|A CIRM slide from last week on the Cellular Dynamic stem cell bank project.|
“The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has the ambitious goal of creating the world’s largest iPSC bank. This will include cell lines from people with cardiomyopathy, blinding eye diseases, and Alzheimer’s, among other things. Michael Yaffe, the associate director for research activities at CIRM, said it was important not to duplicate the efforts of other iPSC banking initiatives. In planning the program, Yaffe explained, 'We wanted to make as many [cell lines] as possible. Then it became an economic argument: How many could we afford and how much could we push a deriver to handle?'
“CIRM settled on a goal of 9,000 lines derived from 3,000 individuals. Yaffe said he anticipates that the first of these will be available for distribution by the end of the year or early 2015. What’s still unsettled, however, is the cost. It’s a tricky calculation, given that the utilization of the lines is unknown.
“'If a few large pharmaceutical companies buy a complete set of all the lines, that would keep the bank established and running for many years,’ Yaffe said. ‘If academic researchers are going to buy a few lines at a time or a few lines each, it will create some challenges for the sustainability of the bank.’”