We propose to create a world-class human Pluripotent Stem Cell (hPSC) Repository in California with an initial task of making the 3,000 induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines generated as part of this CIRM initiative and an additional 1,500 hPSC lines generated within California widely available. iPSCs are extremely valuable as they are able to self-renew and can be converted into virtually all human tissues. In addition, since they are made from adult cells obtained from a specific donor, they can be used to model the biological profile of that donor, which is especially relevant if the donor has a particular diseases. Therefore, iPSCs can be used to create cells or tissues that mimic disease and can be used in drug discovery efforts. Based on our experience, a critical component of operating the hPSC Repository will be to ensure users of the cell lines have the technical skills to take advantage of this great resource. To that end, we have provided numerous training programs through our existing facility and have established collaborations in California to bring the leaders of the field for similar programs on how to differentiated PSCs into relevant adult cell types and to utilize them in the development of drug discovery assays. This Repository has the opportunity to transform the landscape of stem cell research and we hope to be the group helping to make sure this becomes a reality
As a result of CIRM’s creation, California has established itself as a key player in all areas of stem cell research. If awarded this grant, our group will be able to integrate our unique high-throughput human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) characterization, expansion, and distribution platform into this rich environment. Based on our previous experience, our efforts to build innovative programs to change the landscape of stem cell research have enabled us to accelerate research and coordinate the stem cell communities at the institutions near our home location, which we hope to replicate in California. The use of iPSCs as a technology for basic biological research, drug discovery, and therapeutic applications has enormous potential, but requires major advances before translation. As an organization that has significant research experience and a proven track record of operating a hPSC repository, we are confident we have both the technical expertise and foresight regarding the future use of these cell lines to ensure the Repository becomes a vital component of the California research enterprise and economy. These activities should allow California and its citizens to be among the first communities to see the innovations resulting from this research in the form of medical breakthroughs and commercial opportunities.