CIRM allocates $40 million to support stem cell genomics, speeding development of therapies for patients

San Diego, Calif.—California stem cell scientists will have a new resource for advancing therapies with a $40 million initiative approved today by the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency created by proposition 71. The initiative will fund one or two Stem Cell Genomics Centers of Excellence in California.

Genomics is the field of study that seeks to understand the activity of genes, and is a critical component of understanding how to mature stem cells into desired cell types or understanding stem cells in different environments. By funding centers of excellence, CIRM will create genomics resources for California scientists who might otherwise not have access to these resources that have such potential to significantly speed the path to the clinic.

“Access to genomics tools will give California researchers unprecedented opportunities for better understanding the cells they are working with and advancing those cells toward therapies for patients,” said Alan Trounson, CIRM President. “We expect these Centers will lead California into the next generation of cell biology and medical applications, leveraging the incredible advances evolving from advances in human genomics.”

At this meeting the governing board also discussed recommendations for strategies to reach the four key objectives included in a draft revision of the strategic plan. Board members provided input on whether the key strategies to meet those objectives are the best strategies to accomplish the goals. The final revision will be presented to the governing board at their March meeting.

The key objectives came out of a series of meetings with the public, patient advocates, researchers, industry, and CIRM’s collaborative partners and the board. They will be incorporated into a revision of CIRM’s strategic plan that builds on the initial 2006 strategic plan, a 2009/2010 revision, and incorporates recommendations from a 2010 external review panel. (Those strategic plans are available on the CIRM website.)

About CIRM: CIRM was established in November 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities. A list of grants and loans awarded to date may be seen here: /grants