As part of Neuro Central’s Spotlight on neuroregeneration, they spoke to Helen Budworth, Kent Fitzgerald (both Science Officers) and Kevin McCormack (Senior Director Public Communications & Patient Advocate Outreach) from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Helen Budworth, Kent Fitzgerald (both Science Officers) and Kevin McCormack (Senior Director Public Communications & Patient Advocate Outreach) from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM; CA, USA) talk to Neuro Central about CIRM’s current clinical portfolio and discovery pipeline, the challenges involved in bringing neuroregenerative therapies to the clinic, and where we could be 10 years from now.
Please could you tell us about your backgrounds? How did you both become interested in regenerative medicine?
HB: I completed my studies in the UK with a BSc in Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Liverpool and a DPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford (both UK). My academic background is in the genetics of rare diseases and I studied these using a variety of model organisms including those with remarkable regenerative capabilities such as Planaria. I spent a number of years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (CA, USA) conducting cellular studies of diseases including Huntington’s disease, various ataxias, DNA repair deficiencies and cancers.
KF: Much of my academic and professional career has centered around neurodegenerative diseases. Working in this space in the context of drug discovery and development one becomes painfully aware of the limited therapeutic interventions currently available to those suffering from degenerative diseases. Regenerative medicine is at a critical inflection point where knowledge generated over the past decade-plus is at a point where it can be applied to clinical evaluation. CIRM has been at the forefront of these developments and my previous experience in translational science gives me a chance to help push our funded projects toward clinical application.