October 2015 Newsletter
- $20 Million Award for Brain Cancer Trial is a No-Brainer
- New Blog Series + Video: CIRM Fights Cancer
- CIRM Launches New Translational Research Funding Initiative
- CIRM Kicks Off 1st Clinical Advisory Panel (CAP) Meeting
- The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers
- Upcoming CIRM Events
- CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities
- CIRM Job Openings
At its September 24th meeting, the CIRM governing Board awarded $19.9 million to support ImmunoCellular Therapeutics' Phase 3 clinical trial in people with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer. In glioblastoma, patients typically undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to destroy the tumor but the cancer usually returns within months due to cancer stem cells that can elude these treatments. The ImmunoCellular therapy approach exposes cells, collected from the patient's own immune system, to protein fragments from cancer stem cells. When returned to the patient’s body, the immune system cells can now help “sniff out” and hopefully kill the cancer stem cells responsible for the tumor’s recurrence and growth. The company plans to recruit about 400 patients at 120 clinical trial sites around the US, Canada and Europe.
In late September, Don Gibbons, CIRM's Senior Science Education and Communications Officer, ran a blog series about the agency's $56 million investment in five clinical trials that target cancer stem cells (CSCs) which are thought to be responsible for cancer treatment relapse. Two of these CIRM-funded trials use agents that target the CSCs directly while three others use agents that enable a person’s immune system to do a better job of getting rid of the CSCs. The blog stories highlight the dedicated scientists and patients who are working together to help bring an end to cancer. The video, produced by CIRM multimedia editor and science writer Todd Dubnicoff, describes one trial participant's experiences in his own words.
- Read the CIRM Fights Cancer blog series
- Watch video: cancer patient describes his clinical trial experience
On October 1st, CIRM went live with its latest CIRM2.0 funding initiative, Partnering Opportunity for Translational Research Projects. The objective of this initiative is to create a highly competitive opportunity for promising stem cell-based projects that accelerate completion of translational stage activities necessary for advancement to clinical study or broad end use. The initiative includes four individual program announcements focusing on therapeutic candidates, diagnostics, medical devices (non-diagnostic) and novel tools for critical bottlenecks. The current round of applications is due November 20th. It is anticipated that applications under this program announcement will be accepted at approximately six-month intervals.
Back on August 18th, CIRM launched it's first Clinical Advisory Panel (CAP) meeting. The CAPs were created under the new CIRM 2.0 funding paradigm and their objective is to work with the CIRM-funded clinical stage project teams to help accelerate the development of therapies for patients with unmet medical needs and to give these projects the greatest likelihood of success. The CAPs will include at least three members: one CIRM science officer, a patient representative, and an external scientific advisor. The inaugural CAP meeting in August was with Caladrius Biosciences who is running a CIRM-funded clinical trial for the treatment of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Alisha Bouge, CIRM's CAPs Project Manager, captured the event in a September blog story.
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 September along with press releases from the grantees' home institution and essays from The Stem Cellar, CIRM's official blog:
September 8th - Molecular Psychiatry
- UCSD Release: Stem Cell-derived “Mini-brains” Reveal Potential Drug Treatment for Rare Disorder
- CIRM Blog: Brain Stem Cells in a Dish to the Rescue
September 15th - Cell
- Stanford Release: Scientists home in on origin of human, chimpanzee facial differences
- CIRM Blog: CIRM-funded team traces molecular basis for differences between human and chimp face
September 16th - Nature
- Stanford Release: Delivering missing protein heals damaged hearts in animals, Stanford-led study finds
- CIRM Blog: Patching up a Broken Heart with FSTL1
September 18th - Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
September 25th - Gastroenterology
- Children's Hospital Los Angeles Release: Tumor necrosis factor in colitis -- bad actor or hero?
- CIRM Blog: Help for colitis patients resistant to therapy
October 6th: Free HIV/AIDS Cure Town Hall in Palm Springs, CA
Hear from experts about their CIRM-funded work in trying to eradicate the AIDS virus from people infected with it. This includes clinical trials run by Calimmune and City of Hope/Sangamo, plus some truly cutting edge research by Dr. Paula Cannon of the University of Southern California. Also speaking is Timothy Ray Brown, the “Berlin Patient”, who became the first person ever cured of HIV/AIDS when he got a bone marrow transplant from a person with a natural resistance to HIV.
- Sinatra Auditorium at the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.
- Doors open at 6pm and the program starts at 6.30pm.
- Admission is free
- Read our blog about the event
October 7th-9th: Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa
The Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa is a three-day conference bringing together senior executives and top decision-makers in the regenerative medicine and advanced therapies industry with the scientific community to advance cutting-edge research into cures. CIRM President and CEO, C. Randal Mills, and several CIRM-grantees are scheduled to speak at the event.
October 14th: Stem Cell Awareness Day
October 14th marks Stem Cell Awareness Day 2015, which brings together organizations and individuals around the world working to ensure that we realize the benefits of one of the most promising fields of science in our time. The day is a unique global opportunity to foster greater understanding about stem cell research and the range of potential applications for disease and injury. Visit our stem cell awareness day page for a list of 2015 events.
October 22nd: CIRM Board Meeting
The CIRM governing Board will hold a telephonic meeting on Thursday, October 22nd. Agendas and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before each event.
- Partnering Opportunity for Translational Research Projects [pdf]
- Visit our Translational Programs Page for more information
- PA 15-01: Partnering opportunity for late stage preclinical projects [pdf]
- PA 15-02: Partnering opportunity for clinical trial stage projects [pdf]
- PA 15-03: Partnering opportunity for supplemental accelerating activities [pdf]
- Visit our Clinical Trial Stage Programs Page for more information
- RFA 15-05: Bridges to Stem Cell Research and Therapy Awards program
- RFA 15-06: Summer Program to Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (SPARK)
Our Discovery Programs will be announced next year.
The following positions are now open. Follow the links below to apply or go to our jobs page: