Since its launch in 2004, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has been a leader in growing the stem cell and regenerative medicine field while keeping the needs of patients at the core of its mission.
To date, CIRM has:
- Advanced stem cell research and therapy development for more than 75 diseases.
- Funded 76 clinical trials with 3,200+ patients enrolled.
- Helped cure over 40 children of fatal immunological disorders with gene-modified cell therapies.
One of these patients is Ronnie, who just days after being born was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare immune disorder that is often fatal within two years.
Fortunately, doctors told his parents about a CIRM-funded clinical trial conducted by UC San Francisco and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Doctors took some of Ronnie’s own blood stem cells and, in the lab, corrected the genetic mutation that caused the condition. They then gave him a mild dose of chemotherapy to clear space in his bone marrow for the corrected cells to be placed and to grow. Over the next few months, the blood stem cells created a new blood supply and repaired Ronnie’s immune system. He is now a happy, healthy four-year-old boy who loves going to school with other children.
Another patient, Evie Junior, is pioneering the search for a cure for sickle cell disease: a painful, life-threatening condition.
In July of 2020, Evie took part in a CIRM-funded clinical trial where his own blood stem cells were genetically modified to overcome the disease-causing mutation. Those cells were returned to him, and the hope is they’ll create a sickle cell-free blood supply. Evie hasn’t had any crippling bouts of pain or had to go to the hospital since his treatment.
To demonstrate treatment efficacy, study investigators will continue to monitor the recovery of Evie, Ronnie, and others who participate in clinical trials.
CIRM’s new strategic plan seeks to help real life patients like Ronnie and Evie by optimizing its clinical trial funding partnership model to advance more therapies to FDA for approval.
In addition, CIRM will develop ways to overcome manufacturing hurdles for the delivery of regenerative medicine therapies and create Community Care Centers of Excellence that support diverse patient participation in the rapidly maturing regenerative medicine landscape. Stay tuned as we cover these goals here on The Stem Cellar.
To learn more about CIRM’s approach to deliver real world solutions for patients, check out our new 5-year strategic plan.