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Cedars-Sinai research team awarded $1.9 million from CIRM to develop new tools and technologies
Date:2/2/2011

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 2, 2011) A team of scientists from the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to fund development of a new technique to aid pharmaceutical discoveries for specific diseases.

Additionally, another team from the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery will share a $1.5 million grant with a medical technology company aiming to develop a new imaging system.

The Tools and Technology grants from the California stem cell agency support the early-stage development and evaluation of innovative tools and technologies to overcome current roadblocks in translational stem cell research.

"Scientists have to first invent the tools so that regenerative medicine can bring patients and their families hope, relief, and perhaps one day, cures," said Clive Svendsen, Ph.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. "These grants allow us to continue advancing stem cell science toward the goal of a new era in treatment, especially for diseases that currently have no cure or standard treatment."

Svendsen's team, led by Dhruv Sareen, Ph.D., was granted $1.9 million to invent a new pharmaceutical discovery process that employs pluripotent stem cells in an effort to find a pharmaceutical treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular condition that is one of the most common lethal genetic diseases in children.

Children born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy harbor a genetic mutation in the SMN1 gene, which doesn't allow their motor neurons to manufacture critical protein (SMN) needed for survival. As motor neurons die, patients become increasingly paralyzed. Another gene, called SMN2, manufactures the necessary protein, but doesn't make enough to compensate the gene deficit and stop the disease progression.

Svendsen's team aims to discover a pharmaceutical drug candidate compound that
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Contact: Sally Stewart
Sally.stewart@cshs.org
310-248-6566
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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