Year 1

Orange County’s UC Irvine Sue and Bill Gross Hall researchers have attracted multi-million dollar grant funding. Orange County’s UC Irvine has pioneered both the 1st FDA-approved human clinical trials for embryonic stem and neural progenitor cell-based therapies in the world. Yet Orange County and California stand at a critical juncture when it comes to translating these early successes into a thriving commercial industry and clinical standard of care. This past September, 131 participants and attendees – researchers, students, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, health providers, and service providers – met at the 1st Orange County Summit on Regenerative Medicine to discuss how Orange County and California can help shape the future of Regenerative Medicine. Participants and attendees examined the groundbreaking research at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and had the opportunity to tour the cutting-edge laboratories at UC Irvine’s Gross Hall.

The goal of the Orange County Summit on Regenerative Medicine was in large part to advance commercialization of technologies in Orange County in the field of Regenerative Medicine. The program featured seven esteemed researchers presenting on original groundbreaking science, novel pathways, and innovative technologies in development at UC Irvine’s Sue and Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute. Each commented on the translational impact this research could have on the treatment of patients and disease states. The list of speakers and discussed topics included:
– Mathew Blurton-Jones, Ph.D. – Can Neural Stem Cells be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease?
– Charles Limoli, Ph.D. – Improving Quality of Life Through Stem Cell Therapy
– Edwin S. Monuki, M.D., Ph.D. – Stem Cell-Derived Choriod Plexus Epithelial Cells: A Potential Secretory Cell-of-Choice for CNS Therapies
– Maksim Plikus, Ph.D. – Scarless regeneration in adult skin
– Henry Klassen, M.D., Ph.D. – Retinal Progenitor Cell Transplantation for Retinal Degenerations
– Weian Zhao, Ph.D. – Development of Bioengineered Technologies for Stem Cell Biology and Therapy
– Lisa A. Flanagan, Ph.D. – Label free detection and isolation of specific progenitor cells

The program was headlined by world-renowned stem cell researcher and entrepreneur Hans Keirstead, Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, University of California – Irvine and Leader, California Stem Cell Inc. Dr. Keirstead provided context to the direction of regenerative medicine research. The meeting also featured Sidney Golub, new Director of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, discussing Stem Cell Research Oversight at UCI, Regenerative Medicine authority Ellen Feigal, VP of R&D at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) presenting on the State of the Industry, and Mike West, CEO of BioTime, Inc. discussing Developing Cellular Therapeutics from Pluripotent Stem Cells: An Industry Perspective.

The feedback from participants and attendees was resoundingly positive, and it was indeed rewarding to bring together such a diverse group of people to engage in productive dialogue about regenerative medicine research, translation, and commercialization. Co-hosts UC Irvine’s Sue and Bill Gross Hall and Aliso Viejo-based economic development organization, OCTANe, would like to thank everyone who participated and was involved in making the 1st OC Summit on Regenerative Medicine a success and look forward to building on these efforts for next year’s event!