October 2011 Digest

CIRM October Digest

UC Berkeley Dedicates New CIRM-Funded Stem Cell Building

On October 21, Berkeley opened the doors on the new Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, the eight of twelve CIRM stem cell facilities to be completed. As with all the CIRM facilities, this one leveraged CIRM's initial funding with private donations and institutional commitments to create a state-of-the-art facility for carrying out science.

CIRM Allocates $68 Million to Programs that Foster Young Scientists, Fund Basic Stem Cell Research, and Cultivate Industry Partnerships

On October 27th, the CIRM Governing Board approved future funding rounds worth $38 million that will foster creativity and scientific innovation in high school students and fund basic stem cell discoveries. The agency also approved $30 million toward a program that will cultivate partnerships between stem cell scientists and biotech and pharmaceutical companies whose support and expertise will be needed as agency-funded programs move into later stage clinical trials.

CIRM and NIH Enter Agreement to Support Collaborative Funding

On October 26th, CIRM and the National Institutes of Health signed a memorandum of understanding to help NIH and CIRM researchers work together to bring their special talents in stem cell and regenerative medicine research to bear upon prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various diseases. "The goal is to use this agreement as a springboard to create synergy between our funding streams and expand the capacity of each agency to move advances in basic research more rapidly into the clinic,” said Mahendra Rao, Director of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine.

World Stem Cell Summit: Video Journal

CIRM actively participated in this year's World Stem Cell Summit held Oct 3-5 in Pasadena, CA. Almost every session featured either a CIRM staff member or CIRM grantee talking about progress toward cures. Of particular note was Alan Trounson’s keynote address in which he discussed CIRM’s portfolio of projects in various stages of heading toward the clinic (watch all the talks at: http://worldstemcellsummit.com/). At CIRM's booth, communications manager Amy Adams recorded a video journal with several patient advocates who attended the meeting as well as CIRM's Governing Board Chair, Jonathan Thomas.

CIRM Celebrates Stem Cell Awareness Day

CIRM celebrated Stem Cell Awareness Day on October 5th by matching up stem cell scientists with high school classrooms throughout California. This outreach effort reached approximately 2,000 students with information about the current state and future promise of stem cell research. Educational events were also held in three U.S. states and seven countries.

CIRM Hosts Public Stakeholder Sessions for its 2012 Strategic Plan

CIRM is currently working on a 2012 update to its scientific strategic plan. On October 25th and 31st, CIRM hosted public sessions seeking input from patients, patient advocacy organizations, members of the public, researchers, and members of industry.

2011 Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa: Registration Now Open!

The Investor and Partnering Forum - presented by CIRM, Sanford Consortium, and Alliance for Regenerative Medicine - is the first and only partnering meeting organized specifically for the regenerative medicine industry. The Forum will be held in conjunction with the Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa - an annual scientific symposium that draws over 600 attendees.  Organizers have now announced the initial group of presenting companies including six CIRM Grantees.  Science Presentations will be made by Rusty Gage, Jeanne Loring, Lawrence Goldstein, Mahendra Rao, Sir Ian Wilmut, Jane Lebkowski, Rudolf Jaenisch and many more!


Video: Craig Venter, 2011 CIRM Grantee Meeting

Video is now available of J. Craig Venter's keynote address at the 2011 CIRM Grantee Meeting. Venter's cutting-edge topics included creation of the first synthetic life and exploration of the genetic diversity found in the oceans, air, and soil as well as the human body. Venter, president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, has made key contributions to genomics research including being one of the first to sequence the human genome.