The tissue that lines the intestines — called the epithelium — acts as an important gatekeeper for the gastrointestinal system, helping both to guard against disease and to take in vital nutrients. This epithelium is characterized by continual cellular turnover, replaced via stem and progenitor cells. These stem cells, influenced by surrounding cells (the niche) and secreted factors, produce the multiple cell types required to replenish a healthy epithelium. In the case of intestinal disease or injury (e.g. radiation, chemotherapy), the mechanism to self-renew cells of the epithelium may be altered or suppressed causing inflammation, damage and nutritional impairment. The isolation, characterization and understanding of these intestinal stem cells are the keys to providing therapy to myriad intestinal ailments.
The ultimate vision of the Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium (ISCC) is to develop new treatments that regenerate and rebuild impaired human intestine by targeting intestinal stem cells and their niche. The consortium’s mission is to advance the understanding of intestinal epithelial stem cell biology across a range of states — through development, homeostasis, regeneration and disease.
Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2009 and renewed in 2014, the team-science initiative currently supports research projects at nine institutions across the U.S.:
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Columbia University
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Stanford University
  • Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  • University of California Los Angeles
         (partnered with the VA Greater Los Angeles)
  • University of California San Francisco
  • University of Michigan
Note: Previously funded Consortium institutions (2009 – 2014) were: Oregon Health & Science University, Stanford University, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine (partnered with the VA Greater Los Angeles), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh, and coordinated by City of Hope.  
The Coordinating Center for the ISCC is housed in City of Hope’s Department of Diabetes & Cancer Discovery Science under the leadership of Joyce Niland, Ph.D., holder of the Estelle & Edward Alexander Chair in Information Sciences.

Our Role

As the ISCC Coordinating Center, we develop, share, and organize scientific and administrative resources to accelerate intestinal stem cell research. These resources include biomaterials, datasets, reagents, methods, protocol expertise and information. 

Our Impact

ISCC-funded research since 2018:
  • The current generation of ISCC investigators (‘Gen 2’, funded in 2014) engages 99 individuals including principal and co-investigators, laboratory personnel, external consultants, National Institutes of Health and CC staff.
  • Since the inception of ISCC Gen 2, the investigators have published 105 peer-reviewed manuscripts, in collaboration with 493 co-authoring scientists, further expanding the reach and interactions of the ISCC (with 158 publications since initial ISCC funding in 2009).
  • Consortium members have participated in 133 teleconferences and in person meetings, critical to advance the team science being conducted through this consortium.
  • In the first 3.5 years of Gen 2, the scientists have already developed and shared 18 unique resources, including cell lines, mouse strains, technologies, viruses and vectors, 23 protocols, and nine rich datasets featuring ISCC-related results through numerous collaborations. 
  • The CC budget has supported the discounted, bulk purchase of $137,000 of lot-specific reagents for participating centers, critical to standardizing the high quality research.

For Investigators