USC receives first round of stem cell training funds

Los Angeles, Calif., Monday, April 10, 2006The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California received funds to begin a three-year, $3.16 million stem cell training grant as part of the first round of grants awarded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

The training grants were announced in September of 2005 but funding was not made available until last week. CIRM announced this morning that it has raised enough money to fund the first year of the program with future funding expected once ongoing litigation has been settled.

Funding for the grants came from six California philanthropic organizations, which purchased $14 million of Bond Anticipation Notes to fund the training grants awarded last year. The Keck School of Medicinein combination with USC-affiliated Childrens Hospital Los Angeles received the largest portion of the new funds, totaling $1.38 million.

The Keck School's grant was called "very thoughtful" by CIRM's Research Funding Working Group and was one of several grants announced last September by the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee, or ICOC, the group charged with governing CIRM and the way in which it disperses the $3 billion in funding provided it by the passage of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative in November, 2004.

"This is an important step forward," said Robert N. Klein, chairman of the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee. "Stem cell research may lead to cures and therapies for a host of chronic conditions. Without the support of private investors, our progress would slow. We cannot afford to lose more time. Thanks to the leadership of these foundations, we won't."

"The timing of these funds becoming available is so important to us here at USC, as our newly recruited stem cell program director arrives to begin building a comprehensive and interdisciplinary center for stem cell and regenerative medicine," said Brian E. Henders

Contact: Jon Weiner
University of Southern California

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