What are stem cells, and why are they so important?

Stem cells are the builders and the repairmen of the world’s most complex construction project: the creation of a human body! Thanks to the seven million California voters who voted Yes on Proposition 71, California’s $3 billion stem cell initiative, California’s scientists are already making remarkable progress toward developing stem cell therapies for patients suffering from diseases long considered to be incurable. The road to therapies and cures is long and challenging; however, even the inevitable challenges and setbacks will help to advance our understanding of disease and injury. Find out what stem cells are, where they come from, how they are used in medicine today, and what promise they hold for medicine tomorrow.

Whiteboard: Multiple Sclerosis (Short)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the brain and spinal cord by turning immune cells against the host, but scientists at the University of California, ... read more

Whiteboard: Type 1 Diabetes (Short)

What causes type 1 diabetes (T1D) and why do insulin injections help manage the disease? Watch our video and get the answers to these questions and ... read more

Video: Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the brain and spinal cord by turning immune cells against the host, but scientists at the University of California, ... read more

Quiz: Type 1 Diabetes

Learn the basics of Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic disease affecting more than 1.25 million people in the United States. Take The Quiz

Quiz: Top Myths About Stem Cells

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Quiz: Stem Cells 101

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Quiz: Clinical Trials 101

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VIDEO: How Stem Cell Research Could Cure Sickle Cell Disease

Stem cell therapy offers the most immediate form of hope for people who suffer from sickle cell disease. Through engineered stem cells, all sickle ... read more

VIDEO: How Clinical Trials Work

When you get sick, do you ever wonder where medicines come from? In four minutes, this Clinical Trials 101 Whiteboard will show you how stem cell ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Can Help Degenerative Diseases

Watch our video about how stem cells could help people suffering from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Type 1 Diabetes, or ... read more

VIDEO: What are stem cells and why are they important?

What are stem cells, and why are they so important? Find out what stem cells are, where they come from, how they are used in medicine today, and what ... read more

VIDEO: How SCID was cured

Bubble Boy Disease, also known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), is a genetic, uniformly lethal disease that causes babies to be born ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Could Halt ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a relentless and fatal neurodegenerative disease that damages and ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Could Help Patients With Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) affect approximately 1.2 million people in the United States, with more than 11,000 new injuries per year. Caused by ... read more

VIDEO: How HIV Can Be Treated With Stem Cells

How is stem cell research changing the lives of patients with HIV/AIDS? Find out how stem cell research at City of Hope, USC and Sangamo Biosciences, ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Could Treat Retinitis Pigmentosa

How is stem cell research changing the lives of patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa? Find out how stem cell research at UC Irvine, funded by ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure SCID/Bubble Boy Disease?

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), or “Bubble Boy Disease,” is caused by a genetic mutation that severely weakens the immune system. Stem ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is caused by a genetic mutation that causes the body to produce deformed red blood cells. Stem cell approaches involve ... read more

How can stem cells help treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gherig’s Disease)?

Neural stem cells can be engineered to secrete supportive molecules to the cells that are malfunctioning in ALS. Scientists can use stem cells to ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure Parkinson’s disease?

Scientists are using stem cells from Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients to see if already-discovered drugs might be useful in treating symptoms of ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure Huntington’s disease?

Different kinds of stem cells can be engineered to secrete molecules that are known to reduce some of the symptoms of Huntington’s disease. ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure spinal cord injury?

Scientists are turning human embryonic stem cells into special cells called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that have been shown to support the ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure leukemia?

In leukemia, there is a population of cells, known as leukemia stem cells, that are resistant to treatment that works on other leukemia cells. ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure age-related macular degeneration (AMD, or vision loss)?

Scientists are turning embryonic stem cells into the retinal cells that are malfunctioning and dying in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure HIV/AIDS?

HIV/AIDS weakens the immune system. Stem cell approaches involve removing HIV+ patients’ blood-forming stem cells—which eventually become all the ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure retinitis pigmentosa (blindness)?

