The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded a $2.12 million grant to Stuart Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of Sanford-Burnham’s Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research, to pursue a promising new treatment for stroke. The award was approved by the state agency August 28 at its meeting in La Jolla. Other principal investigators playing critical roles on the grant are Nobuki Nakanishi, Ph.D., and Rajesh Ambasudhan, Ph.D.
Lipton previously received $3 million in CIRM support for research on engineering human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to generate a supply of neurons for brain-repair therapy. The Lipton laboratory has focused on genetic modification of hESCs so that they yield specific kinds of nerve cells, which can replace damaged circuitry in stroke-injured brains, instead of the more common glial cells. The same genetic manipulation also inhibits death of the transplanted cells and blocks proliferation, which can lead to tumor formation. “We think we can use our new technology of programming stem cells with the transcription factor MEF2C,” said Lipton, “to repopulate the brain with functionally active neurons after stroke damage. Hopefully, this will improve patients’ lives one day in the not-too-distant future.”
Lipton was one of four San Diego-area investigators who received a combined $12.7 million from CIRM to accelerate translational research in stem-cell science. The agency approved a total of $40.6 million in research grants statewide.