September 2013 Newsletter

CIRM September Newsletter

CIRM Mourns Loss of Duane Roth

The sudden and tragic death of Duane Roth has deeply saddened everyone at CIRM. Duane was more than just a valued member of our governing board, he was also a good friend and someone who played a hugely important role in shaping the decisions we made. Duane died August 3rd from injuries sustained in a bicycling accident on July 21. With experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech and life sciences fields, and as a champion of technology entrepreneurship, Duane was uniquely qualified to help guide the stem cell agency’s board in its policy and decision making. The CIRM board held a tribute to Roth during its August 28th meeting. To formally honor him, CIRM chair Jonathan Thomas announced the renaming of an upcoming RFA to the Duane Roth Disease Team Therapy Development IV award. In addition, a lecture series at the annual Meeting on the Mesa will carry his name.

Duane was a big supporter of Pedal the Cause, an organization that raises funds for cancer research. Donations can be made to the organization in Roth’s name.

CIRM Awards More than $40 Million in New Research Grants

At its August 28th meeting in La Jolla, the CIRM governing board approved $40 million in funding for researchers at 10 institutions as part of its Early Translational IV Research awards. The diseases targeted by these awards include prostate cancer, heart and liver disease, autism, and HIV/AIDS. In this “early translation” phase scientists are expected to do research that will result in the development of a new potential drug or cell therapy or make significant strides toward such a therapy. The goal is to identify the most promising projects and move those good ideas out of the lab and into the clinic.

CIRM Joins in Patient Advisory about Stem Cell Therapy and Medical Tourism

CIRM joined twelve other professional organizations in releasing an advisory to patients and families contemplating cell therapy or experimental stem cell procedures. The notice includes several points that patients should consider before receiving treatment such as: educating themselves on treatment, asking for written informed consent, asking about the treatment procedure steps and how patient follow up is handled and obtaining a disclosure of all potential expenses related to the therapy as well as who pays for any follow up or complications after the treatment.

CIRM Grantee Hanna Mikkola wins prestigious award for work in unlocking the secrets of blood stem cells

In late August, CIRM grantee Hanna Mikkola was named the 2013 recipient of the McCullough and Till Award. The prestigious award, from the Society for Hematology and Stem Cells (ISEH), recognizes a junior scientist in the field of experimental hematology and stem cells who is considered an “outstanding early career investigator.” Mikkola is a member of the UCLA Eli & Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research. She has received a SEED and New Faculty I grant from CIRM.

High School Students Celebrate Completion of their CIRM-Funded Stem Cell Research Internships

The CIRM Creativity Awards support summer internship programs that introduce high school students to stem cell science and foster the next generation of scientists. The summer internships culiminate with Creativity Day which was held on Aug 12th in San Francisco. The day long event included presentations by CIRM-funded scientists as well as by some of the Creativity students. All the students got the opportunity to describe their research during the afternoon poster session.

New Video: Mashup of Creativity Students' Video and Photo Submissions

During the Creativity Awards stem cell research program, the high school student interns were asked to tell their own stories about life in the lab. The students submitted Instagram photos, videos, and blogs to the CIRM website as part of their internship curriculum. Here's a "mashup" video of the photos and videos that the students submitted over the summer.

CIRM President Alan Trounson's August 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.  

1300 and Counting: The Latest Publications on CIRM-funded Research

With over 1300 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 is a partial list of science journals that published CIRM-funded research in August along with press releases from the grantees' home institutions and entries from the CIRM Stem Cell Research Blog:

July 31st - Cell Stem Cell

August 16th - Stem Cells

August 26th - Stem Cell Reports

Upcoming CIRM Events

September 29th: CIRM Science Officers Rahul Thakar and Rosa Canet-Aviles will be doing a presentation at the Exploratorium's Engineering Day at 11am. This is the first time the Exploratorium will hold a "free" day at their new location and the first time they'll do so on a Weekend day. Drs. Thakar and Canet-Aviles will be talking about tissue engineering and the role that it plays in advancing stem cell based therapies. Click on this link for more information. 

September 30th: CIRM hosts a Patient Advocate Meeting in which patient advocates will get a chance to hear first hand from CIRM Board Chair Jonathan Thomas, Vice Chair Art Torres and CIRM-funded researchers about the work of the stem cell agency and the progress being made in stem cell research. Advocates will also get a chance to share their thoughts on what else the agency can do to improve its communications with the public about its work.  12 – 2pm at the Eli & Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The address there is 1425 San Pablo, Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033. The event is free and open to the public. Please RVSP Kevin McCormack, CIRM Communications Director:

October 1st: CIRM hosts a Town Hall Forum on HIV Cure Research: an informative and interactive  community-based forum on the latest news in cure research for HIV/AIDS. A panel of experts from CIRM, Calimmune, UCSF/Gladstone Institutes and community activist groups will talk about the progress being made, and the obstacles still ahead, in finding lasting cures not just treatments for HIV/AIDS. 6-8pm in the Milton Marks Auditorium in the State Building at 455 Golden Gate Avenue (@ Polk Street). The event is free and open to the public. Please RVSP Kevin McCormack, CIRM Communications Director:

October 9th: The CIRM governing board will hold its 6th meeting of 2013 at the Marriott in La Jolla. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.

CIRM Funding Opportunities

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 the webinar. Click here to read a transcription of the questions and answers.

RFA 12-06: CIRM Stem Cell Genomics Centers of Excellence Awards - Letters of Intent (LOI) due 5:00pm (PDT), October 3, 2013. 

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

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