New Grants Promote Curative Research

May 28, 2013 – CAF has long been a champion of medical research which explores potential curative approaches to thalassemia. The Foundation has been a fierce, proactive advocate with government agencies and private sources on the need for increased funding for gene therapy and other stem cell-based initiatives. Our voice has been one of the loudest in the growing community of supports who see stem cell therapies as a possible breakthrough in the treatment and cure of numerous diseases, including thalassemia.

Recent news from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, shows that this message has gotten through to many people. Last week, CIRM announced a new round of major grants, including:

Eric Ahrens

Eric Ahrens

  • $6.4 million to relocate Eric T. Ahrens, a professor of biological sciences now at Carnegie Mellon University, to the University of California at San Diego. Under the grant, Ahrens will create a Stem Cell Imaging Center to characterize the anatomy, function, and molecular behavior of stem cells. The Center will help other stem cell researchers see how the cells they’re working with react in research and in clinical testing.
  • $6.37 million to Sangamo BioSciences, a biotech firm, to develop a potentially curative approach for thalassemia. The four-year grant provides matching funds for preclinical work that will support an Investigational New Drug (IND) application and a phase 1 clinical trial for a ZFP Therapeutic. The goal of the Therapeutic is to utilize genome-editing technology to raise levels of fetal hemoglobin in red blood cells to a sufficient degree to have a positive clinical effect.

CAF is excited that worthy projects and experts in the field of stem cell research are being supported in this manner by CIRM and looks forward to the knowledge that will be gained by this important work.


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