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UCI stem cell researcher to receive $4.8 million in state funding
Date:5/25/2012

Irvine, Calif., May 24, 2012 A UC Irvine immunologist will receive $4.8 million to create a new line of neural stem cells that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded the grant Thursday, May 24, to Thomas Lane of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI to support early-stage translational research.

CIRM's governing board gave 21 such grants worth $69 million to 11 institutions statewide. The funded projects are considered critical to the institute's mission of translating basic stem cell discoveries into clinical cures. They are expected to either result in candidate drugs or cell therapies or make significant strides toward such treatments, which can then be developed for submission to the Food & Drug Administration for clinical trial.

Lane's grant brings total CIRM funding for UCI to $76.65 million.

"I am delighted that CIRM has chosen to support our efforts to advance a novel stem cell-based therapy for multiple sclerosis," said Peter Donovan, director of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system caused by inflammation and loss of myelin, a fatty tissue that insulates and protects nerve cells. Current treatments are often unable to stop the progression of neurologic disability most likely due to irreversible nerve destruction resulting from myelin deficiencies. The limited ability of the body to repair damaged nerve tissue highlights a critically important and unmet need for MS patients.

In addressing this issue, Lane who also directs UCI's Multiple Sclerosis Research Center will target a stem cell treatment that will not only halt ongoing myelin loss but also encourage the growth of new myelin that can mend damaged nerves.

"Our preliminary data are very promising and suggest that this goal is possible," said Lane, a Chancellor's Fellow and professor of molecular bio
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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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