The University of California, San Francisco was recently ranked number two in the country for receiving biomedical research grants from the NIH, and it was also the number one ranked public school in the country for receiving these grants. According to the University of California, San Francisco news page, this funding allows UCSF researchers to undertake groundbreaking studies that aim at a better understanding of cancer, diabetes, HIV, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
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Researchers at the Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research on the Parnassus Campus of the University of California San Francisco have just published the results of two related studies involving differentiated brain cells transplanted into mice. In one case, the cells were human brain cells integrated successfully into a mouse brain; in the other, epileptic mice were cured with specialized mouse brain cells. In both studies the differentiated cells were a type of interneuron progenitor called medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells. Unlike other brain stem cells that can turn into any number of specialized cells, these differentiated MGE cells have a specific function, which is to inhibit signaling in overactive nerve circuits. These experiments hold promise for future treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and the chronic pain and spasticity caused by spinal cord injury.
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Since its first lemonade stand was set up in 2000 by a little girl with cancer, the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has raised over $60M to support pediatric cancer research at institutions across the United States. That's a lot of lemonade. While lemonade stands are still a staple of the organization's activities, celebrity support and large fund raising events like the recent "Lemon Ball" (which raised a record $825K) allow ALSF to leverage the kind of funds that really make a difference. In a recent round of funding awards, the University of California San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital was named a Center of Excellence by the foundation and given $1.75M to speed translational research programs and training over the next five years. Chief investigator on the grant is Dr. Katherine Matthay, chief of pediatric oncology at Benioff. She says of the ALSF award in a recent news release:
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