$40 million for new awards to target cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease Huntington’s disease and more

Retinal cells like these could lead to new therapies for blindness, one of the diseases targeted by our new Early Translation Awards

Yesterday our Governing Board approved funding for 13 new Early Translation Awards worth more than $40 million.

These awards fund a stage of research that comes after a scientist comes across a good idea for a new therapy (a cell type that could replace tissue damaged in a disease,  for example, or a drug found through testing on stem cells) and before the scientist has good evidence that the idea will work. As our president Alan Trounson said in our press release:

“The strategies are focused on problems where we think there is a very reasonable chance that they will evolve into clinical studies for treating some of the worst diseases we have in the community.”

This is our fourth round of funding for the Early Translation Awards. You can see the complete list of recipients on our website. The awards in this round focus on prostate cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, bone fracture, blindness, Huntington’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), autism, stroke, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and metabolic disorders–all disabling diseases without adequate cures.

These newly funded awards are part of what we call our funding portfolio–those awards that are funding projects on their way to the clinic for a particular disease, or are starting clinical trials. You can see a complete list of those awards, along with the disease focus, on our website.

Many scientists who receive our Early Translation Awards first got their idea for a therapy while carrying out research with one of our other awards. In fact, eight of the scientists in this round of funding had previous CIRM funding for an earlier stage of research. If a scientist’s Early Translation award provides good results, the scientists are then able to apply for one of our Disease Team awards, which fund the effort of compiling data to convince the Food and Drug Administration to allow them to test it in people.  Other organizations fund only early discovery research, or only preclinical research. Under those conditions, researchers continually pause their projects to look for new sources of funding as the project moves through the phases toward clinical trial.

We have information on our website about the very long process of testing a good idea (the Early Translation awards), building a team to compile data prior to clinical trials (Disease Team), and then running clinical trials (Disease Team and Strategic Partnership Awards).

Congratulations and good luck to those new award recipients.

Amy Adams

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