This Hit Man Could Be a Lifesaver for those with Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Leukemia is a deadly serial killer that will claim more than 24,500 lives this year, but the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) just invested $8 million to put a “hit” out on this disease, specifically for acute myeloid leukemia.

Two grants were awarded to University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers who are investigating novel stem cell-based treatments for acute myeloid leukemia.

$2.7 million will support testing of a novel therapeutic splicing modulator approach targeting cancer stem cells in AML. These cells, which evade or become resistant to cancer treatment, are believed to cause the high relapse rate in AML and other cancers.

A second grant for $5.15 million was awarded to advance clinical translation of natural killer (NK) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells into a standardized treatment for treating, and possibly curing, AML and other leukemias. NK cells are a type of immune system cell critical to rapid response to infections and tumor formation. They get their name from the ability to attack tumor cells without requiring patient-specific triggering markers.
Kudos to CIRM for underwriting this potentially life-saving research. This is one contract killer that we can all hope hits its mark.

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