May 2014 Newsletter

CIRM May Newsletter

C. Randal Mills Named as New CIRM President

Describing him as a “visionary and highly regarded scientific and business leader” the CIRM Governing Board on April 30th appointed C. Randal Mills, Ph.D., as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the agency. Mills was previously the President and CEO of Osiris Therapeutics. Under his leadership, Osiris became the first company to commercialize a product using stem cells directly as a therapy. The product, Prochymal, is used for the treatment of acute graft-vs-host disease in children, a devastating complication of bone marrow transplantation that can be fatal. Mills has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and a Ph.D. in drug development, from the University of Florida. He will replace Alan Trounson, Ph.D., who is stepping down after six years to spend more time with his family in Australia.

New Brochure Educates Patients on how they can Make a Difference

In April, CIRM distributed a brochure that researchers can provide to patients who are considering donating skin or blood samples for the agency's stem cell banking initiative. The creation of the bank was announced last year and is designed to store and distribute cells representing different diseases including autism, blindness, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and liver disease. The bank is specifically intended to make stem cells available to researchers so they can better understand these diseases and test potential new treatments. Samples will be collected from thousands of patient donors who have given their permission, known as "informed consent". The brochure, written in plain English with descriptive illustrations, was designed to help explain both the stem cell banking procedure and the process of informed consent to donors.

CIRM Connects with the Public at Huge National Science Expo

Last weekend, CIRM communications officers participated in the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington, D.C. An estimated 325,000 attendees were on hand to connect with a wide range of exhibitors from government agencies and universities to science trade associations and industry. CIRM teamed up with the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in organizing and staffing a booth with hands-on activities for kids. Younger kids got a chance to make stem cells out of Play Doh and older ones mimicked a tissue engineering procedure in which they injected a gel-like substance to create scaffolds that would hold stem cells to grow knee cartilage or ears. While the kids played, the parents got the opportunity to chat with the booth team and learn more about the latest progress toward stem cell therapies.

CIRM Hosts Free Public Event: Keys to the Cure & the Art of Science

Most of us tend to think of art and science as being two very different subjects. But increasingly today we are seeing efforts to show that the two are not just related, but connected and complementary. So, to help kick off the 2014 Regenerative Medicine Foundation conference, CIRM will host a public panel discussion featuring patient advocates and Kelly Milukas the artist whose work is featured in an art exhibit that accompanies the meeting. The goal is to raise awareness about regenerative medicine through the visual arts. This free public event will be held on May 5th at 6:30p at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA.  

CIRM President Alan Trounson's Stem Cell Research Picks

Each month CIRM President Alan Trounson reports on advances in stem cell science by highlighting recently published papers from CIRM grantees and other leading research teams around the world.  

1700 and Counting: The Latest Publications on CIRM-funded Research

With over 1700 published discoveries, CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the molecular basis of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here are examples of CIRM-funded research that was published in March along with press releases from the grantees' home institution and entries from the CIRM Stem Cell Research Blog:

April 10th - Science Express

April 15th - Stem Cells Research and Therapy

Upcoming CIRM Events

May 5th, 6:30-7:30pm, Public Event "Keys to the Cure" - a Science & Art Panel Discussion: To help kick off the 2014 Regenerative Medicine Foundation conference, Kevin McCormack, the stem cell agency's Communications Director, will moderate a public panel discussion featuring patient advocates and Kelly Milukas the artist whose work is featured in an art exhibit that accompanies the meeting. The goal is to raise awareness about regenerative medicine through the visual arts. The conference will be held at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA.

May 29th: The CIRM governing Board will hold its next meeting in San Diego, CA. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.

CIRM Funding Opportunities

RFA 14-03: CIRM Strategic Partnership IV Awards  - Letter of Intent (LOI) due June 19, 2014 at 5:00pm (PDT). CIRM will conduct a webinar for prospective applicants on May 14, 2014 at 11:00 - 12:30 pm PT to address questions about the RFA and application process. Pre-registration is required. To register please go to:

RFA 13-04: External Innovation Pilot Program - Prior to submitting an application, a PI must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing the proposed project. CIRM will evaluate the LOI -- refer to Section VIII.A. of the RFA for evaluation criteria. This RFA is targeted at only the most exceptional proposals: CIRM expects to support only one or two such projects each year.

RFA 13-03: CIRM Strategic Partnership III Awards - CIRM intends to offer repeat calls under this initiative every 6-9 months. The focus, scope and objective may differ with each solicitation. CIRM conducted a webinar for prospective applicants on August 7, 2013 to address questions about the RFA and application process. Click here to watch webinar and view Q & A.

PA 12-08: CIRM Patent Assistance Fund Awards - Application opportunities on a monthly basis until June 30, 2014
Eligibility: Only Technology Transfer Officials at current CIRM Grantee institutions are eligible to apply for funds under this program.

PA 08-06: CIRM Conference Grants - Applications for conference grants will be accepted, reviewed and approved periodically as indicated in the table shown here

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