The 10 Most Popular Stem Cellar Stories of 2017

As the New Year fast approaches, it’s time for us to reflect on our accomplishments these past 12 months. 2017 was an exciting and successful year for California’s Stem Cell Agency. We welcomed Dr. Maria Millan as the new President and CEO of CIRM. We also funded 16 new clinical trials and added two new medical centers (UCSF and UC Davis) to our CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network. These are just a few examples of the significant progress that our Agency has made towards accelerating stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs.

As you can imagine, these advances as well as the steady stream of new discoveries in the stem cell field, have kept our communications team very busy. In fact, I took a quick look at how many blogs we published in 2017 and the number is an impressive 242. That translates to blogging about stem cell research 66% of the year! How’s that for dedication?

Todd, Kevin and I love (and I truly mean that) writing for the Stem Cellar. All of the studies, trials, scientists and patients we feature are fascinating, but there are certain stories that steal the spotlight. It’s always fun to see which blogs are the most popular with our readers. So, let’s take a look at the 10 Stem Cellar stories caught your eye in 2017.

  1. Can stem cell therapies help ALS patients?
  2. jCyte gets FDA go-ahead for fast track review process of retinitis pigmentosa stem cell therapy
  3. A stem cell clinical trial for blindness: watch Rosie’s story
  4. Could stem cells help beat multiple sclerosis?
  5. Bye bye bubble baby disease: promising results from the stem cell gene therapy trial for SCID
  6. A clinical trial network focused on stem cell treatments is expanding
  7. Have scientists discovered a natural way to boost muscle regeneration?
  8. Three people left blind by Florida clinic’s unproven stem cell therapy
  9. Good news from Asterias’ CIRM-funded spinal cord injury trial
  10. Scientists make stem cell-derived nerve cells damaged in spinal cord injury

Honorable Mentions (underdog blogs that deserve a second look)

  1. 4 things to know about stem cell clinical trials [Video]
  2. ViaCyte treats first patients in PEC-Direct stem cell trial for type 1 diabetes
  3. Family, faith and funding from CIRM inspire one patient to plan for his future
  4. Texas tries to go it alone in offering unproven stem cell therapies to patients
  5. Has the promise of stem cells been overstated?

See you in January!

From all of us at CIRM, we wish you the happiest of holidays and good luck in the New Year. We’ll see you back here in January with exciting new content from our 2018 Annual Report. Stay tuned and stay curious my friends!

The 10 Most Popular Stem Cellar Stories of 2016

Happy Holidays to our loyal Stem Cellar fans! 🎉

The days between Christmas and New Years are my favorite time of the year. The roads are empty, parking is plentiful and no one is in the office to judge my voracious cookie consumption. It’s also a time for us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in 2016 at CIRM and to revisit the most interesting stories that we’ve blogged about on the Stem Cellar.

We will be publishing our Annual Report on January 2nd, so be sure to check out our blog then for an update on what CIRM has been up to this past year. The report is chock full of inspiring stories about the stem cell research we’re funding, the scientists behind the research, and the brave patients who volunteered to test these stem cell treatments in clinical trials.

As a prelude to our Annual Report, I bring you the Top 10 Most Popular Stem Cellar Blogs of 2016 (in order). These include blogs about CIRM-funded research and our clinical trials as well as other really cool stem cell stories that you may have even read about in the news. Enjoy and see you in the New Year!


  1. New Stem Cell Treatment for ALS May Slow Disease Progression
  2. Young Man With Spinal Cord Injury Regains Use of Hands and Arms After Stem Cell Therapy
  3. Desperate Patients and False Hope: A Troubling Trend for Stem Cell-Based Therapies
  4. A Win for Diabetes: Scientists Make Functional Pancreatic Cells From Skin
  5. Stem Cell Transplant Offers Jake a Glimpse of Hope
  6. Why is a Cell Therapy that Restores Sight to the Blind Against the Law?
  7. Stem cell stories that caught our eye: heart muscle-on-a-chip, your own private microliver, the bloody holy grail and selfish sperm
  8. A New Way to Make Heart Stem Cells Could Potentially Repair Damage of Heart Disease
  9. CIRM-Funded Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Retinitis Pigmentosa Focuses on Next Stage
  10. Patients beware: Warnings About Shady Clinics and Suspect Treatments

Bonus 2016 blogs (A few of my favorites that didn’t quite make the top ten, but I thought were pretty rad):



The 10 Most Popular Stem Cellar Stories of 2015

Each new year is exciting for CIRM because it means we’re one year closer to funding a stem cell therapy that will be approved for the treatment of an unmet medical need.

strategy-wide2015 was especially exciting for us. Under our new president Randy Mills, we launched our accelerated funding process, CIRM 2.0, and received Board approval of our new Strategic Plan for the next five years. We’ve also funded a number of promising clinical trials for diseases and conditions such as blindness, cancer, and spinal cord injury. (For more about the 15 clinical trials we are funding, read our recent blog).

We’ve covered many of these accomplishments in our Stem Cellar blog, but we’ve also written about a plethora of other exciting and game-changing stem cell stories from around the world. It’s always fun at the end of the year to look back and see what were the most popular and impactful stories with our readers.

So here they are, the Top 10 Most Popular Stem Cellar Blogs of 2015 (in order):

  1. CIRM-Funded UC-Irvine Team Set to Launch Stem Cell Trial for Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2015
  1. Three teams empower patients’ immune systems to oust cancer
  1. CIRM-funded clinical trial for spinal cord injury reports promising results
  1. One-Time, Lasting Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease May be on Horizon, According to New CIRM-Funded Study
  1. From Stem Cells to Cures with Shinya Yamanaka and Google Ventures
  1. UCLA team cures infants of often-fatal “bubble baby” disease by inserting gene in their stem cells; sickle cell disease is next target
  1. Cartilage Repair using Embryonic Stem Cells: A Promising Path to Treating Millions of Osteoarthritis Sufferers
  1. Newly Identified Stem Cells Breathe Life into Lung Disease Therapy
  1. Stem Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Back on Track
  1. CIRM fights cancer: $56 million for 5 clinical trials to vanquish tumors for good

From Team Stem Cellar, we want to say a huge Thank You to all our loyal readers and to those who’ve supported our mission to bring stem cell therapies to patients. Have a happy New Year and see you in 2016!!

Welcome to the Stem Cellar

Today, as we here at CIRM move forward under the leadership of a new President, and as CIRM-funded scientists work on transforming their discoveries into therapies, we thought it was the right time for some much-needed improvements to our blog.

We originally launched the blog as a way to share the latest and greatest news, events and insight related to the world of regenerative medicine. And while we’ve published more than 1,000 stories to date, and shared this knowledge with researchers, policymakers, advocates and—most importantly, patients—we wanted to take our blog to the next level.

So we’d like to introduce you to: The Stem Cellar, the official blog of California’s Stem Cell Agency, and it’s new home at

Here you’ll find the same great content you’ve always enjoyed (including our entire archives!), as well as new sections dedicated to News, Events, Ethics & Policy and our ever-popular Weekly Roundup Series “Stem Cell Stories that Caught our Eye.” In the coming weeks and months, we’ll also be adding new sections, including long-form feature stories and enhanced multimedia.

So feel free to look around, stay for a while and let us know what you think in the comments section below. We hope you enjoy what we’ve built as much as we enjoyed making it!