The independent Institute, which is associated with the University of California, San Francisco, has received $24 million in funding from CIRM (you can see a complete list of those awards here). The 14 awards fund training new stem cell scientists, creating a lab facility where Gladstone scientists can share stem cell resources and awards to aid in creating reprogrammed stem cells (known as iPS cells) and treat cardiovascular diseases and HIV/AIDS, among others.
The Roddenberry gift will expand these existing areas of expertise among Gladstone scientists by creating the Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine - named after Gene Roddenberry, who created "Star Trek".
A story by Erin Allday at the San Francisco Chronicle quotes Rod Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry's son:
"We don't fool ourselves into thinking we're going to cure Alzheimer's or heart disease overnight, but if they tell us they are breaking ground and moving forward, we definitely want to help them do it."Allday also spoke with CIRM President Alan Trouson about the Gladstone Institutes:
"It was amazing to go up to Gladstone and look through a microscope and see a sheet of beating heart cells, and know they came from skin cells," Roddenberry said. "Walking around the institute, we met scientists who were passionate and excited by what they were doing. And as corny as it sounds, a lot of them believed in the 'Star Trek' future, a beautiful future."
"Gladstone is small, but it's incredibly effective, and it's ranked very high by scientists around this country as one of the best institutes."A press release from the Gladstone Institutes about the gift quotes Deepak Srivastava, who directs both stem cell and cardiovascular research at Gladstone:
“Today's biggest challenge for solving disease is getting the investments required to transform our basic-science discoveries into health solutions that can alleviate human suffering.”Investments like those from CIRM and now the Roddenberry Foundation should help accelerate the translation of basic discoveries by Gladstone scientists into real therapies. This video discusses work by Gladstone scientist Bruce Conklin, who is developing a stem cell method of screening drugs to treat a form of heart disease: