Since the passage of Proposition 71, California’s $3 billion public investment in stem cell research has led to remarkable Milestones of Progress in stem cell research and therapy development. Thanks to funding from Prop 71, and the State public funding corporation it created, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), there are now 30 human clinical trials in progress, completed or projected to begin within the next 6 months, including trials for Type 1 diabetes, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Breast Cancer, Spinal Cord Injury, Heart Failure, and many others.
Patients enrolled in these clinical trials are already benefiting from stem cell therapies; in some cases, lives have been saved. These early results, while promising, must be refined and tested; however, each of these 30 trials represents a critical milestone of progress in a revolutionary era of medical research. Moreover, behind these human clinical trials, Prop 71/CIRM funding has supported more than 2,240 peer-reviewed, published discoveries. These findings will support a broad pipeline of therapeutic candidates for subsequent rounds of human trials.
These 30 CIRM-funded human clinical trials are crucial tests during the development of experimental therapies. These trials are key to bringing safe and effective therapies to the many patients who continue to struggle with debilitating chronic diseases and injuries. We must remember that human clinical trials will celebrate successes, but, barriers will surface, along with complications and challenges, so patience and understanding of the scientific discovery process are essential. Even setbacks and/or failures will provide answers that will lead California’s scientists and clinician-scientists closer to curing and/or mitigating chronic diseases and injuries.
Rosie Barrera, Retinitis Pigmentosa patient and participant in Prop 71-funded clinical trial at UC Irvine, led by Dr. Henry Klassen.
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