Should Californians give more money for stem cell research?
The first event in a statewide outreach tour by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, is taking place at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine on April 20.

The agency is projected to run out of money in 2020 unless more money is raised from public or private sources, and the series of outreach forums is partly meant as a way to persuade voters to further support the institute with more funding.

Four clinical trials are taking place at UC San Diego’s alpha stem cell clinic, said Larry Goldstein, PhD. director of the university’s stem cell program.
Why diminishing the role of science hurts all of us
Science is a process, a way of finding things out, not a collection of results. Science is how we obtain new knowledge — and re-check what we think we know already. Scientists are more competitive than you might think. Few things are as exhilarating as understanding something new about the world before anybody else — or disproving something that was thought to be true. This is part of how science self-corrects. If the evidence is weak or the conclusion is wrong, another scientist will delight in correcting it.

by Bruce Hamilton, PhD
Frontline Cancer: Center for Novel Therapeutics to open in 2019 on UCSD campus
Immense collaborative thinking driving cancer research is behind the new Center for Novel Therapeutics (CNT), which officially broke ground Tuesday, April 11 and will open for business in 2019. Located just east of Moores Cancer Center (MCC) at UC San Diego Health on the east campus, the CNT would be a 135,000-square-foot home to MCC and UC San Diego School of Medicine scientists and physicians and perhaps dozens of local research organizations and biotech companies focused on finding new treatments and cures for cancer and related chronic diseases.

It is largely the brainchild of two MCC physician-scientists who have steadfastly pursued and developed this dream over many years: Dennis Carson, M.D., who was MCC director from 2003 to 2011 and who still runs a lab, and Thomas Kipps, M.D., who served as interim director until my arrival in 2012 and who is currently deputy director for research and a Distinguished Professor of Medicine.

Both men have made their mark in cancer research and drug discovery.

"We don't often say 'cure' in cancer, but Dennis has accomplished that for people suffering from hairy cell leukemia," Jack Dixon, PhD., professor of pharmacology, cellular and molecular medicine, chemistry and biochemistry and himself an internationally recognized scientist once said.
With tweaks, brains in a dish may yield clear clues to autism
The human brain is perhaps the most complex system in the universe. It can orchestrate sophisticated behaviors and thoughts, such as language, tool use, self-awareness, symbolic thought, consciousness and cultural learning. From intricate networks in the brain emerge extraordinary technological and artistic masterpieces.

But sophistication comes at a high price. Subtle alterations in the intricate dance of early development can lead to conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. To find clues to these alterations, my research team and I have adapted my old approach to toys: We are working to fine-tune an intricate model of the brain in a dish, built from stem cells that can mature into brain cells.

By Alysson Muotri, PhD
A boy who was born with an inherited disease had an incredible recovery that could signal a new generation of drugs
Inside our cells, the genes in our DNA code are translated into copies made of RNA. These copies, in turn, float into the cell body, where they serve as the information template from which proteins are manufactured. Most drugstore pills act directly on proteins. Gene therapy, meanwhile, seeks to replace DNA instructions with new ones.

New drugs seek to do instead use RNA to block, modify, or add to, the existing RNA messages in a cell. “Right now, RNA therapeutics—that’s the future of medicine,” says Steven Dowdy, PhD of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
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