Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The 2016 Report From the California Stem Cell Agency: Challenges and Accomplishments

Stem cell agency's annual report cover
California's $3 billion stem cell agency has filed its 2016 annual report, which is chockablock with stories about people aided by stem cell research plus discussions of speed, clarity and clinical trials. 

The posting of the 20-page report on the agency's web site came 12 hours before the end of year on Friday.

"Challenges remain but new cures are emerging" was the headline on the document. "All in. All out" was how the agency's work was characterized.

Much of what was contained in the report has been written about previously on the California Stem Cell Report. But the annual report provides a useful and valuable summary of the agency's work for those interested in whether it is fulfilling the promises of the 2004 ballot initiative that created the agency, which is unprecedented in state history. 

Some of the notable numbers for the Oakland-based, 48-person agency, which is known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM):

  • Over the last two years, the agency has helped to finance 27 clinical trials and is looking for another 40 by 2020.
  • More than 180 "inventions" have been chalked up.
  • More than 250 projects are currently being managed by the CIRM team.
  • Twelve "world-class" research facilities have been created over the last 12 years.
  • Three Alpha Clinics, intended to be one-stop stem cell centers, are in operation. A fourth is scheduled for this year.
  • A $30 million stem cell "pitching machine" to speed clinical trials and help guide development through federal regulations began operations in 2016.

  • Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the agency, said in the report, 
    "However, there can be no greater return on our investment than the restoration of health. That is now occurring because of CIRM. Evangelina (featured on the cover), stricken with a previously incurable immune system disorder, is now cured. That’s right, cured. And we are working to quicken the pace at which this treatment is available to others. This is the promise of stem cell therapy."
    The California Stem Cell Report will have a lengthier look at the agency later this week. Sphere: Related Content

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