Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cedars-Sinai Researcher Snags $5 Million for Stem Cell Eye Research

Another winner in last week's California stem cell awards was scientist Shaomei Wang of Cedars-Sinai, who will receive nearly $5 million for her work to find a treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. 

Shaomei Wang, Cedars photo
The board last Thursday ratified the decision of 15 reviewers who unanimously approved the Wang application. It was one of two awards approved in the first round of CIRM 2.0, the new effort by the agency to speed cash to researchers. It was the first agency award to Wang.

(The other award last week was for nearly $18 million to NeoStem, Inc., of  New York.)

CIRM, as the agency is known, said in a press release that the funds will go for "the late-stage research needed to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for approval for a clinical trial in people. The therapy will involve injecting neural progenitor cells under the retina at the back of the eye. The hope is that this will slow or even halt the progress of the disease."

The press release oddly, however, did not identify Wang as the recipient, only mentioning that the award went to Cedars. In the past, the agency has identified researchers by name in award press releases and has provided information that has included links to summary information about the research.  

Cedars has been awarded $43 million by the agency, not including the latest $5 million. It has had a representative on the CIRM governing board since its inception as do nearly all of the recipients of funds from the $3 billion state program.

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