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San Diego Will Play A Role In California’s New Stem Cell Genomics Center

Above: Salk scientists will collaborate on new state-funded stem cell genomics research.

Since the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004, California taxpayers have been pumping billions into stem cell research. Now, a new statewide effort will attempt to marry advancements on stem cells with cutting-edge genetics research.

Aired 1/31/14 on KPBS News.

Since the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004, California taxpayers have been pumping billions into stem cell research. Now, a new statewide effort will attempt to marry the latest in gene research with advancements on stem cells.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has put $40 million behind a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics. The center will be based jointly at Stanford University and the Salk Institute in La Jolla.

Salk genetics researcher Joseph Ecker is one of the principal investigators. He says research is needed to explore safety for future stem cell therapies.

"By looking at these cells we can tell, are they good or bad for stem cell therapy?" he asked rhetorically. "That is, are the genes being expressed right? Do the chromosomes look normal? That is going to be important for patient safety."

Ecker plans to collaborate with many local organizations, including UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, and the gene-sequencing company Illumina.

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