Scientists and Advocates Highlight Progress in Research on Stem Cell Awareness Day

San Francisco, CA – Hardly a week seems to pass without news of a new advance in stem cell research or a new stem cell-based therapy going into clinical trials for people suffering from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, heart disease, or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). That progress will be highlighted this Wednesday, October 2 as hundreds of stem cell scientists and researchers spread out across California to raise awareness on International Stem Cell Awareness Day.

This is a global celebration of stem cell research and its ability to potentially treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries and disorders.

California’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), will mark the day by coordinating visits from researchers and scientists to classrooms around the state. An estimated 3,000 students in schools that have requested a guest lecture will learn about stem cells through this program.

“Many of the advances in stem cell research are because of science that has been paid for by the public, so it’s important the public gets a chance to learn about and celebrate the progress being made,” says Alan Trounson, PhD, President of CIRM. “Stem Cell Awareness Day reflects the fact that this research is going on all around the world, and that discoveries in California can have enormous implications for people in Europe, Asia and Africa and has the potential to change the way we treat disease.”

Other events around the state include:

  • At the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego around 180 students will have a day of tours, talks and hands-on lab demonstrations
  • Scripps Research Institute will hold a public talk on the latest research into Parkinson’s Disease at 2pm at 3030 Science Park Rd, 2nd floor conference room
  • San Diego State University will host a public symposium at 5.30pm in the Shirley BioScience Center at 5500 Campanile Drive
  • UC Davis will send 14 of its scientists to 12 schools throughout Northern California and Reno, NV. Many will spend the day at the schools giving talks to multiple classes
  • UC Irvine is hosting an open house 1-3pm offering lab tours, a “meet the scientist” session, and scientific talks. The Center is in the Sue and Bill Gross Hall at 845 Health Sciences Road on the UCI campus
  • UC Berkeley is hosting “Culturing a Stem Cell Community” conference on October 12 from 9-5pm at the Li Ka Shing Center, UC Berkeley campus featuring talks by scientists, researchers and patient advocates
  • UC Los Angeles will hold its celebration on October 22 hosting “Transforming Medicine: An Evening with UCLA Stem Cell Scientists.” That’s at 6.30pm at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, Tamkin Auditorium [B-130] 757 Westwood Plaza in LA
  • University of Southern California is holding Stem Cell Tuesday Seminars all month with guest speakers giving noontime lectures. USC is also hosting a Stem Cell Social Friday event on October 25th from 3:30 – 5pm at the Eli & Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at series all month

Other states with major activities include Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas and Maryland. Internationally there are organized events in Ireland, Canada, Brazil and in Europe through EuroStem. The complete list of events is on the Stem Cell Awareness Day 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.

Kevin McCormack