Looking ahead to the year in stem cell research

What will 2014 bring in stem cell research

 Predicting the future is always a tricky business, particularly for scientists who like to base anything they do on facts and figures and not just speculation. That’s why when it comes to something like the planets astrologers are more comfortable making predictions than astronomers. And when it comes to the world of stem cell science all we can say for sure is that 2014 looks like being a very interesting year indeed.

Here at the stem cell agency we are pretty excited because this year will, hopefully, see at least four projects we are funding be in clinical trials:

  •  Calimmune is already in a Phase 1 trial for its HIV/AIDS therapy.
  •  Capricor just received the go-ahead to start Phase 2 trials for its treatment for heart attack patients.
  • ViaCyte hopes to begin a Phase 1 trial for its treatment for type 1 diabetes. 
  • Don Kohn and his team at UCLA hope to start a trial for sickle cell disease this year. 

These are all projects that we have been supporters of for some time so it’s gratifying to see them moving along the approval pathway. There’s obviously still a long way to go but so many treatments that look promising in their early days never get this far so this is definitely an encouraging start to the year for us.

There’s a lot more coming along as well. We have new funding rounds for Basic Biology, Genomics, Tools and Technologies, Research Leadership, Strategic Partnerships and the Alpha Stem Cell Clinics network.

All these reflect our continued commitment to funding the best science, and the best approaches to bringing that science to those who need it most, the patients.

And then of course there are always those unexpected elements that pop up from time to time that you can’t predict on January 1 such as new discoveries, or research that helps advance the field as a whole.

All we can promise is that we will make sure you are kept informed, throughout the year, of all the big news and anything that we think is worthy of your attention.

One thing we do know for sure. 2014 is not going to be a boring year.

kevin mccormack