California embryonic stem cell dollars: beyond the embryonic phase

According to the newest Request For Applications (RFA) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the New Cell Line Awards will support two categories of research:

Category 1: Derivation of new hESC lines using excess or rejected early stage human
embryos generated by in vitro fertilization.

Category 2: Derivation of pluripotent human stem cell lines from other sources using
alternative methods such as (but not limited to) SCNT or reprogramming of neonatal or
adult cells (iPS cells).

The real news is encoded in category 2: from now on even adult stem cell research can be backed by California Embryonic Stem Cell Dollars. The same idea in another form in the text:

• disease-specific or otherwise genetically diverse, pluripotent stem cell lines to support
studying the effects of genetic variation on disease mechanism and response to
treatment, and the discovery and evaluation of new drug candidates
• the discovery and implementation of alternative methods for generating pluripotent
human stem cells, including technology leading to the generation of patient-matched or
disease-specific cell lines

What research trend is behind? The generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The successful reprogramming of differentiated human somatic cells into a pluripotent, embryonic stem (ES) cell-like state that would allow creation of patient- and disease-specific stem cells instead of using controversial embryonic stem cells was recently reported by 2 groups of researchers: the Yamanaka and the Thomson lab.

Under this RFA, CIRM intends to commit up to $25 million to support up to 16 awards,
eight (8) in each of the two categories of research. CIRM proposes to fund each award
for up to three (3) years for direct project costs of up to $300,000 per year.

Other side of the story in California Stem Cell Report: California’s Widening Stem Cell Net

News Source: California State Panel Will Fund Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research