Tuesday, July 23, 2019

UC Researcher on Stem Cells and California's Stem Cell Agency

The California stem cell agency recently highlighted a brief look at the field with a Q&A that ranged from the impact of the agency itself to dealing with questions about "miraculous" stem cell "cures."

The item appeared on the agency's blog and originated at UC Davis, which is among the top five recipients of funds from the agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

The school has received $143 million, making it fifth on the list of recipients in terms of dollars.

The Q&A involved Jan Nolta, head of the stem cell program at UC Davis. Some excerpts from what Nolta had to say:

Jan Nolta, UC Davis photo
"Perhaps the most promising and exciting research right now comes from combining blood-forming stem cells with gene therapy. 
"Along with treating the famous bubble baby disease, where I had started my career, this approach looks very promising for sickle cell anemia. We’re hoping to use it to treat several different inherited metabolic diseases.... 
"The beauty of this therapy is that it can work for the lifetime of a patient. All of the blood cells circulating in a person’s system would be repaired. It’s the number one stem cell cure happening right now. Plus, it’s a therapy that won’t be rejected. These are a patient’s own stem cells. It is just one type of stem cell, and the first that’s being commercialized to change cells throughout the body."
About the five Alpha stem cell clinics initiated by CIRM, Nolta said,
"These are clinics where the patients can go for high-quality clinical stem cell trials approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]. They don’t need to go to 'unapproved clinics'a and spend a lot of money. And they actually shouldn’t."

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