UC San Diego named stem cell ‘alpha clinic’

Posted: October 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

23-Oct-2014

Contact: Scott LaFee slafee@ucsd.edu 619-543-6163 University of California - San Diego @UCSanDiego

In a push to further speed clinical development of emerging stem cell therapies, Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health System was named today one of three new "alpha clinics" by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state's stem cell agency.

The announcement, made at a public meeting in Los Angeles of the CIRM Governing Board, includes an award of $8 million for each of three sites. The other alpha grant recipients are the City of Hope hospital near Los Angeles and University of California, Los Angeles.

"A UC San Diego alpha clinic will provide vital infrastructure for establishing a comprehensive regenerative medicine clinical hub that can support the unusual complexity of first-in-human stem cell-related clinical trials," said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, deputy director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center stem cell program and the alpha clinic grant's principal investigator.

"The designation is essential in much the same manner that comprehensive cancer center status is an assurance of scientific rigor and clinical quality. It will attract patients, funding agencies and study sponsors to participate in, support and accelerate novel stem cell clinical trials and ancillary studies for a range of arduous diseases."

The alpha clinics are intended to create the long-term, networked infrastructure needed to launch and conduct numerous, extensive clinical trials of stem cell-based drugs and therapies in humans, including some developed by independent California-based investigators and companies. These trials are requisite before any new drug or treatment can be approved for clinical use.

The clinics will also emphasize public education to raise awareness and understanding of stem cell science in part to combat "stem cell tourism" and the marketing of unproven, unregulated and potentially dangerous therapies and help establish sustainable business models for future, approved stem cell treatments.

"Everything we do has one simple goal, to accelerate the development of successful treatments for people in need," said C. Randal Mills, PhD, CIRM president and CEO. "Stem cell therapies are a new way of treating disease; instead of managing symptoms, cellular medicine has the power to replace or regenerate damaged tissues and organs. And so we need to explore new and innovative ways of accelerating clinical research with stem cells. That is what we hope these alpha stem cell clinics will accomplish."

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UC San Diego named stem cell 'alpha clinic'

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