ICOC Funds Committed:
Blood Systems Research Institute (BSRI), located in San Francisco, has a 45-year history of research in transfusion medicine and related fields. BSRI has undergone a recent expansion in investigators, laboratory space and equipment to address the growing number of opportunities that exist in the broad field of cellular therapeutics, particularly in the area of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) technology. The notable strength of BSRI lies in the expertise of its investigators in clinical and translational research owing to its long history with cellular therapy in the form of blood cell transfusion. Laboratory space at BSRI will be remodeled to support our program in hESC research. We request funds to improve two tissue culture rooms to support basic research and pre-clinical studies on hESC lines. A 3rd laboratory will be converted into a cell isolation and analysis laboratory housing equipment used in the isolation and analysis of hESC-derived cells and tissues. A 4th room will be converted into a vivarium to study stem cell transplantation. The research facility will be used by scientists at BSRI and neighboring institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area to perform basic research and to develop methodologies appropriate for the clinical of application of hESC-based therapies. Therapies under investigations include developing blood and liver stem cells as a new source of tissues to treat birth defects and disease. A training program for research technicians is also included which will help train new workers in the stem cell field.
Statement of Benefit to California:
The shared stem cell facility will help develop a new cell therapies such as those based on blood and liver cells. Blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia as well as liver diseases caused by viral infection, drugs or inherited disease affect many thousands of Californians. Often, transplanting healthy cells offers treatment or a cure for many of these diseases, but a lack of available or suitable donor tissue prevents such therapy in many cases. Embryonic stem cells offer the hope of generating a sufficient supply of tissues for cellular therapy. The successful outcome of this work will offer new hope to many Californians suffering from blood or liver diseases. This will improve lives and save money on long-term health care costs associated with these diseases. Additionally, a training program has been included to help train research technicians for work in the stem cell field, therby helping to creat high paying jobs and provide the workforce needed for California to be the leader in stem cell research.