Even though the Diabetes Center has already received significant funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for our stem cell research, it was exciting that our expertise in immune tolerance research was recognized and supported through two awards approved by CIRM’s Governing Board on June 22nd.
Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, the Robert B. Friend and Michelle M. Friend Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research, received just over $1.3 million to study stem cell differentiation to thymic epithelium for inducing tolerance to stem cells. In addition, Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and the AW and Mary Clausen Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, received almost $1.2 million to study stem cell tolerance through the use of engineered antigen-specific regulatory T cells.
The CIRM Governing Board chose to invest in immune tolerance research efforts to help overcome the potential of stem cell transplantation rejection. As CIRM funded researchers become successful in transplanting cells derived from stem cells, it is important that these cells are protected and not rejected by the immune system.
Center Director Matthias Hebrok, PhD, the Hurlbut-Johnson Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Research , is serving as Co-Principal Investigator for both funded research grants, an example of how Diabetes Center stem cell researchers interact and collaborate with Diabetes Center immunologists to attack the disease from multiple fronts.