Frozen in two California labs sit 20 new human embryonic stem cell lines created by CIRM grantees and certified for use by other CIRM researchers. But those researchers who might put the cells to good use in research toward new therapies often have trouble accessing them.
In our annual report story about our banking initiative, which is trying to overcome this research roadblock, we quote Geoff Lomax, CIRM’s senior officer for scientific and ethical standards.
“It’s not just ‘here, take some cells. The fundamental problem that I’m hearing is people have these cells but they lack the capacity to distribute them to their colleagues.”CIRM’s solution to this laboratory logjam takes the form of a three-part initiative worth $30 million. (We blogged about that initiative after it was approved by the board.)
This initiative would fund researchers to get tissue samples from people with known diseases, and would also fund the conversion of those cells into embryonic-like iPS cells. These iPS cells are being studied to learn more about how diseases form, and are expected to be useful for screening drugs that could benefit patients with the disorder. Finally, this initiative will create a clearinghouse of cells—both iPS and embryonic stem cell lines—and make them available to researchers.
This bank is part of CIRM’s effort not just to fund research, but to fund the tools and resources that scientists need to get their research into patients.
You can read more about the stem cell banking initiative in our annual report story online.
This is the eighth annual report story we’ve posted. Here are the others:
- Smoothing the Pathway for New Therapies
- Research Progress: Locking out HIV
- Research Progress: Mimicking the pancreas
- Stem cell Therapy for the Economy
- Spotlight on Disease: Neuromyelitis Optica
- Spotlight on Disease: Heart Failure
- Spotlight on Disease: Autism
- Spotlight on Disease: Sickle Cell Disease