City of Hope Receives Grants For Stem Cell Lab


Duarte-based City of Hope has been awarded more than $11 million in grants from California’s stem cell institute in recent weeks, including a $5.4 million grant to build and fund a stem cell research laboratory on its flagship campus.

The other grant, for roughly $6 million, is going to a research team at City of Hope that’s targeting pancreatic cancer using a type of immune cells that specifically target tumor or virus-infected cells.

Together, these grants bring the total amount awarded from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, to City of Hope over the past two decades to nearly $220 million.

The $5.4 million grant to create a stem cell research lab was announced May 20. The funds will foster the development of stem cell-based disease modeling at City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute on the Duarte campus. The funds will also set up a team of researchers to educate community physicians, researchers and students on stem cell research.

On the stem cell modeling front, the lab will use human cell-derived organoids to create disease models that can lead to understanding biological mechanisms that can in turn lead to new therapies. In particular, the laboratory will supply healthy and cancerous stem cell-based models in brain, heart and breast tissue to the region’s scientists for research.

This lab will operate in a renovated space that will assemble the latest instruments and technologies to help create the models. About half the $5.4 million will go toward this effort.

The team that will lead the lab’s development and education efforts consists of six City of Hope researchers, led by Nadia Carlesso, chair of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and John Termini, professor of cancer biology and molecular medicine.

There will be a separate 22-person team that will spearhead the community education efforts targeting physicians, researchers and students.

Their aim will be to teach these groups how to use stem cell disease models with the goal of cultivating California’s future workforce in regenerative medicine.

The other grant for $6.04 million is going to a research team led by Lei Tian. The team is targeting patients with pancreatic cancer by using “natural killer cells.”

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