Stem Cell Agency Commits $150 Million To Develop New Therapies

For Huntington’s disease the funding is enormously important in helping researchers at UC Davis do the most advanced clinical study to date for this untreatable and uniformly fatal disease.
“People are hopeful, truly hopeful for the first time,” says Judy Roberson, a Huntington’s disease patient advocate. “This is a nightmarish, cruel disease in every way but now, thanks to CIRM, we are turning the dream of a stem cell therapy trial into a reality. Research means hope for people with this disease, but research costs money. CIRM has given us all hope.”
The grants, up to $20 million per applicant, go to teams of researchers in both academia and industry who have been working on projects that represent the best possible chances of producing therapies for deadly and disabling diseases and disorders. Those diseases include Huntington’s disease, metastatic melanoma, osteoporosis, critical limb ischemia, spinal cord injury, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and cardiovascular disease.
“Everything we do in this innovative Disease Team Program is focused on getting good science converted to productive treatments for patients,” says Alan Trounson, PhD, President of CIRM. “These awards reflect and highlight our commitment to identifying the most promising stem cell research and supporting it for the time needed to show both the safety and effectiveness of therapy, with an ultimate goal of producing a new treatment that is approved by the FDA for clinical application.”
The funding is part of the stem cell agency’s Disease Team II awards which are designed to encourage multidisciplinary teams of researchers from academic institutions, medical centers and industry to work together and to develop new treatments for a broad range of therapies. The recipients were selected from 21 applications, all of which were reviewed by an independent group of internationally renowned scientists