February 2012 Newsletter

CIRM February Newsletter

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CIRM Board Approves Genomics Initiative

On January 27th, the CIRM governing board approved a $40 million initiative to give California researchers the opportunity to access genomics tools to better understand the stem cells they are working with and to help advance those cells toward therapies for patients. The initiative will fund one or two Stem Cell Genomics Centers of Excellence in California.  

CIRM and Scotland Announce Stem Cell Research Collaboration

On January 21st, CIRM and the Scottish Development International (SDI) announced an international collaboration on stem cell research. The agreement will make it possible for researchers in California and Scotland to obtain joint funding and to interchange know-how in the area of regenerative medicine. To-date, CIRM has partnerships with twelve international agencies and with four governmental and non-governmental funding agencies in the U.S.

Spotlight on Genomics Video Now Available

Video of the January 27th Spotlight on Genomics is now available online. The seminar provides a glimpse into a future of personalized medicine in which genomics, the study of genes and their function, is applied to pinpoint specific treatments for patients. Speakers included Craig Venter, president and founder of the J. Craig Venter Institute, Catriona Jamieson, director for stem cell research at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and Sandra Dillon, a clinical trial participant.

CIRM President's January Stem Cell Research Highlights

This month's key stem cell papers chosen by CIRM president Alan Trounson. Among the papers he highlights this month was the first published data from a clinical trial using cells derived from embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The UCLA/Advanced Cell Technologies report describes preliminary results suggesting that the cells are safe four months after treatment. Those patients also experienced some improvements in vision.

CIRM's 1000th Research Paper Published

CIRM reported this month that the 1000th CIRM-funded research paper has been published. The rate of publication has steadily increased over the life of CIRM with 10 in 2006, 68 in 2007, 151 in 2008, 224 in 2009, 261 in 2010, and 295 in 2011. These papers describe real progress that CIRM grantees are making in understanding stem cell biology, mechanisms of human disease and advancing stem cell-based therapies to the clinic.

Institute of Medicine Holds Public Review of CIRM

On January 24th, the Institute of Medicine held one of several planned meetings to perform its indepedent review of CIRM's programs, operations, strategies, and performance. The public meeting included presentations by members of CIRM staff, governing board, standards working group, and grantees as well as comments by the public.