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Scripps Researchers Receive $3.5M CIRM Grant for Stem Cell Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Two researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have received $1.75 million awards each to conduct stem cell research, the institute said on Thursday.

The grants come from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Under one award, Kristin Baldwin and her colleagues will use whole-genome sequencing to create methods of identifying potentially cancer-causing or other detrimental mutations in induced pluripotent stem cells. The researchers will examine the source and scope of such mutations.

"Results of these studies will establish the relative safety of current methods to produce patient-matched reprogrammed cells and help to improve methods to speed the translation of these advances into therapies," said Baldwin, an assistant professor at the institute, in a statement.

An award was also given to Joel Gottesfeld, a professor at the institute. He and his collaborator, Jeanne Loring, also a professor at Scripps, will use induced pluripotent stem cells to conduct research into a group of genetic diseases, including Huntington's disease, spinocerebella ataxias, Myotonic Dystrophy, Friedreich's ataxia, and Fragile X syndrome. Gottesfeld and Loring will explore the molecular basis of the expansion/instability of triple repeats that they have observed in Friedreich's ataxia.

Triple repeat occurs when sequences of three nucleotides in a person's genetic code are abnormally repeated.

"A fuller understanding of how repeats expand may lead to new drugs to treat these diseases," Gottesfeld said.

The grants are part of CIRM's recent round of funding, which included $37.7 million for basic biology awards to support research that leads to new findings in stem cell biology and disease origins.