Advocates’ faces set the tone for CIRM’s public symposium

Don Reed, whose son has a spinal cord injury, speaks with CIRM chairman Jonathan Thomas at the public symposium

We used the words “progress and promise” in the title for our public event last week, but from the looks on the faces of the patient advocates as they registered and entered the ballroom we should have included “hope and enthusiasm.”

Twenty CIRM-funded researchers had agreed to mingle with our guests around posters describing our projects closest to the clinic. When I would tell arriving guests that they could just walk up to these researchers and ask them anything, I frequently got wide-eyed expressions of surprise, followed by more enthusiasm. They clearly were not accustomed to such ready access to the scientists trying to get stem cells into the clinic.

CIRM board member Francisco Prieto spoke about the role patient advocates can play in accelerating disease research. He was also on hand to answer questions about CIRM and about Diabetes therapies

While the audience seemed engaged with the four brief formal presentations, several stayed long after the scheduled ending time for another opportunity to talk one-on-one with someone getting the job done—moving stem cells toward therapies for patients.

D.G.

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