Maria Millan, formerly holding the position on an interim basis, has now been officially announced as the President and CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), replacing former President Randal Mills following his departure from the agency in June 2017.
Millan joined CIRM in 2012 and previously held the position of Vice President of Therapeutics at CIRM. Maria had a key involvement in developing the institute’s infrastructure programs including the Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network and the agency’s Strategic Plan and has facilitated the agency funding of 23 new clinical trials since the start of 2016.
“I joined the CIRM team because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of patients,” stated Millan. “They are the reason why CIRM exists and why we fund stem cell research. I am humbled and very honored to be CIRM’s President and look forward to further implementing our agency’s Strategic Plan in the coming years.”
This appointment followed a decision from the CIRM governing board, which also voted in favour of allocating US $16 million to fund two new Alpha Stem Cell Clinics in Northern California (USA) that will conduct high quality stem cell trials across various diseases. Since launching the first Alpha Clinics at UC San Diego (CA, USA) in 2014, the network of clinics has carried out 40 clinical trials across 18 diseases, involving over 200 patients.
“The Alpha Clinics are a one-of-a-kind network that gives patients access to the highest quality stem cell trials for a breadth of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and spinal cord injury,” explained Abla Creasey, Senior Director of Strategic Clinical, Regulatory, and Infrastructure Programs (CIRM, USA). “Expanding our network will allow more patients to participate in stem cell trials and will advance the development of stem cell treatments that could help or possibly cure patients.”
The CIRM board also announced the approval of US $58.8 million in funding for five new clinical trials which will study potential treatments for a variety of diseases and conditions, namely malignant glioma, acute myeloid leukemic, neutropenia, high-risk type 1 diabetes and kidney disease. Additional information on the funded clinical trials can be found here.
CIRM’s US $5.2 million funding of a late-stage preclinical trial studying genome editing technology for the potential treatment sickle cell disease was also approved.