In order to continue its mission of expanding the frontier of stem cell research, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine on May 7 awarded a total of $180 million to the University of California, $3.2 million of which went to UCSB’s Center of Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.
Currently, stem cell research focuses on renewal and differentiation of stem cells and the molecular mechanisms of its pluripotency - or their ability to develop into any type of cell - using human embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and stem cells in simpler organisms. Congresswoman Lois Capps addressed the benefits of these studies Wednesday for the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee hearing on stem cell research in Washington, D.C., applauding researcher’s diligence despite administration interventions prohibiting federally funded embryonic stem cell research. “It is quite frankly embarrassing to have taken this big step backward over the past few years as the rest of the world has soared ahead,” said Capps. “Our nation’s leading scientists know the facts. They know that both adult and embryonic stem cell research hold the potential to cure some of humanity’s most devastating diseases: cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and. I’m sure, many more.”
In order to expedite medicinal applications, the grants will fund three research facilities free of federal funding to conduct embryonic stem cell research within federal restrictions; various stem cell research centers which support across-the-spectrum collaborations; and current facilities to improve research.
“UC is grateful for all the support CIRM has given to our scientists in this important field,” said University of California President Robert Dynes. “The grants will allow UC to build the next generation of research infrastructure that will help continue our efforts to realize the enormous potential of stem cell technology.”
New UC developments will contribute to the three categories of research CIRM hopes to establish: basic stem cell research and discovery, preclinical and clinical research, and preclinical development; centers of excellence which will work with any duel combination of stem cell discovery, clinical research and preclinical development; and special programs which will work with specialized research programs.