On the heels of last weeks announcement by the ISRT in the U.K. to fund two progressive translational chronic SCI research projects seen at Working 2 walk 2012 in California, comes an announcement this week from CDRF. Peter Wilderotter, CEO of the Reeve Foundation announced the Foundation is redirecting resources to one that may be translational. The Board of Directors decided to add the Anderson Lab of Irvine California to their annual funding because a shift to a patient-oriented project is logical progress with a potentially promising intervention. Dr. Anderson reported her labs progress at Working 2 Walk 2012 HERE. She had talked about how to bridge the junction between basic neuroscience and identifying translational strategies in SCI that will promote recovery of function for those living with paralysis.
Overall, the focus on translational strategies for chronic spinal cord injury have attracted increased funding for the progressive SCI research labs capable of working in an advanced area of expertise. The most cost-effective research imaginable are translational studies for recovery and restoration when the benefits are weighed with lifetime healthcare cost savings. Many basic science projects are being discarded due to lack of funding from the usual government sources in tight economies and an obvious lackluster interest from weary philanthropic supporters where little meaningful progress is made.
In a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) grant worth $1,358,405.00 the Anderson Lab will work on the Role of the microenvironment in human iPS and fetal-derived NSC fate and tumorigenesis. It can be found HERE.
In addition, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) had approved an award to StemCells, Inc. and its collaborators for up to $20 million under CIRM’s Disease Team Therapy Development Award program (RFA 10-05). It can be viewed HERE. The award is to fund preclinical development of StemCells’ proprietary HuCNS-SC® product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) as a potential treatment for cervical spinal cord injury. The CIRM award will provide funding over a maximum four-year period, with the goal of filing an investigational new drug (IND) application to begin clinical testing in that time. This $20,000,000. funding from CIRM allows the opportunity to expand testing of their cells for cervical spinal cord injury, the most common form of spinal cord injury.”
Two years ago, in December 2010, StemCells Inc. received authorization from Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency for therapeutic products, to initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial of HuCNS-SC cells in chronic spinal cord injury. The trial initiated 20 months ago and is currently open for enrollment. StemCells Inc. had provided their cells to the Anderson lab to be tested in the injury model at RIRC.
Dr. Stephen Huhn reported on the latest progress of the human clinical trial at the Working 2 Walk 2012 Symposium HERE. The human trial will hit the second year anniversary mark in March.