Monday, September 03, 2018

Exploring California's $210 Million Search for a Sickle Cell Cure, Plus an Online Look at Stem Cell Over Excitement

CIRM mounted another Facebook Live event last week, which has
chalked up nearly 2,000 views.
Hype, hope and sickle cell anemia -- all were part of Internet videos last week involving the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

The San Francisco Chronicle mounted one and the stem cell agency the other. The Chronicle's production was hosted by Erin Allday, the reporter at the newspaper who wrote its ongoing series, The Miracle Cell, dealing with stem cell treatments. (The next installment is scheduled for publication on Thursday and is expected to evaluate the agency itself.)

Allday asked Maria Millan, CEO of the agency, and Paul Knoepfler, a researcher at UC Davis, about the juggling act needed when the benefits and progress of stem cell research are discussed. Both Millan and Knoepfler said it is easy to get overexcited by the progress of stem cell research.

The agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), produced the second video, a Facebook Live event that so far has drawn more than 1,900 views. Similar figures were not available for the Chronicle video.

Featured on the CIRM video are Donald Kohn of UCLA and Mark Walters of the research institute at Children's Hospital Oakland, along with patient advocate Adrienne Shapiro. The agency has invested $210 million into efforts to find a cure for the disease that afflicts 80,000 people nationally.

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