Wednesday, September 25, 2019

California's 15-year Stem Cell Journey: Where to After 1,000 Research Awards, 56 Clinical Trials, $904 Million for Basic Research?

BURLINGAME, Ca. -- California's $3 billion stem cell research agency this year is nearing only its 15th birthday, but tomorrow it will wrestle with the question of whether there is life after 2020.

The agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), is convening a passel of out-of-state scientists here to address the very real matter of what to do next year and thereafter. 

CIRM expects to run out of cash before the end of this year. It is hoping that California voters will approve a $5.5 billion bond measure in 2020 to continue its work. 

The scientists arriving for tomorrow's public meeting are non-California folks who have evaluated some of the more than 3,000 applications from California scientists for cash from CIRM.  The agency is barred by law from financing work outside the Golden State.

  • "What should CIRM be thinking about now to prepare for a possible life beyond 2020?
  • "How can CIRM deliver the greatest impact in the future?
  • "What opportunities might CIRM seize to accelerate the field?• 
  • "What challenges must be addressed?
  • "What types of CIRM programs should be sustained or expanded?
  • "What is missing, or needs more support?"
The day-long program also includes a 49-page, information package dealing with CIRM programs, ranging from basic research to clinical activities. It is the most comprehensive, recent, public look at CIRM's efforts that the agency has prepared.

Here are some of the highlights of the fresh data overview from CIRM: 
  • 56 clinical trials
  • More than 1,000 awards
  • More than 1,200 patients in CIRM-initiated Alpha stem cell clinics
  • $904 million for basic research
  • Stimulation of $3.7 billion in outside investments
  • 2,700 alumni from CIRM training programs 
The session begins at 8:30 a.m. PDT. It will be available also on online. Instructions for access can be found on the meeting agenda.

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