Scientists are using stem cells to support and restore the light-sensing cells in the eye that degenerate and die in retinitis pigmentosa (RP). These ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure cancer?

Scientists have recently discovered why solid tumor cancers often come back after treatment, and relapse occurs. Most tumors rely on a small ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) develops when the body’s own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Since T1D patients cannot ... read more

VIDEO: Giving Hope to People with Type 1 Diabetes

Nearly 30 million Americans are affected by some form of diabetes. That means Americans are injecting themselves with insulin more than 11 million ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Could Treat The Blind

Watch our whiteboard video that lays out how stem cell research is potentially improving treatment for people affected by age-related macular ... read more

VIDEO: How Stem Cells Could Help Treat Breast Cancer

How is stem cell research changing the lives of breast cancer patients? Find out how stem cell research at Stanford, funded by California’s ... read more

How can stem cells help treat or cure heart failure?

After a heart attack, many patients are left with scar tissue around the heart. Scientists are using heart stem cells to promote the self-repair of ... read more

Why can’t we just use iPS cells instead of embryonic stem cells, and avoid the controversy?

Discovered in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are still a new research field, and their potential to be used in the same way as ... read more

What is embryonic stem cell research used for?

Embryonic stem cells can become any other kind of cell. In theory, that flexibility means stem cells could be used to replace defective or dying ... read more

Why are stem cells important?

Embryonic stem cells can become any other kind of cell, giving them amazing potential for usage in medical care. In theory, that flexibility means ... read more

Can I trust a clinic offering a stem cell treatment online?

Avoid for-profit "clinics" that have unethically taken advantage of stem cell publicity to charge patients often-exorbitant fees for unproven stem ... read more

How do I join a clinical trial for stem cell research?

If you are exploring possible clinical trials, you should first consult with your doctor, and have them refer you to a medical group that specializes ... read more

Why do we need public funding for stem cell research?

Taking a new drug or therapy from idea to market is incredibly expensive, costing potentially billions of dollars, due to a lengthy and rigorous ... read more

Will President Trump support stem cell research?

In the past, U.S. presidents have used their authority to direct federal funding toward, or away from, embryonic stem cell research. President George ... read more

Is stem cell research the same as cloning?

No. Stem cell research involves only cells, not cloning. The term “cloning” usually conjures the idea of duplicating an organism. This is known ... read more

How do clinical trials with stem cells work?

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical treatment is safe and effective for people. Once potential treatments are ... read more

Why is it taking so long for stem cell research to cure diseases?

Through the research funded by Proposition 71, California’s scientists are making remarkable progress. Already, 38+ human cell-based clinical ... read more

How is stem cell research funded?

In California, stem cell research is funded by $3 billion in public use bonds, approved by voters in November 2004. That ballot initiative created ... read more

What is Proposition 71?

Proposition 71 is California’s landmark $3 billion investment in stem cell research and therapy development. Approved by 7 million Californians and ... read more

Is embryonic stem cell research legal?

Yes. Research using stem cells is legal in the United States. The cells used in research are obtained through the process of in-vitro fertilization ... read more

Where do stem cells come from?

Embryonic stem cells come from donated excess fertilized eggs created for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, tissue that would otherwise be ... read more

What are the different kinds of stem cells?

There are three types of stem cells: adult/tissue stem cells, embryonic (or pluripotent) stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Each ... read more

What is a stem cell?

“Stem cell” is used to describe a wide range of different types of cells that possess similar properties. Stem cells have two defining ... read more

Glossary of Terms: Clinical Trials

Learn the key terms that are important for understanding how clinical trials protect patients and ensure that new medications and treatments are safe ... read more

The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

Research using pluripotent stem cells is legal in the United States. Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 and the U.S. Court ... read more

How Stem Cell Research Is Funded

Proposition 71 created the California stem cell program, formally titled the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). CIRM is funded by ... read more

What are the different kinds of stem cells?

There are three types of stem cells: adult stem cells, embryonic (or pluripotent) stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells ... read more