March 2015 Newsletter
CIRM March Newsletter
- FDA Green Lights CIRM-Funded Sangamo Thalassemia Trial
- CIRM-Funded Program Invests More Than $11 Million in Stem Cell Genomics Research Collaborations
- Georgia Tech Study: CIRM Funding Increased Rate of California's Stem Cell Research Publications
- New Video: "Spotlight on Chemobrain" Presentation Now Available on CIRMTV
- The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers
- Upcoming CIRM Events
- CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities
- CIRM Job Openings
On February 4th, Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. announced that the FDA accepted the company's application to initiate their CIRM-funded clinical trial for the treatment of beta-thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder. Beta-thalassemia is marked by low levels of red blood cells, the cells responsible for carrying oxygen to the body. Regular blood transfusions help mitigate symptoms but also can lead to life-threatening complications like organ failure. Stem cell transplants from a donor are a treatment option but they carry a lot of risks. Sangamo's trial will test a gene correction technique to fix the inhertied mutation in the patient's blood stem cells to restore normal levels of red blood cells.
On February 25th, the Stanford/Salk Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics (CESCG) announced that it will use $11.6 million of its CIRM award to collaborate with California stem cell scientists on seven different projects aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of deadly or disabling diseases and conditions, such as heart disease and autism. The goal of the projects is to use genomic analyses to better understand how stem cells change as they grow and become different kinds of cells, and then use that knowledge to develop new treatments for a wide variety of conditions.
- Read the press release including the list of the CESCG collaborative projects
- Read our blog,"How the human genome is unlocking some of the secrets of stem cells, hopefully leading to new treatments"
In February, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology published a report in Cell Stem Cell that analyzed the impact that state funding for stem cell research has had on scientific publications. Their results show a very clear increase in stem cell research publications after California researchers began receiving CIRM-funding. For example, the study reports that "between 2010 and 2013, approximately 55% of human embryonic stem cell-related articles published with at least one California author acknowledged state funding, suggesting that this funding program played an important role as California maintained and built upon its early leadership in the field."
You'd think getting a cancer diagnosis and the subsequent chemo and/or radiation therapy is traumatic enough. But many people receiving cancer therapy also suffer from so-called chemobrain or chemofog, a condition marked by troubles with memory, attention/concentration, calculations, fine motor skills and other deficits. At the January CIRM governing Board meeting, CIRM grantee and Stanford professor Michelle Monje described how damage to brain stem cells as a result of cancer therapy plays a significance role in this disorder but may also provide new strategies to halt or repair cognitive functions.
CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the fundamentals of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here's an example of CIRM-funded research that was published in February along with press releases from the grantees' home institutions and entries from The Stem Cellar, CIRM's official blog:
February 13th - Nature Genetics
- Stanford Release: ‘Big Bang’ model of colon cancer identifies role time plays in tumor-growth dynamics
- CIRM Blog: For cancer growth timing is everything
February 18th - Nature
- UC San Diego Release: New Insights into 3D Genome Organization and Genetic Variability
- CIRM Blog: Roadmap to our epigenome reveals the genetic switches that make one adult cell type different from others
February 25th - PLOS ONE
- The Scripps Research Institute Release: New TSRI Study Shows Safer Methods for Stem Cell Culturing
- CIRM Blog: Heroic three-year study reveals safe methods for growing clinical-grade stem cells
March 18th, 11:00am-1:00pm (Pacific)
CIRM will host a live webinar, "Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T CELLS Stem Memory versus Mature T cells, Presentations by the FDA and Leading Experts." The focus of this webinar is on the comparison of CAR-T cell products using stem-memory versus those using mature T cells. The presentations will compare and contrast manufacturing, persistence, and other differences based on experience with both technologies moving into the clinic. CIRM Science Officer, Kevin Whittlesey, will moderate the event. Advanced free registration is required: [click here to register and see detailed agenda]
March 19th, 10:30am-12:30pm, Pacific (12:30-5pm for one-on-one meetings)
JLabs presents "Meet with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)" Neil Littman, CIRM's Business Development Officer, will be presenting an overview of 'CIRM 2.0', a new open, rolling funding application process. CIRM 2.0 is geared to meet the timelines of industry while providing non-dilutive grant funding and forgivable loans to help de-risk clinical development. Don't miss this opportunity, apply today to be considered for a one-on-one meeting with a representative from CIRM! Visit the Eventbright site to attend.
The CIRM governing Board will hold its third meeting of 2015 at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.
CIRM is establishing an open call for proposals and will accept applications on a monthly basis for three complementary award types described in the Program Announcements listed below:
- PA 15-01: Partnering opportunity for late stage preclinical projects
- PA 15-02: Partnering opportunity for clinical trial stage projects
- PA 15-03: Partnering opportunity for supplemental accelerating activities
To submit an application, visit our CIRM 2.0 awards page for more information.
The following positions are now open. Follow the links below to apply or go to our jobs page: