MCR MEDICAL CENTER REPORT

01/09/08

Stanford provides additional funds for stem cell researchers

 

BY AMY ADAMS

The School of Medicine is providing $200,000 in planning grants to four multidisciplinary groups of researchers who want to develop new stem cell-based therapies and diagnostics for specific disease targets.

The grants will provide each research team with $50,000 that will be used during the next six months to support the preparation of a more detailed proposal to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine as part of its disease team initiative funding. CIRM is expected to issue a call for the detailed proposals sometime later in 2008.

The goal of CIRM's disease team initiative is to encourage disease-based clinical and translational research studies. As a first step in the initiative funding process, it solicited proposals for planning grants. Stanford, like other institutions, was limited to submitting four planning proposals to CIRM. Those awards will be announced in July.

School officials decided to fund four additional planning grants from institutional sources because of the strength of the science in the proposals. The school hopes these additional grants will complement those that might be funded by CIRM, and that the combination will provide Stanford with a group of strong proposals for the next round of disease team initiative funding.

The Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, headed by Irving Weissman, MD, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor, has thus far earned $41 million in funding from CIRM - more than any other individual institution.

The research groups chosen to receive institutional planning grants are headed by:

  • Irving Weissman, MD, director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine: Therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer stem cells.
  • Judith Shizuru, MD, PhD, associate professor of blood and marrow transplantation: Hematopoietic cell transplantation for life-threatening systemic sclerosis.
  • Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, professor and chair of neurosurgery: Development of human neural stem cells for enhanced neurological recovery from stroke.
  • Beverly Mitchell, MD, deputy director of the Stanford Cancer Center: New approaches to diagnoses of aberrant hematopoietic stem cells in myelodysplastic syndromes.

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