January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

California Stem Cell Report

3 min read

There is always plenty of complicated, mixed-bag news on the stem cell and regenerative medicine front so it’s great to highlight when there’s some good news out there. Today’s post includes several such upbeat items. At the bottom I’ve included a list of some recent interesting publications as well. Good news on vision front: jCyte Therapy Deal with Santen Pharmaceutical. David Jensen over at California Stem Cell Report reported on this blockbuster deal for a quarter of a billion dollars. Jensen wrote: “The California …Read More

2 min read

The California Stem Cell Agency, better known by the acronym CIRM, has done a vast amount of good over the past decade and a half, and today it needs your help for the future. CIRM, which stands for the “California Institute for Regenerative Medicine”, has funded a huge array of stem cell and other research projects. The CIRM of today and the future primarily supports clinical trial efforts aimed at finding new treatments and even cures for many serious illnesses. These efforts now even …Read More

3 min read

It’s notable how the FDA now considers gene-editing a kind of regenerative medicine. This means that various gene therapy products in development technically qualify as regenerative therapies. Ever since the agency began its rapidly growing regenerative medicine advanced therapy (RMAT) designation program, we’ve seen an increasing number of gene therapy biotechs and products qualify as RMATs. As a result, the RMAT-qualified gene therapies get to go into a speedier lane of FDA oversight. Today’s post is a mix of recommended reads in the regenerative …Read More

2 min read

I recently started 2 polls on the future of CIRM. The polls are focused on the effort led by Robert Klein to get more funding from the State of California for the stem cell agency. They asked readers about whether Californians will refund CIRM and whether Californians should refund CIRM. Basically, the polls are asking what readers think will happen and what they want to happen in terms of CIRM potentially getting $5 billion more in funding. The results of these non-scientific polls are …Read More

3 min read

We here in California have been fortunate to have our own stem cell and regenerative medicine agency called CIRM, standing for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. How much has CIRM helped the California economy and has it had broader economic impacts outside of California? How will that impact its future? CIRM has been around for more than a dozen years. It was the end result of Proposition 71, which dedicated $3 billion to research funding. CIRM has funded a wide range of research …Read More

4 min read

The four words “California stem cell research” go nicely together and I hope they will continue to resonate in a special way to people around the world in the coming decade. We are at a crossroads for stem cell research in California as the original form of the California Stem Cell Agency (CIRM) winds down. Will CIRM get a new infusion of billions in state funding via a ballot initiative a la Proposition 71 from more than a decade ago? Will CIRM instead find …Read More

1 min read

What new papers and news in the stem cell sphere caught your eye? Here are some recent items that seem notable to me. Diabetes relief in mice by glucose-sensing insulin-secreting human α-cells. This paper reports cellular reprogramming to insulin-producing cells in mice. They reprogrammed α-cells with Pdx1 and MafA proteins. ‘Mitophagy inhibits amyloid-β and tau pathology and reverses cognitive deficits in models of Alzheimer’s disease’ in Nature Neuroscience. Using IPS cells for insights. “What open chromatin features predict pluripotency?” asked and answered by the authors of this review …Read More

2 min read

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, more widely known as CIRM, has accomplished big things over the course of its history of about a decade and sparked a great deal of innovation, but what does the future hold for our stem cell agency? CIRM has a new, respected President and CEO Maria Millan solving one of several challenges, but at present it doesn’t have an established concrete funding stream for when the Proposition 71 funding runs out in a few years. What happens next …Read More

3 min read

The idea of CIRM as a dedicated state stem cell agency was one of the things that got me excited about starting my time as a professor doing research on stem cells in California way back in 2005-2006 on the job hunt. Fast forwarding to today now 11 years later, CIRM is still on the cutting edge, but some major things have changed for California’s stem cell agency and as it looks to its future, the questions and challenges are different too. By analogy, …Read More

2 min read

If you are a true stem cell aficionado, what are the top stem cell websites for you to bookmark and follow on a daily or weekly basis? I wanted to generate a list. So what are my criteria for top 10 stem cell/regenerative medicine websites? It’s got to be regularly updated. It has to be influential. It has to have broad impact including ideally both science and policy. It has to go beyond facts to include opinions and ideas. As important as they may be, …Read More