View Full Version : UCSD stem cell researchers get $5.6 million from state

01-29-2011, 02:05 AM
One of these days, it would be nice to get news that all of this research is going to produce therapies for humans.

JANUARY 27, 2011

Provided by the University of California San Diego
Karl Willert, a cellular and molecular medicine professor at the University of California San Diego, was one of three scientists from the university to receive state grants for stem cell research in the latest round of funding from Proposition 71.

Three scientists at the University of California San Diego received $5.6 million in grants Thursday from California?s taxpayer-funded program to support stem cell research in the state.

The money was among $32.9 million dolled out by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to seven nonprofit institutions and three companies.

The agency has awarded more than $1.1 billion in grants since voters approved Proposition 71 in 2004 to provide a total of $3 billion to researchers looking for ways to turn stem cell experiments in laboratories into therapies for treating and curing diseases.

The latest round of grants raises UCSD?s award total to nearly $83 million.

No other institutes or companies in San Diego County received funding this time around.

At UCSD, a research team headed by Larry Goldstein received $1.8 million to continue developing a way to mass-produce active stem cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, from dormant stem cells found in adult human tissue.

Steady supplies of induced cells will give other researchers a faster and lower-cost way for testing new drugs for disease associated with genetic mutations, such as Alzheimer?s disease, said Goldstein, who directs the university?s stem cell program.

Cellular and molecular medicine professor Karl Willert received $2 million to create genetically modified cell lines from embryonic stem cells that could be used to replace damaged tissue.

Current methods carry the risk of triggering cancerous tumors, Willert said. His work is aimed at eliminating that danger.

A third grant for $1.8 million went to bioengineering professor Shu Chien for his work developing synthetic microenvironments for growing and manipulating stem cells.

keith.darce@uniontrib.com (619) 293-1020 Twitter @keithdarce