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UC San Diego Scientists Net $12 Million For Stem Cell Research

Five UC San Diego scientists have received almost $12 million combined from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to pay for stem cell-based research, the university announced today.

A team led by Lawrence Goldstein, of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, was given $1.8 million to continue looking for new methods to find and test possible medications for Alzheimer's disease, according to UCSD. They use reprogrammed stem cells in their work.

Dr. Mark Tuszynski, professor of neurosciences and director of the Center for Neural Repair, received $4.6 million to develop more potent stem cell-based treatments for spinal cord injuries.

Gene Yeo, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $1.6 million to continue research into treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His research hopes to take advantage of recent discoveries about ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which center on mutations in RNA-binding proteins that cause dysfunction and death in neurons.

Dr. Eric David Adler, an associate clinical professor of medicine and cardiologist, was granted $1.7 million to screen potential drugs for Danon disease, a type of inherited heart failure that frequently kills patients by their 20s.

Yang Xu, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences, was given $1.8 million to research the use of human embryonic stem cells to produce a renewable source of heart muscle cells that replace cells damaged or destroyed by disease, while overcoming biological resistance to new cells.

"With these new awards, the (institute) now has 52 projects in 33 diseases at varying stages of working toward clinical trials,'' said Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the CIRM governing board. "Californians should take pride in being at the center of this worldwide research leading toward new cures.''

CIRM was established in November 2004 with voter passage of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. UC San Diego has received $112 million since CIRM began providing grants six years ago.

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