USC professor at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles receives $2.5M for stem cell research

Los Angeles, Mar. 16, 2007 The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded $2.5 million to Gay M. Crooks, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and research-scientist at The Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, for research in blood formation from stem cells.

The grant announced today is the latest award made to faculty building USC's new stem cell research program. Crooks' study, titled "Regulated Expansion of Lympho-hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC)," was highly recommended by CIRM for funding.

"The clinical potential of human embryonic stem cells for transplantation will be realized only when we can develop methods to control how mature cells are produced far more effectively than is currently the case," says Crooks. "As a pediatric bone marrow transplant physician, I am keenly aware of the profound clinical problems that my patients face. Matched stem cells from healthy donors are often not available and the immune system recovers poorly after transplantation."

According to Martin Pera, Ph.D., director of USC's Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM), USC stem cell scientists and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles faculty, who hold USC appointments, work closely with each other and in collaboration with Caltech to advance stem cell research. "As part of a unique tri-institutional program, we currently collaborate on a CIRM training program for new stem cell researchers. Additionally, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles faculty serve on the Steering Committee of USC's Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine." Pera is also a professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine.

News of USC's sixth CIRM award announced in recent weeks comes as two more stem cell researchers are headed for the USC campus, continuing the university's a

Contact: Jennifer Chan
University of Southern California

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