Monday, March 04, 2019

A Chance to Peek Inside a $50 Million California Stem Cell Program

Video from 2017 Alpha Clinic symposium

One of the better stem cell, show-and-tell conferences is coming up this spring in San Francisco, plus it is free and open to the public.

The day-long session will provide a peek inside one of the signature efforts of California's 14-year-old, $3 billion stem cell research program, which is edging closer to ever more critical financial times. 

The meeting April 18 is the fourth annual Alpha Clinic symposium. The Alpha Clinic Network was created in 2015 by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM), as the stem cell agency is formally known. 

CIRM has pumped $50 million into the network, which is aimed at delivering clinical trials to patients, creating strategic relationships between science and industry and leveraging statewide resources. Sites for the network are located at the City of Hope and at UC campuses in San Francisco, Davis/Sacramento, San Diego, UCLA and UC Irvine.

For those interested in California public policy issues dealing with health, medical mattters and research, the symposium will offer an up-close opportunity to check out the impact of the state stem cell agency. 

The session promises updates on stem cell research and clinical trials on afflictions ranging from sickle cell disease to cancer along with a look at gene editing. Scientists and patient advocates will be telling their stories and detailing the research.

CIRM is scheduled to run out of cash for new awards this year. It is attempting to raise privately $220 million to bridge a financial gap before hoped-for voter approval of $5 billion more in funding in November 2020.

Geoff Lomax, CIRM's senior officer for strategic infrastructure, told the California Stem Cell Report via email last week:

"It’s an exciting time in medicine as we have the tools to literally mend cells at the DNA level. The annual symposium is an opportunity to hear from the pioneers who developed these tool, the Alpha Clinic doctors and nurses that use them and the patients that have benefited from them."
Here are links to more information about the Alpha Clinic Network: Agenda for the symposium. CIRM's Alpha Clinic pagea CIRM blog item on the April meeting. 

The session this spring is financed with $60,000 from the stem cell agency.

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