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UCI stem cell researchers to receive $9.35 million in state funding
Date:10/22/2010

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 21, 2010 UC Irvine scientists will receive grants totaling $9.35 million to help create stem cell treatments for retinitis pigmentosa, Huntington's disease and traumatic brain injury.

The grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine were awarded Thursday, Oct. 21, to Dr. Henry Klassen, Leslie M. Thompson, Brian Cummings and Aileen Anderson all members of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI to support early-stage translational research.

CIRM's governing board gave 19 such grants worth $67 million to 12 institutions statewide. The research funded by these awards is considered critical to CIRM's mission of translating basic discoveries into clinical cures. The selected projects 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.

These grants bring total CIRM funding for UCI to $71.85 million.

"I am delighted that CIRM has made these awards to my colleagues. It speaks to the breadth of outstanding stem cell research at UC Irvine," said Peter Donovan, director of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. "The studies they will carry out on eye diseases, Huntington's and traumatic brain injury could have wider implications for the use of stem cells to treat a variety of human diseases, disorders and injuries and could have a major impact."

With a $3.85 million grant, Klassen, assistant professor of ophthalmology, will target a stem cell treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited form of blindness in which the light-detecting cells in the retina are destroyed. To counteract this, Klassen plans to standardize a method to create photoreceptor progenitor stem cells from immature retinas and then transplant these cells into the eye to repair or replace damaged light-sensing cells. The CIRM gr
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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California -- Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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