Friday, June 28, 2019

Leader of Global Research Group: California is 'Hotbed' of Stem Cell Activity

The man slated to be president of the world's largest group of stem cell scientists this week declared that California's stem cell agency has "really accelerated" the work that has made the  state a "hotbed" in the field.

In an interview in the Los Angeles Times, Deepak Srivastava,
Deepak Srivastava
Gladstone photo
also president of the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, provided a primer on stem cell research. 
He said,
"California is a hotbed of activity in the stem cell research world. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM) has really accelerated so much of this. We thought this international community of leaders ought to converge at this major hub in L.A.

"Many people talk about the semiconductor being the dominant discovery in the last 50 years. Now, many think biotech will be the major driver of advancements in the coming 50 years. California promises to be an epicenter for that."
Srivastava has received $17.8 million in research funding from CIRM. Gladstone has received 32 grants totaling $56.4 million.

The occasion for Srivastava's remarks is the annual meeting this week of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Los Angeles. Srivastava is the incoming president of the organization. The meeting has drawn about 4,000 participants but little major news coverage so far. 

The light coverage is not surprising given that much of meeting deals with quite technical issues. The Los Angeles Times piece was an attempt to demystify the field for the general reader. 

For the $3 billion state stem cell agency, the session was an opportunity to tell its story to a broader research community, including the fact that expects to run out of cash for new awards this year. CIRM is hoping that voters will re-fund it with $5.5 billion in November 2020. Next week it is closing off applications for any further awards this year.

One of ISSCR's concerns is the need for strong funding for stem cell research.
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