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$15 Million Grant Awarded for Human Organ Regeneration

Three San Diego research centers have received a $15 million grant to train the next generation of regenerative medicine specialists. 

Regenerative medicine is an emerging field that is focused on replacing tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or aging as opposed to more conventional medicine that focuses primarily on treating the symptoms of the disease.

The multi-million dollar grants which came from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) were bestowed upon Sanford Burnham Prebys, Scripps Research, and University of California San Diego, with each receiving grants of around $5 million from CIRM to support the training of graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and clinical trainees. 

Sanford Burnham Prebys received $4,931,353 to launch a multidisciplinary stem cell training program. The grant will provide funds for competitive awards for Ph.D. students, postdocs, and clinical fellows in stem cell, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine fields at the institute. The training program will be led by Evan Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, as well as professors/directors Pier Lorenzo Puri, M.D. and Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program Center at Sanford Burnham Prebys.

Sacco says stem cell research holds tremendous promise for medical treatments and that CIRM’s support will allow scientists to learn more about the process through which science becomes medicine.

“We are exceptionally grateful that CIRM is supporting this important program,” says Sacco. “This award helps the next generation of stem cell and regenerative medicine scientists who will work across boundaries and between disciplines to become capable of translating basic discovery science into clinical research for patient benefit.”

The CIRM awards will also foster interdisciplinary regenerative medicine collaborations among the three San Diego recipient institutions and support outreach science activities in the broader San Diego community. The funding also will support educational programs for K-12 students and undergraduates on topics related to regenerative medicine that are intended to reduce disparities and disproportionate access to science.

“CIRM has provided critical leadership spearheading regenerative medicine and stem cell research,” says Peter Schultz, president, and CEO of Scripps Research. “This forward-looking investment in training the next generation of scientists will help ensure continued progress toward realizing the tremendous promise of regenerative medicine.”

This year’s awards build on an earlier Research Training program through which CIRM supported training in regenerative medicines from 2006-2016 and trained 940 “CIRM Scholars,” including 321 doctoral students, 453 postdocs, and 166 MDs.

“CIRM has provided critical leadership spearheading regenerative medicine and stem cell research,” says Peter Schultz, president, and CEO of Scripps Research. “This forward-looking investment in training the next generation of scientists will help ensure continued progress toward realizing the tremendous promise of regenerative medicine.”

According to a press release announcing the grants, CIRM’s mission is “to serve the people of California by accelerating stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs and act with a sense of urgency to succeed in that mission. To meet this challenge, our team of highly trained and experienced professionals actively partners with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast track the development of today’s most promising stem cell technologies.”

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