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Multimillion-dollar grants for stem cell biobank

25 March 2013

By Dr Shanya Sivakumaran

Appeared in BioNews 698

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in San Francisco, USA, has awarded two multimillion-dollar grants to Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) in Wisconsin and Coriell Institute for Medical Research in New Jersey to generate and bank induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell) lines.

'Access to high fidelity iPS cell lines from a wide range of complex diseases will be an important accelerator of research', said Professor Alan Trounson, president of CIRM. 'This initiative will provide scientists with access to multiple cell lines that should have much of the genetic variations that represent the variety within any human disease'.

'Scientists and companies can use these cells to discover the nature and causes of the underlying human diseases in a way not feasible before', he added.

The $32 million project aims to create 9,000 iPS cell lines from 3,000 donors – three from each person. Eleven diseases will be represented, with tissue coming from people with Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder, cardiovascular, respiratory and liver diseases, and neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.

CDI was awarded $16 million to extract iPS cell lines and $10 million was granted to the Coriell Institute to establish and operate a biorepository for the extracted cell lines. The biobank will be responsible for the maintenance and safe storage of the iPS cells, as well as worldwide distribution to researchers.

Smaller grants for tissue collection were also issued to researchers from Stanford University and a number of institutes at the University of California, with nine different organisations involved in the project all together.

CIRM was set up in 2004 following the passage of Proposition 71, a ballot initiative approved by voters to provide $3 billion (with an annual spend limit of $350 million) to support stem cell research. It's latest initiative aims to generate and ensure the availability of high quality disease-specific human iPS cell resources.

iPS cells were first produced from human cells in 2007 and were the subject of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine awarded to Professor Sir John Gurdon and Professor Shinya Yamanaka (reported in BioNews 676).

Cellular Dynamics International (press release) | 21 March 2013
Coriell Institute for Medical Research (press release) | 21 March 2013
Philadelphia Business Journal | 21 March 2013


15 May 2017 - by Shaoni Bhattacharya 
One of the world's largest sets of human stem cell lines from healthy people was unveiled last week...
16 September 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A Singaporean-based company has become the first company to offer iPS cell banking to the public...

10 December 2012 - by Dr Anna Cauldwell 
A report has drawn attention to the potential for conflict of interest at the agency that allocates state funds to stem cell research in California, USA...
12 November 2012 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo 
The Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council have announced a £12.75 million investment to create a database of induced pluripotent stem) cells....
02 July 2012 - by Ruth Retassie 
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Stem Cell Bank, opened in response to restrictions on the funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in the USA, will close after just four years in existence when it runs out of public funding later this year....
14 February 2011 - by Leo Perfect 
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has opened a stem cell research facility paid for by private and state money approved by Californian voters. As no federal funds were used, researchers can avoid federal funding policy restrictions on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research....
31 August 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in San Francisco has approved a further $243 million to encourage researchers working on stem cell therapies to push forward into the clinical trial phase...

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