|Gene therapy graphic from FDA|
"CIRM has supported projects that combine stem cell and gene therapy technologies, such as the gene-corrected stem cell transplants at UCLA that essentially cured 5-year old Evangelina Padilla Vaccaro and several CAR-T cell approaches using stem memory T cells that aim to tackle various cancers.
"The support of stem cell research that contributes to these treatments is and will continue to be the core of CIRM funding. However, treatment opportunities in regenerative medicine that utilize gene therapy technologies but not necessarily stem cells are also valuable and worthy of pursuit."
"The field of regenerative medicine brings together technologies that include stem cells, gene therapy, and tissue engineering that in many cases combine to produce a therapeutic product. In some cases, one technology leads the way. For CIRM and the patients it aims to serve, it is vital to support technologies which prove to be highly complementary and augmenting to stem cells, such as gene therapy."
The field of gene therapy has attracted widespread interest within the regenerative medicine industry and among federal medical regulators. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, earlier this year announced steps to speed development of the therapies.
"'The pace of progress in gene therapy has been somewhat breathtaking,' he (Gottlieb) said, with more than 500 experimental drugs now in development. 'The promise is becoming very much a reality.'"
Gottlieb has said that he expects the FDA to approve 40 gene therapies by 2022 and possibly a cure for sickle cell anemia within 10 years.
CIRM's new gene therapy policy will go before the full CIRM board one week from today where it is expected to be approved. Additional information on the policy can be found on the Science Subcommittee agenda.