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UCSF diabetes, brain tumor stem cell grants to drive development of therapies
Date:10/29/2009

Two teams of UCSF scientists have received grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to advance their stem cell based strategies for treating diabetes and brain tumors. The intent of the grants is for teams to file new drug applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within four years, driving potential therapies toward clinical trials.

The two grants, awarded to collaborative scientific teams, total $39.2 million.

The diabetes grant is co-led by investigator Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, in collaboration with Novocell, Inc. Other UCSF members of the team are Michael German, MD, PhD; Matthias Hebrok, PhD; and Qizhi Tang, PhD.

The brain tumor grant is led by Mitchel Berger, MD, chair of the UCSF Department of Neurosurgery, in collaboration with Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Burnham Institute for Medical Research. Other UCSF members of the team are C. David James, PhD; Tomoko Ozawa, MD, PhD; Russell Pieper, PhD; Mei-Yin Polley, PhD; Michael Prados, MD; and Elizabeth Read, MD.

The projects are among 14 disease team grants announced today (Oct. 28, 2009) by CIRM. The grants focus on conditions ranging from brain tumors and diabetes to HIV, heart damage and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, among others. They are the first issued by CIRM with the explicit intent of driving the development of therapies for approval by FDA for testing in clinical trials.

The multidisciplinary collaborations are intended to hasten the clinical trial development process, avoiding mistakes sometimes discovered late in the game and ensuring that clinically relevant issues are considered early.

The diabetes team, lauded as a "dream team" by the CIRM working group reviewers, received $19,999,937 over four years. The goal is to encapsulate islet progenitor cells generated from human embryonic stem cells in a durable, retrievable device and implant them into patients.
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Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jobrien@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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