Science Market Update

Irvine Regenerative Science Labs Capture $12M in Stem Cell Research Grants

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Wed, Sep 19, 2012

In a recent round of new funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), two UC Irvine stem cell research labs and their collaborators at other California universities and private labs have been awarded some $37M, of which approximately $12M will go directly to UCI. The two funded projects involve translational research to develop eventual clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease, in the one study, and retinitis pigmentosa in the other. The new awards bring Irvine's total CIRM funding over the years to $96.25 million, most carried out at the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center (right) which opened its cutting-edge facility on campus 2 years ago.

Dr. Henry Klassen is an ophthalmologist at the UCI School of Medicine as well as the director of the Stem Cell & Retinal Regeneration Program at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. Along with researchers at UCSB, UC Davis, and Cedar-Sinai Medical Center (in Los Angeles), Dr. Klassen will lead a $17.3M project to cultivate potent retinal stem cells for use in treating the degenerative eye disease retinis pigmentosa. The CIRM award will allow the lab teams to develop a strain of potent stem cells that meet pharmaceutical standards, then to test those cells in an animal model. Finally, they will partner with the NIH to seek approval for human clinical trials on patients with a severe progression of the disease. The UC Irvine portion of this grant is $6M.

(For another blog on the use of stem cells in treating mascular degeneration, read: UCLA Stem Cell Research Restores Vision in Successful Trial Procedure)


irvine eye research

[Dr. Klassen in his lab with colleagues, photo by Paul R. Kennedy, courtesy of UC Irvine]


In the second recently-funding CIRM/UCI stem cell research project, neurobiologists Frank LaFerla and Mathew Blurton-Jones will partner with Bay Area company StemCells Inc. to explore how human neural stem cells can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. LaFerla and Blurton-Jones have already conducted some animal trials with StemCells' product in order to establish proof of concept; in this study they will continue to understand the mechanisms at work in the Alzheimer's brain through further animal model experiments. The total research dollars allotted to UCI in this project come to about $5.6M. Both scientists are affiliated with the UCI MIND Institute.

This is not the first time UCI stem cell scientists have partnered with StemCells Inc. to conduct trials. See our earlier blog: $4.8M Stem Cell Research Grant + Top Young University Honor to UC Irvine.

irvine stem cell research

[Drs. LaFerla and Blurton-Jones, photo by Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications]

In other UC Irvine news, UCI anatomy and neurobiology scientist and stem cell pioneer Hans Keirstead will headline at the TEDx Orange Coast Redifining Relevance speaker event next month on October 10, 2012.


Also next month, on October 2, 2012, Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be on the UC Irvine campus to hold our 12th annual Irvine BioResearch Product Faire event. This professional show is an excellent opportunity for life scientists and lab equipment specialists to come together and discuss new and better lab technologies to optimize every project.  The UC Irvine BRPF event is one of three tradeshows held over a three-day period in the greater Los Angeles area:

  • 10/02/2012 -- 12th Annual BRPF event, UC Irvine
  • 10/03/2012 -- 7th Semiannual Front Line event, University of Southern California, Health Sciences Campus
  • 10/04/2012 -- 29th Semiannual BVS event, UCLA

For more information on exhibiting at UC Irvine, click the button below.  Explore our website and see the complete 2013 Show Schedule, then give one of our sales associates a call.

irvine research


Tags: CA, Stem cell research, University of California Irvine, Southwest, California, 2012, Neuroscience, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Funding, Irvine, CIRM, UC Irvine

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