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On 10th Anniversary of Three Broad-Funded California Stem Cell Research Centers, Broad Foundation Announces $1 Million to Fund Innovative Pilot Research at UCLA, UCSF, USC

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3, 2017–On the 10th anniversary of the three California stem cell research centers funded by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the philanthropists announced today a new $1 million grant to fund innovative pilot stem cell research projects at UCLA, UC San Francisco and USC.

Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad announced the new grant at a symposium at UCLA commemorating the first decade of stem cell research advances at the three centers they funded with an initial $80 million. The convening was attended by several hundred faculty and researchers from the three universities that will be eligible for the new funding.

“Edye and I could not be more pleased with the progress that has been made at these three stem cell centers,” said Eli Broad. “Our goal in funding scientific and medical research is to improve the human condition. Stem cell research and genomic medicine are advancing how diseases are diagnosed, treated and even cured, and we want to encourage that progress to continue.”

Over the past decade, researchers at the three Broad-funded stem cell centers have cured the genetic immune deficiency disease known as Bubble Baby disease and advanced clinical trials to treat sickle cell disease, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, colorectal cancer, HIV/AIDS and restore sight in patients suffering from macular degeneration.

Stem cell discoveries at the three Broad centers are helping treat cancer by regenerating powerful blood cells that kill tumor cells, regenerate bones, which could lead to treatment for millions of people suffering from bone loss, and even research that could reverse aging through transfusions of young blood and prevent obesity by converting energy-storing fat cells into energy-burning fat cells. Research at these centers includes the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, which come from skin cells and can be transformed into any type of cell in the body.

After California voters passed a $3 billion bond measure in 2004 for stem cell research, the Broads invested more than $80 million to create and sustain the three centers. “Because universities couldn’t conduct embryonic stem cell research in facilities that received federal funding, we saw an opportunity for philanthropy to step in and supplement what government was doing,” Broad said. The ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was lifted by President Obama in 2009.

To date, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine—the state’s stem cell agency—has awarded more than $520 million to researchers at the three Broad stem cell centers.

Clinical trials underway at The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA are using stem cells to treat blindness, cancer, specifically melanoma and ovarian cancer, and genetic blood disorders like sickle cell disease.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC has advanced clinical trials to treat colorectal cancer, spinal cord injuries, age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF has advanced research into the Zika virus, liver disease, human muscle regeneration and potential treatments for patients with paralysis or genetic disease like muscular dystrophy.

The new grant is designed to encourage innovative early-stage stem cell research. The eight $125,000 one-year grants totaling $1 million are open to faculty members in any department affiliated with the three Broad-funded stem cell centers at UCLA, UCSF and USC and will be awarded to advance basic or clinical stem cell research by helping scientists generate enough data for an initial proof of concept to then secure larger and longer-term funding by other organizations. Applications will be evaluated by two active investigators from each of the three Broad-funded stem cell research centers and will be awarded by Aug. 1.

The stem cell centers are only part of the Broads’ legacy in revolutionizing scientific and medical research and just a fraction of the more than $800 million of their philanthropic giving to scientific pursuits. The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has changed how science is conducted, creating a truly collaborative approach to research by drawing together nimble multidisciplinary teams from across universities and hospitals and then making those discoveries freely available to all. Genomic advances at the Broad Institute have led to treatments of cancer, schizophrenia, Ebola and dozens more diseases—all in the quest to improve human health.

The Broad Medical Research Program was started by The Broad Foundation in 2001 to encourage research into the cause, treatment and cure of inflammatory bowel disease. The program, which merged with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America in 2013, funds pilot research so that scientists can test their initial ideas and generate preliminary data in order to qualify for larger grants from other organizations. At the time the two programs merged, The Broad Foundation had awarded more than $43 million in grants to scientists and researchers, who went on to receive more than $142 million in new research funding from other organizations.

The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, were established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. They have assets of $3 billion. For more information, visit www.broadfoundation.org.

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