5 scientists receive stem-cell research grants

Five scientists from the University of California, San Diego and its School of Medicine have been awarded almost $12 million in new grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to conduct stem cell-based research into regenerating spinal cord injuries, repairing gene mutations that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and finding new drugs to treat heart failure and Alzheimer's disease.

The awards mark the third round of funding in CIRM's Early Translational Awards program, which supports projects that are in the initial stages of identifying drugs or cell types that could become disease therapies. More than $69 million in awards were announced yesterday, including funding for first-ever collaboratively funded research projects with China and the federal government of Australia.

"With these new awards, the agency now has 52 projects in 33 diseases at varying stages of working toward clinical trials," said Jonathan Thomas, JD, PhD and CIRM governing board chair. "Californians should take pride in being at the center of this worldwide research leading toward new cures. These projects represent the best of California stem cell science and the best international experts who, together, will bring new therapies for patients."

The five new UC San Diego awards are:

CIRM was established in November 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities.

The May 24 grants bring UC San Diego's total to more than $112 million in CIRM funding since the first awards in 2006.

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5 scientists receive stem-cell research grants

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