The UCR Stem Cell Center has joined seven regenerative medicine institutes in the Los Angeles region to form a new consortium that will share resources, maximize the impact of state funding, and drive stem cell science from the laboratory to the bedside.
“This consortium presents a wonderful opportunity for stem cell labs at UCR,” said Prue Talbot, a professor of the graduate division and director of the UCR Stem Cell Center. “We had our first annual summit of the consortium this summer at Lake Arrowhead, which was attended by five faculty members from UCR. Leaders from each member campus joined forces to identify ways to improve interaction and collaboration among our campuses and to share resources, such as core facilities, materials, seminars, training, and technology.”
Summit attendees also included leaders of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine or CIRM. Created through a voter-approved ballot measure signed into law in 2004, CIRM distributes funding for regenerative medicine-related studies. Regenerative medicine uses both gene therapy and stem cell technologies to regenerate tissues within the body to potentially treat several incurable diseases.
More than 100 people, including the directors of major stem cell institutions, attended the three-day summit. The group discussed collaborating on stem cell and gene therapy manufacturing programs, educational courses, core services to support the science, scientific innovations, and new regenerative medicine clinical trials.
“At the summit, we had the opportunity to meet many new colleagues, to renew prior acquaintances, and to learn from the CIRM administrators the directions that CIRM would be taking in the future,” Talbot said. “The consortium plans to meet annually at Lake Arrowhead, and this will present a tremendous opportunity for the Southern California stem cell labs to accelerate research and move more rapidly to therapies.”
Stephanie Cajigal, senior communications specialist at Cedars-Sinai, contributed to this article.