Monday, May 25, 2015

UC Davis Stem Cell Program Cited in Sacramento Bee

Here is one of the photos run by The Bee today with a story
about the UC Davis stem cell program.
The Sacramento Bee today published an article on the rise of UC Davis as a major stem cell research center, largely with a $130 million assist from California’s stem cell agency.

The news article was written by the editor of this blog, David Jensen, on a freelance basis. At the time of this writing, the article ranked No. 1 out of 81,000 results on a Google news search using the term “California stem cell.” 

While the piece focuses on UC Davis, a similar impact has been felt at UC Santa Barbara, whose stem cell program has also benefited greatly from CIRM largess.
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  1. Jason Brennan sent the following via email. It is appropriate to share with our readers as a comment from him. Thanks, Jason.
    "The article in the Sacramento Bee by David Jensen did an excellent job of explaining the UCD Institute for Regenerative Medicine. I think an excellent follow up would include a detailed description of the impact CIRM has had on inspiring high school students from the region. As part of the UC Davis Teen Biotech Challenge, I have had a number of students from Sheldon High School win summer research internships at UC Davis. In fact, two former Sheldon students were recently accepted into Stanford University and Princeton, in large part, due to their research experiences funded by CIRM. The Sheldon HS Biotech Academy, and many other regional high school programs, has greatly benefited from CIRM research opportunities which offer direct application of STEM and are currently inspiring our future scientists. Five of the ten summer research positions were recently awarded to Sheldon students who will begin working at Dr. Nolta's lab this summer. Not only has prop 71 provided valuable funding for stem cell research, it also provides life-changing opportunities for our future scientists! This impact is lasting and beneficial to our national STEM efforts and needs to be communicated to the tax payers.

    "Jason Brennan"

  2. Judy Roberson of the Huntington's Disease Foundation sent the following comment via email.

    "Thank you, Mr. Jensen, for your excellent article in the Sacramento Bee today; it was shared all over the Huntington's disease community throughout the US.

    "We are always appreciative of gaining awareness about HD, stem cell research, the hope we have with funding from CIRM, and the expertise at UC Davis with Dr. Jan Nolta, Dr. Wheelock and their devoted teams.

    "Huntington's also kills children; about 7-10% of our population in the US occurs in children ages 2-18; we call that Juvenile HD. It's even crueler than the adult onset.

    "Katie Jackson is hosting a first-in-the-US walk for JHD on June 13 in Sacramento; it's to raise funds for Dr. Jan Nolta's gene therapy research for JHD. She and her husband have three children living at risk for HD.

    "Woody Guthrie died from HD in 1967 at age 55; my husband was 51 when he died in 2003. Sadly, there is not one thing different in all of those years as far as a treatment for HD that can slow down or ameliorate this always terminal hereditary brain disease that lasts 10-20 years. It left my husband bed bound and a quadriplegic; he died on hospice here at home with our entire family present.

    "For our HD community, because of CIRM and UC Davis, we have hope for the first time. We don't know if Drs. Nolta and Wheelock will get through the FDA for the IND license they need to proceed, but at least we have hope. If it all goes smoothly, the first patient should have his surgery in January or Feb. of 2016 at UC Davis.

    "My husband, Tim, was 39 in 1992, when he was diagnosed in Sacramento by a very good neurologist. We left his office without a prescription, any HD reading material, or a date for a follow up appointment. We left without any hope. This was before the Internet and before the HD gene was found in 1993. Even with the HD gene being found, we still don't have one treatment.

    "But we have hope and that's something.

    "My children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews need that hope and so do I. I'm grateful to CIRM, to the voters of California, to the researchers who tirelessly work to do the mouse studies and reports, and apply for grants. And I'm grateful to you for your reporting because your article provides education and awareness about HD and hopeful therapies. We're living on hope!!

    "Thank you again,

    "Judy Roberson, RN
    "President, Joseph P. Roberson Foundation
    "Huntington's Disease Patient Advocate"