This weekend CIRM hosted an educational event in Bakersfield to update people on the progress being made by CIRM grantees. The event featured a keynote address by board chair Jonathan Thomas plus talks by grantees working on age-related diseases including blindness.
Although CIRM holds board meetings throughout California, this is the first time people in Bakersfield have had a chance to hear directly from CIRM. If media attention in advance of the meeting is anything to judge by, the local community was excited about hosting us. The local radio station KERN spoke with CIRM patient advocate coordinator Chris Stiehl, who helped organize the event. You can listen to that interview here.
Among other things, Stiehl discussed the Geron spinal cord injury trial as one sign that the field of stem cell research is progressing.
“Geron Corporation is doing clinical trials with stem cells on people with spinal cord injuries. That’s amazing. We never had anything for those people except wheelchairs and someday they may get out of their wheelchairs because of this.”
The Bakerfield Californian also had a nice piece announcing the event.
As with all CIRM patient advocacy events, if you can’t make the event you can follow the discussion on Twitter either by watching the stem cell conversation on #stemcells or by following the event’s hash tag, which is listed on the agenda on the CIRM web site. There’s another event coming up October 29 in Santa Rosa, which you can follow at #CIRMSantaRosa.
These types of public events featuring CIRM scientists and patient advocates are going to be ongoing throughout the state as a way of making sure the people of California get a chance to learn about progress being made by the institute.