October 2015 Newsletter

$20 Million Award for Brain Cancer Trial is a No-Brainer

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.

New Blog Series + Video: CIRM Fights Cancer

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.

CIRM Launches New Translational Research Funding Initiative

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. 

CIRM Kicks Off 1st Clinical Advisory Panel (CAP) Meeting

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.

The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers

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

September 15th - Cell

September 16th - Nature

September 18th - Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

September 25th - Gastroenterology

Upcoming CIRM Events

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. 

CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities




Our Discovery Programs will be announced next year.

Sign up to receive CIRM funding announcements

CIRM Job Openings

The following positions are now open. Follow the links below to apply or go to our jobs page: