SCID fact sheet

Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Fact Sheet

CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand the origins of SCID (severe combined immune deficiency, or "Bubble boy disease") and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.

If you want to learn more about CIRM funding decisions or make a comment directly to our board, join us at a public meeting. You can find agendas for upcoming public meetings on our meetings page.

Learn more about stem cell research:
Stem Cell Basics Primer | Stem Cell Videos | What We Fund

Find clinical trials:
CIRM does not track stem cell clinical trials. If you or a family member is interested in participating in a clinical trial, please see the national trial database to find a trial near you: clinicaltrials.gov

Stem cell research for SCID

SCID – also known as ‘bubble boy disease’ - is a rare genetic disorder, effecting one in 30,000 newborns. Left untreated the children die before the age of 2, and the only readily available treatment involves high-risk bone marrow transplants. Because these patients already have a compromised immune system, 10 to 20 percent don’t survive the transplant.

Gene therapy has been used to correct the defect in certain types of SCID, but early gene modifying techniques resulted in some patients developing cancer. Newer gene therapy techniques appear to be safer but have been tried on fewer than 20 patients.

Researchers funded by California’s stem cell agency are looking for a better alternative to help these children. They are trying to improve the safety of bone marrow transplant (BMT), which essentially uses the stem cells in bone marrow to give the children a new immune system that works properly. Most of the risk of current BMT procedures comes from the radiation or chemotherapy given to patients before the transplant to wipe out the patient’s own stem cells that form immune cells. These regimens kill many types of cells beyond those intended and result in numerous toxic side effects.

Disease team award

Stanford School of Medicine

This team proposes to replace SCID patients’ dysfunctional immune cells with healthy ones using a safer form of bone marrow transplant (BMT). They plan to eliminate the bad cells with an antibody, a protein, that very specifically targets and eliminates blood forming stem cells. If successful, the procedure could open up similar BMT therapies to patients with other auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lups or diabetes that are generally not candidates for BMT currently. These diseases, while debilitating, are not immediately life-threatening and generally don’t warrant the risks involved in BMT the way it is done today.

CIRM Grants Targeting Immune Diseases including SCID

Researcher name Institution Grant Title Approved funds
David DiGiusto Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope Development of RNA-based approaches to stem cell gene therapy for HIV $3,097,160
Judith Shizuru Stanford University A monoclonal antibody that depletes blood stem cells and enables chemotherapy free transplants $19,068,382
Mark Anderson University of California, San Francisco Stem cell differentiation to thymic epithelium for inducing tolerance to stem cells $1,314,089
Tippi MacKenzie University of California, San Francisco Maternal and Fetal Immune Responses to In Utero Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation $1,230,869
Anjana Rao La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology Generation of regulatory T cells by reprogramming $1,464,446
Morton Cowan University of California, San Francisco Gene Correction of Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Artemis Deficient SCID $3,931,662
Gay Crooks University of California, Los Angeles Engineering Thymic Regeneration to Induce Tolerance $1,235,445
John Zaia Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope ZIinc Finger Nuclease-Based Stem Cell Therapy for AIDS $14,573,835
Irvin Chen University of California, Los Angeles HPSC based therapy for HIV disease using RNAi to CCR5. $9,905,604
Ellen Robey University of California, Berkeley Human Immune System Mouse models as preclinical platforms for stem cell derived grafts $1,005,605
Michele Calos Stanford University Safe, efficient creation of human induced pluripotent stem cells without the use of retroviruses $1,406,875
Judith Shizuru Stanford University Purified allogeneic hematopoietic stem cells as a platform for tolerance induction $1,233,275
Irvin Chen University of California, Los Angeles Genetic modification of the human genome to resist HIV-1 infection and/or disease progression $616,800
Kenneth Weinberg Stanford University “Engineered immune tolerance by Stem Cell-derived thymic regeneration” $1,271,783
Thomas Lane University of California, Irvine Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Remyelination in a Viral Model of Demyelination $368,081
Yang Xu University of California, San Diego Induction of immune tolerance to human embryonic stem cell-derived allografts $1,192,680
Kenneth Weinberg Stanford University Embryonic stem cell-derived thymic epithelial cells $628,793
Judith Shizuru Stanford University A monoclonal antibody that depletes blood stem cells and enables chemotherapy free transplants $90,147
Irving Weissman Stanford University Prospective isolation of hESC-derived hematopoietic and cardiomyocyte stem cells $2,471,386
Samuel Pleasure University of California, San Francisco Human stem cell derived oligodendrocytes for treatment of stroke and MS $2,459,235
Zack Jerome University of California, Los Angeles Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapeutic Strategies to Target HIV Disease $2,401,903
Donald Kohn University of California, Los Angeles Clinical Trial of Stem Cell Gene Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease $13,145,465
Inder Verma The Salk Institute for Biological Studies Curing Hematological Diseases $5,979,252
Mark Anderson University of California, San Francisco Generation of a functional thymus to induce immune tolerance to stem cell derivatives $1,191,000
Jeffrey Bluestone University of California, San Francisco Stem cell tolerance through the use of engineered antigen-specific regulatory T cells $1,152,768
Husein Hadeiba Palo Alto Institute for Research and Education, Inc. Application of Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation $733,061
Jeanne Loring Scripps Research Institute Thymus based tolerance to stem cell therapies $1,108,921
Total:
$94,278,522.00

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine