UCLA & UCI receive $8 million grant for stem cell research

October 23, 2014

IRVINE (CNS) – UC Irvine and UCLA researchers will form a stem cell clinic, thanks to an $8 million state grant awarded today.

The five-year grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine will be used to establish an Alpha Stem Cell Clinic, part of a network established by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Clinical trials will be done at the research center.

“UCI has established a strong preclinical stem cell research program, and it’s vital to move ahead to the clinical testing phase,” said Sidney Golub, director of UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. “To advance treatments in this field, we all have to work together, and that’s what the UCI-UCLA Alpha Stem Cell Clinic program represents.”

The first test will involve gene therapy for “bubble baby disease,” also known as severe combined immune deficiency in which infants have virtually no immune system.

“Stem cell therapies are a new way of treating disease,” said C. Randal Mills, president and chief executive of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. “Instead of managing symptoms, cellular medicine has the power to replace or regenerate damaged tissues and organs. And so we need to explore new and innovative ways of accelerating clinical research with stem cells. That is what we hope these Alpha Stem Cell clinics will accomplish.”

The $8 million grant for the UCI-UCLA partnership was one of three awarded by the state agency today.