California Stem Cell Agency Funds Move First Drug to Clinical Trials
Using a grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a researcher at UC-San Diego has worked with a team to develop an experimental drug for treating a potentially fatal blood disease, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The treatment is the first to reach clinical trials with funding from California's stem cell institute.
Catriona Jamieson, a physician-scientist at UCSD's Moores Cancer Center, said the $642,500 grant from CIRM was essential to the drug's development because it allowed her to build a mouse model of the disease and verify that human stem cells caused it.
The grant and additional money from TargeGen, a San Diego-based biotechnology company, financed work that allowed her to prove the drug could stop the genetic mutation, Jamieson said.
Researchers from Stanford, Harvard and the Mayo Clinic also participated in development of the drug.
The drug moved to clinical trials after only a year of development, which scientists and the head of CIRM attributed to the collaboration of researchers from competing academic institutions and the industry. The process from discovery to clinical trials usually takes five to 10 years, the Union-Tribune reports.
Three people are enrolled in the clinical trial, which began in February. Others with the disease, called myeloproliferative disease, will soon enroll at other clinical trial sites (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/8).