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Program Snapshot

The Common Fund Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) is at a transition point.  With an overarching goal of working through hurdles to the development of iPS cell therapies, the CRM will focus in two ways. First, translational hurdles will be assessed and resolved through the conduct of a translational project led by Dr. Kapil Bharti (described below). Second, cross-cutting challenges will be addressed through partnership with the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). These challenges were considered with input from experts in stem cell translational research via a May 2014 workshop (Read the workshop summary here). After consulting the extramural stem cell research community, NCATS is establishing a new facility. See the “Important Announcement About the Status of NIH CRM” at right for more information.

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Program Highlights

NIH CRM issues a Therapeutic Challenge Award to Dr. Kapil Bharti at the National Eye Institute.
A Therapeutic Challenge award made by the NIH Common Fund and the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine to Dr. Bharti will advance his efforts to develop a cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. The proposed research will use cells taken from adult tissues that are coaxed into behaving as pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of developing into any type of cell in the body. These induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells will be used to generate retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, a critical cell type damaged in AMD, which could potentially be transplanted into patients to restore or improve vision. Learn more about Dr. Bharti’s research here.

Important Announcement About Status of NIH CRM

Phase II of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine: The Common Fund is supporting the cutting edge work of Dr. Kapil Bharti in the National Eye Institute (NEI) to develop induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based therapies for advanced macular degeneration. At the same time, the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has been working with stem cell experts to move translational methods forward via a centralized effort.

NCATS is establishing a new facility that will have three major goals:

  • Establish detailed Quality Control (QC) standards to define differentiated cell types and pluripotency​
  • Develop methods to assess heterogeneity in cultured cells derived from iPSCs
  • Develop standardized methods to produce mature cells meeting the QC standards above

Importantly, scientists at NCATS will engage extramural experts in stem cell biology so that all of these efforts will be carried out in a collaborative manner with leading laboratories in the US and abroad.

Details are being finalized, with launch of the facility expected later this year. Details will be made available on the NIH Common Fund website on this page: http://commonfund.nih.gov/stemcells/index.

Resources developed through Phase I of the Program are also available at: http://commonfund.nih.gov/stemcells/methods and http://commonfund.nih.gov/stemcells/lines.

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