Thursday, December 08, 2011

$30 Million 'Disease-in-Dish" Plan Wins Go-ahead from California Stem Cell Agency

Directors of the California stem cell agency today approved a $30 million program that could generate "disease-in-a-dish models" that "have the potential to make drug discovery faster, more efficient and more personalized to individual patients."

The "human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) initiative" is aimed at generating high quality stem cell-based tools for use by the researchers and drug developers.

The proposal includes four elements, one of which is a $300,000 collaboration with the NIH to develop cell lines from patients with Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The plan includes a $4 million disease line award round, a $16 million core hiPSC derivation round and a $10 million stem cell bank round. The RFAs would go out in May of next year with funding expected early in 2013.

The initial staff memo on the initiative did not mention human embryonic stem cells, but a spokeswoman for the agency said they were not excluded from the effort.

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