Thursday, November 29, 2007

SC3: The New California Stem Cell Collaboration

Six California research institutions, ranging from the University of Southern California to the University of California at Santa Barbara, today announced a "collaboration" aimed at enhancing their stem cell research efforts.

Martin Pera(see photo), director of the USC Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, said,
"Tackling these complex problems requires scientists with diverse expertise. We are delighted to have an opportunity to work with such an outstanding collection of scientists to really accelerate the pace of discovery and translational research in regenerative medicine."
In addition to USC and UC Santa Barbara, the other institutions are Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, City of Hope, the California Institute of Technology and the House Ear Institute.

The coalition is officially known as SC3 – the Southern California Stem Cell Scientific Collaboration.

SC3's news release said,
"The new agreement is a major step forward in supporting potential significant stem cell findings by allowing members to share training programs, scientific core facilities and expertise while teaming up on a wide range of research programs."
Dennis Clegg, director of the stem program at UC Santa Barbara, said, "The SC3 collaboration is already engendering new ideas for collaborative projects between scientists at the participating institutions."

Pera said SC3 is not applying for any of the $227 million in CIRM lab construction grants, which are being reviewed privately today in San Francisco, although USC is. Pera said via email,
"We have dedicated one floor in our proposed facility (Edythe and Eli Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research) to supporting the work of SC3-through training, access to core laboratories with specialized equipment and expertise, and through providing space for collaborative and pilot projects. "
Southern California already has another type of collective effort underway regarding stem cell research – the San Diego consortium involving UC San Diego, Scripps, Burnham and Salk. However, it appears to be more formally structured and is believed to be seeking a large lab construction grant from CIRM.

The stem cell agency has declined to identify any of the institutions seeking grants.

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