History and Funding
In August 2001, federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) was restricted to all but a few previously established cell lines. In response, Sanford-Burnham created a safe haven for generating and conducting research on non-approved hESCs and for human embryo research.
The Stem Cell Research Center, a wholly-owned subsidary of the Institute, was established as a vehicle to account for non-federal revenue and expenses associated with research on human embryonic stem cells that were ineligible for federal funding. The Center's work initially was supported by the community and private foundations.
In 2004, the Stem Cell Research Center began receiving support from the National Institutes of Health to train scientists in hESC techniques. The following year, the Center became one of six Exploratory Human Stem Cell Research Centers in the nation. The Center also has benefited from the passage in 2004 of Proposition 71, the California ballot measure that created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), a granting agency with a mandate to provide $3 billion over 10 years to suppport stem cell researchers in the state. CIRM support has helped pay for the Center's operating expenses, lab upgrades, and a training program.
The Stem Cell Research Center is a resource for researchers at Sanford-Burnham and elsewhere who don't necessarily regard themselves as stem cell biologists but are increasingly turning to stem cell techniques to address questions in their own fields of study.
Center staff derive and characterize stem cells that model normal biology and disease states; derive induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from adult stem cells (typically fibroblasts, or skin cells); offer researchers instruction on techniques for developing iPSCs; act as consultants in designing and interpreting experiments; and develop sophisticated imaging technology, including automated 2D and 3D video time-lapse microscopy to image and track the migration, differentiation and cross-talk between human pluripotent cells and their progeny in culture.
Resources and Services
The Center is organized into seven sub-cores that provide scientists at Sanford-Burnham and elsewhere with high-quality, economically priced cells, reagents, instruments, instruction, and training. These cores are:
- Human Stem Cell Culture and Derivation
- Human Stem Cell Characterization
- High-Throughput Analysis and New Technology Development
- Human Stem Cell Data Sharing and Training
- Advanced and Automated Imaging Analysis
- Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
- MicroRNA Screening and Analysis
Click here to access these resources