Interviewing the CSO of CIRM

Over at Nature, an interview with the new chief science officer of the California Insitute for Regenerative Medicine: "I really think that we're getting awfully close to working with patients now. We will never institutionally neglect basic science, but the shift to translational work is definitely now a priority ... The unknown is that we have no control over the cells once they're transplanted or transfused. I feel very strongly that the animal models of disease do not reflect the heterogeneity of the environments into which we will be putting the cells in diseased humans. Pharmacologically induced Parkinson's disease is not the same as the natural human disease, for example. ... The immunogenicity issue of the transferred cells is far from solved. People are also concerned about tumorigenesis, and there's been a lot of in vitro progress in addressing that. ... I think people underestimate how expensive this research is. Yes, it's a lot of money, but it's certainly not unlimited. We have to figure out a way to be involved in clinical trials, and how best to use our resources in clinical trials. ... We've got to make concrete decisions, at least as far as phase I trials, in the next couple of months."



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