City of Hope’s Center for Applied Technology Development recently received $3.7 million from California’s stem cell agency to provide manufacturing and support services for stem cell research at two other major Southern California research institutions.
The grants bring City of Hope’s total from the latest round of funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, to more than $36 million.
|City of Hope will produce cells and engineered viruses to support stem cell research. (Photo ©2007 Philip Channing)|
CIRM announced its grant winners on Oct. 25. The additional funding will support two projects at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and one at the University of Southern California (USC).
The center will produce therapeutic stem cells and genetically engineered viruses for the research projects. It also will usher the potential new therapies from laboratory studies through federal Food and Drug Administration approval.
Larry A. Couture, Ph.D., senior vice president and founding director of the Sylvia R. & Isador A. Deutch Center for Applied Technology Development and director of the Center for Biomedicine & Genetics, cited the center’s manufacturing capabilities and expertise in working with government regulatory agencies as key to supporting the research teams.
“We’re excited and honored to contribute to the efforts of these disease teams,” he said. “This is an exceptional opportunity to move forward with CIRM’s mission and begin advancing potential new therapies for patients.”
According to Couture, the center expects to produce the first batch of stem cells during the second half of 2010. “But we’ll begin producing the virus lots in the first half of the year,” he said.
Couture’s team will support research projects at UCLA that aim to develop stem cell therapies for HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease. The USC project focuses on age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes a loss of clarity in the central field of vision.
In addition to providing support to projects at UCLA and USC, the Center for Applied Technology Development is part of an $18 million CIRM-funded study headed by Karen Aboody, M.D., associate professor in City of Hope’s Department of Neurosciences and Division of Neurosurgery, and a $14.6 million CIRM-funded study led by John A. Zaia, M.D., Aaron D. and Edith Miller Chair in Gene Therapy and chair of the Department of Virology.
Aboody’s project aims to use neural stem cells to deliver anticancer agents directly to tumor cells in patients with glioma, a rare but deadly form of brain cancer. Zaia’s team aims to develop a novel method for giving blood-forming stem cells immunity to the AIDS virus.
CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71 and supports research with embryonic, adult and reprogrammed stem cells with the goal of bringing new medical therapies to the people of California and the world.