Our mission at CIRM is to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs. Over the past ten years, our agency has been tasked with carefully distributing $3 billion dollars of California state tax payer money to the best and brightest scientists in California (and outside too, providing they meet certain requirements). These pioneers are pushing the pace of stem cell research and paving the way for the development of new treatments for patients who desperately need them.
Another way that CIRM is accelerating stem cell treatments is through the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network – a $24 million initiative approved in 2013 to develop the infrastructure to conduct high quality stem cell clinical trials at leading medical centers in California.
There are three clinical teams in the Alpha Clinics Network located at the City of Hope, UC San Diego, and a joint clinic between UC Los Angeles and UC Irvine. These “Regenerative Medicine” clinics were given the name “Alpha” because they are the first of their kind. They bring together the research, clinical and regulatory sides of clinical trials under one roof to streamline the process of getting stem cell therapies to patients.
Currently, over 20 trials are being conducted out of our three Alpha clinics in disease areas including cancer, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID, also called bubble baby disease), spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, and diseases of blindness. The clinics plan to expand their pipelines to include other disease areas.
CIRM Alpha Clinics Updates
With any CIRM initiative, it’s always important to update the public on our progress. Below are a few key updates regarding the clinics in the past year:
New UC San Diego Alpha Clinic Video
Recently, the UC San Diego Alpha clinic released a new video that gives an overview of their clinic and describes their commitment to putting patients first. It’s an eye opening video that is definitely worth checking out.
My favorite quote in the video was by Thomas Kipps, a Clinical Trial Expert in Cancer and Deputy Director of Research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
“Clinical trials involve a very important skill set. You have to first and foremost put the patient first in any clinical trial. I think we cannot ignore the fact that these are human beings that are brave souls that have gone forward. These are the heroes who are going out and forging new territory.”
Alpha Clinics Network Symposium, March 17th 2016
The Alpha Clinics are hosting an annual network symposium this week featuring keynote speakers who’ve made important contributions in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. The day will include basic science presentations, talks on translational research and clinical implementations, and a panel discussion. The symposium will also feature discussions about patient advocacy and how patients and scientists can partner together to improve clinical trials for patients.
If you are interested in learning more about the Alpha Clinics symposium or would like to register for the event, please check out the following links:
Alpha clinics in the news
The Alpha Clinics have been busy this past year! For the latest news on each of our three clinics, check out our Alpha Clinics in the News page.