$100 million gift launches Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UCSD

November 11, 2013

Scanning elecgtron micrograph (false color) of a human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neuron (credit: Thomas Deerinck, UC San Diego)

Businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The Sanford Center will accelerate development of drugs and cell therapies inspired by and derived from current human stem cell research; establishing, promoting and disseminating clinical trials and patient therapies that will help more quickly transform promise into reality, according to the UCSD statement.

The Sanford Center will integrate operations at four locations: the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and a nearby proposed clinical space, both scheduled to open in 2016; the UC San Diego Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM); and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM).

It will provide essential physical and human resources needed to leverage stem cell research currently being conducted at the Sanford Consortium — an innovative “collaboratory” of San Diego scientists from UC San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology — and other institutions on and around the Torrey Pines mesa, such as the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Since 2006, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency, has awarded UC San Diego scientists more than 60 grants totaling almost $138 million, with millions more given to other area institutions. Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, professor in the Departments of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Neurosciences, director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, and scientific director of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, said funding from CIRM and elsewhere has already helped push some stem cell-based projects into early clinical trials, with more nearing readiness.