling patients
For Valentine's day, we posted a short video showing beating heart muscle cells that had been derived from stem cells. The video provided an opportunity to highlight a CIRM-funded project by Capricor, Inc. that is currently enrolling patients for a Phase 2 clinical trial set to begin later this year. This trial uses stem cells to repair damage caused by a heart attack.
Each month CIRM President Alan Trounson reports on advances in stem cell science by highlighting recently published papers from CIRM grantees and other leading research teams around the world.
- Read the blog about the president's January report
- Read the president's January report [pdf]
- Browse the report archive
With over 1700 published discoveries, CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the molecular basis of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here are examples of CIRM-funded research that were published in February along with a press release from the grantees' home institution or local media and a CIRM Stem Cell Research Blog:
February 6th - Nature Genetics
- UCSD Research: Split Decision: Stem Cell Signal Linked With Cancer Growth
- CIRM Blog: UCSD study of cell division in blood stem cells reveals potential new path to fight leukemia
February 13th - Cell Reports
- UCSD Release: Protein Switch Dictates Cellular Fate: Stem Cell or Neuron
- CIRM Blog: How a single protein helps keep our cells on track and figure out what they want to be
February 14th - Nature
- Medical News Today: A step towards detecting and targeting the pre-leukemic stem cell
- CIRM Blog: Stem cell stories that caught our eye: pre-leukemia cells found
February 19th - Nature Medicine
- Stanford Release: Researchers rejuvenate stem cell population from elderly mice, enabling muscle recovery
- CIRM Blog: Researchers rejuvenate old muscle stem cells so they behave like young ones, repair muscle better
February 20th - Cell Reports
- Gladstone Institutes Release: Gladstone Scientists Develop New Molecular “Cocktail” to Transform Skin Cells into Beating Heart Cells
- CIRM Blog: Be still my beating ventricle - Researchers come up with a better way to make heart cells
February 24th - Nature
- Gladstone Institutes Release: Joint Gladstone-UCSF study highlights novel reprogramming method; offers new hope for treating liver failure
- CIRM Blog: Turning skin into mature liver cells. And they work!
March 13th: The CIRM governing Board will hold its second of seven meetings of 2014. This meeting will take place in Burlingame, CA. A Spotlight on Autism seminar will be presented during lunch. The Spotlight presentations will focus on the use of disease in a dish models to better understand autism and the differences between the various forms of the disorder.
The meeting agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.
RFA 13-07: CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network: Coordinating and Information Management Center - Applications due March 14th, 2014 at 5:00pm (Pacific). Applications will only be accepted from applicants who 1) submitted an Letter of Intent (LOI) and 2) were notified by CIRM that they are eligible to apply. CIRM conducted a webinar for prospective applicants on Nov. 5, 2013 to address questions about both RFA 13-06 and 13-07 and the application process. A recording of the webinar, presentation slides, and the Q&A transcript are now available on the RFA 13-07 page.
RFA 13-06: CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network: Alpha Stem Cell Clinics - Applications due March 14th, 2014 at 5:00pm (Pacific). Applications will only be accepted from applicants who 1) submitted an Letter of Intent (LOI) and 2) were notified by CIRM that they are eligible to apply. CIRM conducted a webinar for prospective applicants on Nov. 5, 2013 to address questions about both RFA 13-06 and 13-07 and the application process. A recording of the webinar, presentation slides, and the Q&A transcript are now available on the RFA 13-06 page.
RFA 13-04: External Innovation Pilot Program - Prior to submitting an application, a PI must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing the proposed project. CIRM will evaluate the LOI -- refer to Section VIII.A. of the RFA for evaluation criteria. This RFA is targeted at only the most exceptional proposals: CIRM expects to support only one or two such projects each year.
RFA 13-03: CIRM Strategic Partnership III Awards - CIRM intends to offer repeat calls under this initiative every 6-9 months. The focus, scope and objective may differ with each solicitation. CIRM conducted a webinar for prospective applicants on August 7, 2013 to address questions about the RFA and application process. Click here to watch webinar and view Q & A.
PA 12-08: CIRM Patent Assistance Fund Awards - Application opportunities on a monthly basis until June 30, 2014
Eligibility: Only Technology Transfer Officials at current CIRM Grantee institutions are eligible to apply for funds under this program.