January 2016 Newsletter
-Happy New Year! 2016 Here We Come!
-CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities
-CIRM Board Approves Bold Five Year Strategic Plan
-The Stem Cellar Named Best Stem Cell Blog of 2015
-Tales from the 2015 World Stem Cell Summit
-Caladrius BioSciences Discontinues CIRM-Funded Phase 3 Skin Cancer Trial
-The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers
-Upcoming CIRM Events
-CIRM Job Openings
Happy New Year! 2016 Here We Come!
On behalf of the entire CIRM team, we hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and we're wishing you the best in the new year. 2015 was an exciting time for CIRM. We launched CIRM 2.0 funding opportunities, saw several CIRM-funded clinical trials come on-line, moved our office from San Francisco to Oakland and had our five year Strategic Plan approved, to name just a few. 2016 promises to be even more thrilling in our efforts to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs.
- DISC 1-2: Partnering Opportunity for Discovery Stage Research Projects
- Applications for the current round of Inception Awards (DISC1) are due January 15, 2016.
- Applications for the current round of Quest Awards (DISC2) are due March 15, 2016.
- TRAN 1-4: Partnering Opportunity for Translational Research Projects [pdf]
- The next application deadline will be in July, 2016.
- Visit our Translational Programs Page for more information
- CLIN 1: Partnering opportunity for late stage preclinical projects (formerly PA 15-01) [pdf]
- CLIN 2: Partnering opportunity for clinical trial stage projects (formerly PA 15-02) [pdf]
- CLIN 3: Partnering opportunity for supplemental accelerating activities (formerly PA 15-03) [pdf]
- Applications due on the last business day of each month
- Visit our Clinical Trial Stage Programs Page for more information
- Apply for our Conference Grants funding opportunities
- Applications for managing the 2016 Bridges and SPARK Annual Meetings are due January 15, 2016.
- Applications for managing the 2016 Alpha Clinic Annual Symposium are due January 15, 2016.
- Applications for conference grants are due 90 days prior to the first day of the proposed conference.
At its December meeting in Los Angeles, the CIRM Governing Board unanimously approved the institute's new Strategic Plan which lays out a series of bold, innovative ideas and ambitious goals over the next five years. The Strategic Plan creates a new approach to funding stem cell research, one where each program links to another, building a seamless system designed to dramatically accelerate the development of stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs. Goals include funding fifty new clinical trials in the next five years and enacting a new, more efficient federal regulatory approval process for stem cell treatments, to name just two. In a press release, C. Randal Mills, PhD., CIRM’s President and CEO, said the plan is the guided by the ultimate aim of producing the greatest possible impact for patients, "we didn’t want something ‘good enough’, we wanted something ‘transformational’. This plan is extremely ambitious, and not without risk, but with focus and determination we will accomplish great things.”
- Read our press release about the Board's approval on the Strategic Plan
- Read our blog, "Board gives stem cell institute marching orders, and a road map"
- Read the Strategic Plan
UC Davis stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler, one of the most active scientists on social media, distinguished The Stem Cellar as the best stem cell blog of 2015. Knoepfler announced the honor on his own blog, The Niche. As Kevin McCormack, CIRM's Senior Director of Public Communications, told The California Stem Cell Report, "It was very flattering obviously to learn that Paul had named us as the #1 stem cell blog. We’ve been working hard to make our blog as engaging and thoughtful, and fun, as possible and this was vindication that at least in his eyes we had succeeded."
- Read Paul Knoepfler's blog, Best stem cell blog of 2015: CIRM’s The Stem Cellar
- Read California Stem Cell Report's story about the award
- Visit The Stem Cellar
The World Stem Cell Summit held its annual conference in early December in Atlanta, GA. Several CIRM team members, grantees and patient advocates participated as speakers, panelists and moderators. The CIRM communications team captured many of the summit highlights with real-time tweets and daily blogs. Each year, the summit hosts more than 1,200 attendees from 45+ countries. It's a unique conference in that it attracts a very broad swath of the stem cell community. Prominent industry leaders, scientists, clinicians, students, regulators, policymakers, patient advocates, venture capitalists, angel investors, economic development officers and experts in law and ethics joined together to help advance the field.
- Read the collection of Stem Cellar blogs from the World Stem Cell Summit
On January 6th, Caladrius BioSciences announced the discontinuation of its Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating a novel cell therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma, a potentially lethal form of skin cancer. Caladrius indicated the project was terminated because, based on recently developed combination treatments, outcomes for patients with the disease had improved so much since the product entered development that enrolling a sufficient number of patients in a timely manner to demonstrate a statistical benefit had become very difficult. The product has been in development since 1990. CIRM will now make the unused $14.7 million portion of the $17.7 million grant available to other applicants for investment into projects that accelerate stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs.
- Read our press release about the announcement
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 was published in December along with press releases from the grantees' home institution and essays from The Stem Cellar, CIRM's official blog:
December 2nd - PNAS
- UCSD Release: Discovery of an embryonic switch for cancer stem cell generation
- CIRM Blog: Smoking out Leukemia Cells to Prevent Cancer Relapse
- San Diego Union Tribune: Embryonic protein worsens leukemia
December 3rd - PNAS
- UCLA Release: UCLA study identifies potential therapeutic targets for metastatic prostate cancer
- CIRM Blog: UCLA scientists find new targets for late-stage prostate cancer
January 6th - Nature Communications
- Gladstone Institute Release: Insulin-Producing Pancreatic Cells Created from Human Skin Cells
- CIRM Blog: A Win for Diabetes: Scientists Make Functional Pancreatic Cells From Skin
CIRM Board Meetings
The CIRM governing Board will hold its first in-person meeting of 2016 on Wednesday March 16th in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two telephonic Board meetings will be held beforehand on January 19th and February 18th. 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 is available for download.
The following positions are now open. Follow the links below to apply or go to our jobs page: