Stem cell projects underway

* A team from City of Hope in Duarte plans to genetically modify the blood-forming stem cells of AIDS patients so that they can rebuild their immune systems with new T cells that aren’t susceptible to HIV.

* Researchers from USC and UC Santa Barbara are growing human embryonic stem cells into retinal pigment epithelium cells that can replace damaged eye cells in patients with age-related macular degeneration.

* Stanford University scientists would like to treat patients with a genetic skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa by reprogramming their skin cells and fixing the defect.

* A team at Novocell Inc. in San Diego and UC San Francisco has grown insulin-producing beta cells from human embryonic stem cells and wants to transplant them into patients with Type 1 diabetes, who aren’t able to make their own insulin.


* Scientists from UCLA, USC and Stanford are developing drugs to target the harmful stem cells that drive the growth of tumors in brain, colon and ovarian cancer.

* A group from UCLA and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles aims to cure people with sickle cell disease by modifying their blood-forming stem cells so that they produce red blood cells that are healthy and round instead of curved.

* Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles plan to inject heart-attack patients with concentrated amounts of their own cardiac stem cells, which naturally repair heart tissue.

Source: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine