CIRM opens Accelerating Center for stem cell therapies

Written by RegMedNet

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM; CA, US) has opened an Accelerating Center to provide support for stem cell-based researchers to accelerate their studies through to clinical trials.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM; CA, USA), an institute with approximately 300 active stem cell programs to their name, has recently approved US$15 million funding to create a stem cell Accelerating Center. The Center, created in partnership with Quintiles Transnational Inc. (NC, USA), aims to provide stem cell-based projects with regulatory, clinical trial and data management services, to result in the acceleration of clinical development of stem cell treatments.

“Many scientists are brilliant researchers but have little experience or expertise in navigating the regulatory process; this Accelerating Center means they don’t have to develop those skills, we provide them for them,” commented Randal Mills, President and CEO of CIRM. “This partnership with Quintiles means that CIRM projects will not only be accelerated, but that CIRM will also realize a reasonable financial return on this investment.”

Importantly, the new Center will allow scientists to focus their attention on stem cell therapy research, rather than the regulatory processes that govern it. The Accelerating Center is one of several new programs initiated as part of CIRM 2.0, multidisciplinary project that aims to reduce the taken to advance stem cell research to new therapies.

Alongside the Accelerating Center, CIRM 2.0 has also launched a Discovery program to support new stem cell technologies and overcome challenges in this field and a Translational program to accelerate the necessary preclinical work. They have also launched the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinic Network, a series of clinics specializing in stem cell trials.

Through these funding programs, it is hoped that clinical trial funding processing time will be reduced from 2 years to approximately 4 months, thus enabling novel stem cell treatments to reach patients sooner. For example, CIRM has invested US$24 million into a project that aims to develop a new limbal stem cell treatment to repair corneal damage, which can cause blindness.

The creation of the Acceleration Center means that new regenerative therapies may become a reality for patients sooner than they do at present. In addition to the expected benefit to researchers and patients, CIRM are estimated to see a return of US$12.5 million from their investment, which will provide them with the ability reinvest in further stem cell-based research.

— Written by Bryony Adams-Heighway