Projects will address Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency and Huntington’s disease.
Two University of California researchers received bridge funding from the state’s stem cell agency totaling $1.2 million.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s governing board Thursday awarded UCLA researcher Sophie Deng almost $700,000 for work in developing a synthetic scaffold to be used in advancing knowledge of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency, a blinding eye disorder, generally caused by damage to the cornea on the surface of the eye.
UC Irvine researcher Leslie Thompson was awarded more than $500,000 to conduct laboratory tests of a potential therapy for Huntington’s disease, a devastating and always fatal brain disorder. Currently there are no effective treatments for Huntington’s.
Deng and Thompson each had previously received funding from CIRM for their efforts.
In other stem cell news, a new stem cell discovery might one day lead to a more streamlined process for obtaining stem cells, which in turn could be used in the development of replacement tissue for failing body parts, according to UC San Francisco scientists who reported the findings in the current edition of Cell.
Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of living organisms. One key seems to be long chains of sugars that dangle from proteins on surfaces of cells. Kamil Godula’s group at UC San Diego has created synthetic molecules that can stand in for the natural sugars, but can be more easily manipulated to direct the process, they report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.