Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Weighing California's Stem Cell Trials: An Update from the Golden State's Stem Cell Agency

A sample from the latest information from CIRM on its clinical trial investments. 

California's $3 billion stem cell agency has posted a fresh overview of the 45 clinical trials that it has invested in, ranging from spinal injuries to kidney transplants.

The update is part of the agency's push to better inform the public as well its governing board of the scope and status of its 13-year-old efforts. The clinical trials carry special weight as the agency faces its demise unless it is successful in raising $220 million privately and winning voter approval of a proposed $5 billion bond issue in November 2020.

The Oakland-based agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), expects to run out of cash for new awards by the end of 2019. Its only funding has been the $3 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2004. The ballot initiative provided no additional source of financing to carry it into the future.

Clinical trials are critical for the agency as it approaches the date when it must ask for more billions. They are the last stage before a therapy is approved for widespread use by the federal government. But even then, a trial can take years. And nine out of 10 proposed, "normal" -- non stem cell -- therapies fail during the clinical trial process, according to studies.  Stem cell trials are so new that their failure rates has not been fully examined.

CIRM is hoping for results in the next year or so that will resonate with voters and lead them to approve additional funding.

The five-page, clinical trial overview sorts the trial information by disease, dollar amount, benefit and date among other things. (See sample of the layout above.) The agency also has additional useful information on its trials on what it calls its clinical trials dashboard, an interactive web page that allows readers to slice and dice the information.

The fresh document on the trials was released as part of the agenda for tomorrow's CIRM meeting during which its governing board is expected to approve $32 million for three additional trials.  Sphere: Related Content

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