UCSF Stem Cell Studies to Focus on Muscular Dystrophy, Heart Disease, Cancer

by Jennifer O'Brien ,  | 2011-05-06

Three UCSF scientists have received grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to advance their investigations of treatment strategies for degenerative muscle diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, and heart disease, and to determine why human embryonic stem cells are susceptible to forming tumors.

The grants, totaling nearly $4.2 million, were awarded to Harold Bernstein, MD, PhD, UCSF professor of pediatrics and a member of the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute; John Murnane, PhD, a professor of radiation oncology and a member of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Deepak Srivastava, MD, professor of pediatrics and biochemistry and biophysics and director of the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.

The grants are among 27 Basic Biology III Awards worth $37.7 million awarded on May 4 by the CIRM governing board for studies in stem cell biology and disease origins.

The grants were awarded against the backdrop of CIRM’s decision to help fund the first Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial based on cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The grant, to Geron Corp of Menlo Park, will support the biopharmaceutical company’s on-going early phase trial for people with spinal cord injury.

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