October 29, 2009 – San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer Erin Allday reports on $230 million in grants from California's stem cell agency. The funding will support stem cell research into treating cancer, diabetes and a host of other devastating diseases that scientists hope will be ready to test in human subjects in the next four years.
The four-year grants, funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, are the first to demand that scientists be prepared to start human clinical trials, with approval from the Food and Drug Administration, in the relatively near future.
A total of fourteen teams have received funding to develop treatments for diseases including diabetes, sickle cell disease, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors, HIV, and macular degeneration. Examples of the research being funded include research into stem cell "missiles" that attack brain tumors and a novel treatment for diabetes involving implantable sacs of stem cells that make insulin. Others involve treatments for leukemia, stroke and epidermolysis bullosa, a deadly skin-blistering disease.