October 28, 2009 – UCLA’s Kim Irwin reports that three scientists with the Broad Stem Cell Research Center at UCLA were awarded grants totaling $49.2 million to take leading-edge stem cell science from the laboratory and translate it into new therapies for such devastating diseases as sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, and brain, ovarian and colorectal cancers.
The four-year grants are part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s (CIRM) Disease Team Initiative, which seeks to explore new ways of integrating and organizing research with the aim of developing new therapies and diagnostic tools. As part of the approval process, disease teams must submit an investigational new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within four years, fast-tracking stem cell-related drug development.
The UCLA disease team projects include collaborations with other prominent stem cell institutions and industry, and in the case of the cancer disease team grant, a partnership with a Canadian research consortium. The Canadian government is matching the CIRM grant, bringing the total for the UCLA–Canada cancer disease team research project to nearly $40 million.