April 2016 Newsletter
• CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities
• CIRM Board Champions Fight Against Rare Diseases Affecting Children
• Patients are the Heroes at the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Symposium
• CIRM Posts Draft Recommendations for Addressing Policies on Human Gene Editing
• Save the Date: CIRM Hosts a Public Stem Cell Meeting on June 21st in San Francisco
• The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers
• Upcoming CIRM Events
- Apply for our Clinical Trial Stage Projects
- Applications due on the last business day of each month
- Apply for our Partnering Opportunity for Translational Research Projects
- Applications for the current round of Translational Awards (TRAN1-4) are due July 15, 2016.
- Apply for our Partnering Opportunity for Discovery Stage Research Projects
- Applications for the current round of Inception Awards (DISC1) are due November, 2016.
- Applications for the current round of Quest Awards (DISC2) are due September, 2016.
- Applications for the current round of Challenge Awards (DISC3) are due September, 2016.
- Apply for our current Infrastructure Projects
- Applications for the Partnering Opportunity to Create a CIRM Accelerating Center RFA (INFR1) are due April 15, 2016.
- Applications for the Partnering Opportunity to Create a CIRM Translating Center RFA (INFR2) are due July 15, 2016
- Apply for our Conference Grants funding opportunities
- Applications for conference grants are due 90 days prior to the first day of the proposed conference.
At its March 16th meeting, the CIRM governing Board awarded more than $44.5 million to nine research programs including five that are tackling rare, often fatal childhood diseases: Duchenne muscular dystrophy, severe combined immunodeficiency, Canavan disease, Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease. The funding awards are part of CIRM's Translation program which supports the most promising stem cell-based projects to help accelerate the research out of the lab and into the real world, such as a clinical trial. The other funded projects are focused on developing therapies for cancer, diabetes and ALS.
- Read our press release
- Read our blog, "Rare disease underdogs come out on top at CIRM Board meeting"
On March 17th, UC San Diego hosted the Second Annual CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network Symposium. The CIRM governing Board invested $24 million back in 2014 to kick start the first three Alpha Clinic Network sites – at UC San Diego, City of Hope, and UCLA/UC Irvine – whose unifying goal is to accelerate the development and delivery of stem cell treatments to patients. In the eighteen months since the award was approved, 21 clinical trials have come online. The Symposium gathered scientists, medical staff and patient advocates associated with the Alpha Clinics in order to celebrate their accomplishments so far and to discuss their goals and challenges going forward.
- Read our recent blogs about our Alpha Clinics and the March symposium:
Image: Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley
Back in February, CIRM's Standards Working Group (SWG), met to review its policies governing the funding and oversight of research involving human genome editing. With new tools like CRISPR making gene editing of human germ cells and embryos possible, the SWG's main objective is to ensure CIRM-funded research continues to be conducted under the highest medical and ethical standards. In March the CIRM team and the co-chairs of the SWG posted its draft recommendations for addressing key questions that come up during the workshop.
- Read our blog about the draft recommendations "How to handle CRISPR: Formulating a responsible approach to gene-editing"
- Read the draft recommendations
- Listen to an audio transcript of the workshop
Join us for a free public symposium in San Francisco to kick off the world’s leading stem cell research event, the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, co-hosted this year by CIRM. The public event will highlight the different ways that stem cells are being used to develop new potential treatments that are being tested in clinical trials for patients with unmet medical needs. Specific diseases that will be addressed include Parkinson's, Sickle Cell, Blindness, Cancer and more.
CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the fundamentals of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here are examples of CIRM-funded research that were published in March along with press releases from the grantees' home institution and essays from The Stem Cellar, CIRM's official blog:
March 1st - Nature Communications
March 3rd - Cell Stem Cell
- Gladstone Institutes Release: New Method for Producing Heart Cells May Hold the Key to Treating Heart Failure
- CIRM Blog: A new way to make heart stem cells could potentially repair the damage of heart disease
March 7th - Neuron
- UCLA Release: Standard method for deriving stem cells may be better for use in regenerative medicine
- CIRM Blog: Unlocking the brain’s secrets: scientists find over 100 unique mutations in brain cells
March 10th - Cell Stem Cell
- Gladstone Institutes Release: Modified Form of CRISPR Acts as a Toggle Switch to Control Gene Expression in Stem Cells
- CIRM Blog: Ways to genetically alter stem cells just keep getting better
Upcoming CIRM Events
April 19th: CIRM governing Board Meeting
The CIRM governing Board will hold a telephonic meeting Tuesday April 19th in the San Francisco Bay Area. Agendas and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before each event. A pdf list of all 2016 CIRM Board meeting dates are available for download.