May 2015 Newsletter
- A New Era Begins: Alpha Stem Cell Clinic Network Holds Inaugural Meeting
- CIRM 2.0 Grant Reviewers Hold 1st In-Person Review, Chart a Faster Way to Help Patients
- Cirmtuzumab, a Cancer Drug Named after CIRM, Featured in TV News Report
- International Stem Cell Group Offers Much Needed Guidance for Patients
- The Latest Publications by CIRM-Funded Researchers
- Upcoming CIRM Events
- CIRM 2.0 Funding Opportunities
- CIRM Job Openings
April 23rd marked the inaugural meeting of the Alpha Stem Cell Clinic network at City of Hope in Duarte, CA. This CIRM-funded program aims to create one-stop centers for clinical trials enabling patients to have safe, fast and easy access to life-saving or life-changing stem cell therapies. In addition to City of Hope, UCLA, UCI and UCSD are also partners in this endeavor. These medical centers will not only have the clinical and regulatory expertise needed to deliver what, in many cases, will be the first-in-human clinical trials, but will also have the trained personnel, state of the art facilities, patient care coordination and long-term follow-up that these therapies need. Key members of each center attended the meeting to discuss how to achieve the network's unifying goal: to accelerate the development and delivery of stem cell therapies to patients.
On April 27th CIRM's Grants Working Group (GWG), the out-of-state, independent panel of experts that review all the applications for agency funding, got their first chance to meet in person since the launch of CIRM 2.0, a new streamlined funding process that aims to produce a more effective and efficient way to deliver stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs. In addition to voting on the latest round of 2.0 applications, the GWG devoted part of the day to an in-depth discussion of the 2.0 process and it's radical departure from the old application review system. Those in attendance we're very impressed with the meaningful dialogue including Sen. Art Torres, the Vice Chair and a Patient Advocate member of our governing Board: "Yesterday was a historic day for CIRM. It was one of the best meetings I have attended and gave me renewed confidence in speaking to the public of how we continue to be responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars while at the same time keeping patients as our number one priority."
In April, a CIRM-funded clinical trial led by Thomas Kipps of UC San Diego's Moores Cancer Center was featured by Ivanhoe Broadcasting, a company that syndicates medical stories to TV stations around the US. The trial is a testing a drug to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a deadly blood cancer. The UCSD team choose to name the drug cirmtuzumab, in honor of CIRM.
In April, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) launched an expanded and redesigned version of their educational website, A Closer Look at Stem Cells, which was created out of concern that some stem cell treatments are being marketed by clinics around the world without appropriate oversight and patient protections in place. The new site makes navigation to key information easier. For instance, the home page prominently displays "Nine Things to Know about Stem Cell Treatments". The site is also the new home of ISSCR's blog, Stem Cells in Focus.
CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the fundamentals of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here's an example of CIRM-funded research that was published in March along with press releases from the grantees' home institutions and entries from The Stem Cellar, CIRM's official blog:
April 2nd - Nature
- Stanford Release: Researchers identify 'bridge' state necessary for cellular reprogramming
- CIRM Blog: Stem cell stories that caught our eye: wonkish revelation on cellular reprogramming
April 6th - Stem Cell Reports
- Buck Institute Release: Mitochondria are altered in human cell model of Parkinson's disease
- CIRM Blog: Mutation Morphs Mitochondria in Models of Parkinson’s Disease, CIRM-Funded Study Finds
April 14th - Nature Communications
- UCLA Release: UCLA stem cell scientists go out on a limb for motor neuron disease
- CIRM Blog: CIRM-Funded Scientists Build a Better Neuron; Gain New Insight into Motor Neuron Disease
April 16th - Science
- Stanford Release: Cell type responsible for scarring, skin-cancer growth identified
- CIRM Blog: Molecular Trick Diminishes Appearance of Scars, Stanford Study Finds
April 17th - PLoS Genetics
- USC Release: Hearing loss from noise may be in the genes
- CIRM Blog: Stem cell stories that caught our eye: genetic link to hearing loss
April 21st - Nature
- Stanford Release: Viral proteins may regulate human embryonic development
- CIRM Blog: Stem cell stories that caught our eye: virus genes in embryos
April 23rd - Cell
- Stanford Release: Brain tumor growth stimulated by nerve activity in the cortex, Stanford study finds
- CIRM Blog: Brain’s Own Activity Can Fuel Growth of Deadly Brain Tumors, CIRM-Funded Study Finds
April 23rd - Cell Reports
- UCSF Release: Evolution of stem cells traced in study of fossilized rodent teeth
- CIRM Blog: Scientists Sink their Teeth into Stem Cell Evolution
The CIRM governing Board will hold its third meeting of 2015 on May 21st at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.
Please note that this meeting was originally scheduled to be held in San Diego. The September 24th meeting will be held in San Diego.
CIRM will accept applications on a monthly basis applications for our three Clinical Stage Programs described in the Program Announcements listed below:
- PA 15-01: Partnering opportunity for late stage preclinical projects
- PA 15-02: Partnering opportunity for clinical trial stage projects
- PA 15-03: Partnering opportunity for supplemental accelerating activities
To submit an application, visit our CIRM 2.0 awards page for more information. Our Discovery and Translational Stage Programs will be announced later this year.
The following positions are now open. Follow the links below to apply or go to our jobs page: