Navigation Links
State stem cell research funding agency awards $37.3 million to aid UC Irvine efforts
Date:9/7/2012

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 6, 2012 Efforts to begin human clinical trials using stem cells to treat Alzheimer's disease and retinitis pigmentosa received a $37.3 million boost from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine during its most recent round of funding on Sept. 5.

UC Irvine scientists will be part of two research teams garnering CIRM Disease Team Therapy Development Awards, which are designed to accelerate collaborative translational research leading to human clinical trials. In one, Dr. Henry Klassen, an associate professor of ophthalmology in UC Irvine's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, and his collaborators at UC Santa Barbara and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, received $17.3 million to cultivate therapeutically potent retinal progenitor stem cells to treat the blinding effects of retinitis pigmentosa.

In the other, StemCells, Inc. in Newark, Calif., received $20 million and will collaborate with Frank LaFerla and Mathew Blurton-Jones neurobiologists with the stem cell research center and the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) to advance research using the company's proprietary purified human neural stem cells to improve memory in people with Alzheimer's disease.

"CIRM's support for UC Irvine's efforts to advance stem cell-based treatments for a variety of diseases is extremely gratifying," said Peter Donovan, director of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. "Henry's work on retinitis pigmentosa and Frank and Mathew's on Alzheimer's disease hold great promise, and we are delighted that they have the support to see their work move toward the clinic."

Klassen's objective is to introduce stem cells that rescue and reactivate damaged and dying photoreceptor rods and cones, thus reversing the course of RP even at relatively advanced stages. The current CIRM funding will allow Klassen and his collaborators to grow these cells under conditions ensuring that pharmaceutical standards are met. The resulting cells will be tested in animals for safety and to make certain that they are therapeutically potent. Then the team will seek FDA approval for the use of these cells in early clinical trials, in which a small number of patients with severe RP will be injected with cells in their worse-seeing eye and followed clinically for a specified period of time to determine the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

"We believe it's possible to rejuvenate a clinically significant number of cones in the degenerating retina," said Klassen, whose work also has received long-standing support from the Discovery Eye Foundation. "Our methods have been validated, and I'm optimistic that stem cell-based treatments can help restore fading vision in people with eye diseases."

The CIRM award will further LaFerla and Blurton-Jones's efforts with StemCells, Inc. to understand how human neural stem cells can treat Alzheimer's disease, the leading cause of dementia in the U.S. Earlier this year, the researchers reported findings showing that neural stem cells restored memory and enhanced synaptic function in two animal models relevant to Alzheimer's disease, possibly by providing growth factors that protect neurons from degeneration. With these studies establishing proof of concept, the team intends to conduct further animal studies necessary to seek FDA approval to start testing this therapeutic approach in human patients.

"Our goal is to research ways to make memories last a lifetime, and we're excited to investigate the potential efficacy of stem cells for Alzheimer's disease," said LaFerla, the UCI MIND director and Chancellor's Professor and chair of neurobiology & behavior.

CIRM's governing board gave $63 million to four institutions and companies statewide on Wednesday. The funded projects are considered critical to the institute's mission of translating basic stem cell discoveries into clinical cures. UCI's portion of the awards it shares is $5.6 million for the Alzheimer's disease effort and $6 million for the RP program, bringing the campus's total CIRM funding to $96.25 million.

The two grants are the second and third CIRM Disease Team Therapy Development Awards given to Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center scientists. In July, Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings and StemCells, Inc. received a $20 million commitment to fund the collection of data necessary to establish human clinical trials in the U.S. for cervical spinal cord injury.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. SF State biologists tag zombees to track their flight
2. Epigenetic causes of prostate cancer
3. Science research led in Gulf of Mexico by Penn State biologist to be honored with US award
4. NC State leads national effort to evaluate fresh water sustainability in the southern US
5. American Meteorological Society releases revised climate change statement
6. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers study the structure of drug resistance in tuberculosis
7. Antimicrobials from personal care products found in statewide survey of Minnesotas rivers and lakes
8. UF scientists find state record 87 eggs in largest python from Everglades
9. NSF releases report detailing nationwide and state-by-state R&D activities
10. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules
11. Wayne State researchers working to improve genetic analysis, disorder detection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are ... DNA in ink used in a variety of writing ... theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on ... through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... a leading provider of secure digital communications services, today ... biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in ... facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the ... institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the Class ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: