Dr. Vito Imbasciani elected to serve as Chair of California stem cell agency (2023)

Dr. Vito Imbasciani will be the new Chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state agency created by voters in 2004 and funded again in 2020 to invest in stem cell and regenerative medicine research and treatments.

At January’s Board meeting, the agency’s 35-member Governing Board elected Imbasciani to the six-year term, replacing outgoing chair Jonathan Thomas, who has served in the position since 2011.

“Dr. Imbasciani’s experience across many relevant fronts will help him hit the ground running in guiding the Agency as it continues to grow its programs to bring treatments to patients with unmet medical needs,” Thomas said in welcoming Imbasciani to the role. “The agency, as well as the people of California and the world, will be well served by Imbasciani’s appointment as Chair of the CIRM Governing Board.”

Imbasciani expressed excitement in taking on the role, citing his extensive career in academia, government, military service and medicine.

(Video) CalHFA Board of Directors Workshop and Meeting - 03/07/2023 Part I

“My experience has positioned me to champion the aims of CIRM, advocate for it cogently, and represent it responsibly before the public and their state and federal elected representatives,” Imbasciani said. “I look forward to the challenge of advancing the groundbreaking work of this Agency, at the same time nourishing the hopes for medical advances held by the citizens of our great State.”

Imbasciani has served as the Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) since 2015. As Secretary, he created several new programs within the department, including forging eight independent California veteran homes into a unified system, establishing programs for veterans in state prisons, and supporting the 58 county veteran service offices.

In addition, Dr. Imbasciani has been a practicing urologic surgeon for 30 years, treating a mostly older population suffering from congenital and acquired conditions.

Dr. Imbasciani completed medical school at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and his surgical and urologic residencies at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the West Haven VA Hospital in Connecticut. At the University of Vermont, he worked in the laboratory assisting in studies of neurodegenerative diseases.

He earned MA and PhD degrees from Cornell University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Rome, Italy in 1973. He held academic teaching positions at the University of Florida, Cornell University and Middlebury College in Vermont.

He also served for 27 years as a surgeon in the United States Army Medical Corps, with four wartime deployments that exposed him to battlefield medicine and post-acute care.

Dr. Imbasciani also has a documented history in successful stem cell research advocacy. As an elected member of the Board of Directors of both the California Medical Association and the Los Angeles County Medical Association, he advocated for investments in basic stem cell research, and for the passage of Proposition 71, the ballot initiative that created CIRM. This included participating in activities aimed at educating the wider medical community in the long-term benefits of stem cell research.

CIRM President and CEO Dr. Maria T. Millan applauded Imbasciani’s appointment as Chair.

“Dr. Imbasciani’s experience as a state secretary, surgeon, professor, stem cell research advocate, and board member of various medical agencies and organizations makes him exceptionally well-suited to fill the role of ICOC Chair and to lead CIRM in accelerating world class science and treatments for a diverse California and the world. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Imbasciani will be sworn in and start on March 28, 2023.

The CIRM Board also awarded $15,457,858 for three projects in the agency’s Clinical program. The goal of the Clinical program is to speed up support for clinical stage candidate stem cell treatments that demonstrate scientific excellence.

Included in the Clinical awards is a $8 million grant to support Immusoft in a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of a cell therapy for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) I, a rare childhood genetic disease that causes organs and tissues of the body to become enlarged. The severe form of this disease is diagnosed at infancy and is fatal within the first 10 years of life.

This brings the number of CIRM-funded clinical trials to 87.

In this study, B cells will be isolated from patients suffering MPSI. These will be transformed with a normal copy of the gene and re-introduced into the patient.

Though there are approved treatments for MPSI, such as bone marrow transplantation, they have significant limitations. The proposed gene therapy for MPSI can potentially offer long-term disease control and prevent debilitating complications.

In addition, the Board awarded $4 million for a late-stage preclinical project by Ryne Bio aiming to improve treatment for Idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD).

PD is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease affecting approximately 1 million people in the U.S. PD is characterized by a loss of dopamine producing neurons that result in motor symptoms, such as dyskinesias (involuntary, erratic, writhing movements of the face, arms, legs or trunk) and non-motor effects such as dementia, depression and sleep disorders.

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter and hormone thatplays a role in many important body functions, including movement and memory.

In this proposed therapy, the goal is to deliver dopamine producing cells to replace the lost neuronsto the brain of Parkinson's disease patients to restore/improve motor function.

The current grant is being funded to conduct Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling, nonclinical safety studies per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Guidance. The IND is the authorization needed to begin a clinical trial in Parkinson’s patients.

The list of successful applicants in CIRM’s Clinical program are:


Program Title

Institution/Principal Investigator

Amount awarded


Development of cryopreserved interferon-gamma primed allogeneic MSCs, for treatment of steroid refractory acute graft versus host disease

Ossium Health - Brian Johnstone



Allogeneic iPSC derived Dopaminergic Drug Product for Parkinson's disease

Ryne Bio - Howard J Federoff



A Phase I Open Label Study to Evaluate the Safety and Tolerability of a Candidate in Patients with Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 1

Immusoft Corporation - Robert Hayes


The CIRM Board also awarded $32,992,265 to 16 projects in the agency’s Quest Awards Program, which promotes the discovery of promising new stem cell-based and gene therapy technologies that could be translated to enable broad use and ultimately, improve patient care.

The successful applicants are:


Program Title

Institution/Principal Investigator

Amount awarded


A Treatment for Artemis-deficient Severe Combined Immunodeficiency using Non-Viral CRISPR-driven Safe Harbor Transgenesis in Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Fyodor Urnov — University of California, Berkeley



Reprogramming Somatic Cells into iPSCs Engineered with an Anti-PSCA CAR to Develop Allogeneic Off-the Shelf Cell Therapy to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Jianhua Yu — Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope



Microgel encapsulated iPSC-derived notochordal cells to treat intervertebral disc degeneration and low back pain

Dmitriy Sheyn — Cedars-Sinai Medical Center



Excitatory spinal interneurons from human pluripotent stem cells to treat spinal cord injury

Lyandysha Viktorovna Zholudeva — The J. David Gladstone Institutes



Novel Lipid Nanoparticles for Enhancing eNOS Synthesis for Cardioprotection Post Myocardial Infarction

Kevin E. Healy — University of California, Berkeley



Gene Therapy for SLC6A8 Creatine Transporter Disorder

Gerald Lipshutz — University of California, Los Angeles



Drug Discovery for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Using Patient-Derived Human iPSCs

Nikesh Kotecha — Greenstone Biosciences



Expanded Capacity AAV Retinal Gene Therapy Enabled by Efficient RNA-Joining Technology

Lukas Bachmann — Vertuis Bio, Inc.



Pluripotent Stem Cells for Tendon Tissue Engineering

Darryl D. D’Lima — Scripps Health



Autologous stem cell-derived interneuron cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI)

Matthew Goodus — BrainXell Therapeutics



Vax-T to promote formation of cancer-specific T memory stem cell for personalized cancer immunotherapy

Song Li — University of California, Los Angeles



Development of novel small molecules against cancer stem cells in solid cancers

Frank Pajonk — University of California, Los Angeles



Pharmacological regenerative treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis targeting the senescent niche of lung progenitor cells.

Marco Quarta — Rubedo Life Sciences Inc.



Reversal of dysregulated myelopoiesis in breast cancers and cancer stem cells to boost antitumor immunotherapy

Richard Joseph Pietras — University of California, Los Angeles



A Novel Therapy for Sanfilippo B

Michelina Iacovino - Lundquist Institute



In Utero Treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with Non-viral Gene Editing

Aijun Wang – UC Davis


About CIRM

At CIRM, we never forget that we were created by the people of California to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs, and act with a sense of urgency to succeed in that mission.

To meet this challenge, our team of highly trained and experienced professionals actively partners with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast track the development of today’s most promising stem cell technologies.

With $5.5 billion in funding and more than 150 active stem cell programs in our portfolio, CIRM is one of the world’s largest institutions dedicated to helping people by bringing the future of cellular medicine closer to reality.

For more information go to www.cirm.ca.gov


Who is the CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine? ›

Maria T.

Millan is the President and CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

What is the mission of CIRM? ›

CIRM has one singular mission: Accelerating world class science to deliver transformative regenerative medicine treatments in an equitable manner to a diverse California and world.

When was CIRM founded? ›

CIRM was founded in 1935 to provide medical assistance via radio to ships with no doctor on board and other distant patients who cannot be reached by a doctor. In 1950 CIRM was established as a non-profit-making foundation and has benefited since 1957 from an annual contribution from the Italian government.

Is stem cell research legal in California? ›

In reaction to the federal policy, the citizens of California took stem cell research into their own hands: in 2004 voters passed the California Research and Cures Initiative, which amended the state constitution to make stem cell research a constitutional right and created an institution—the California Institute for ...

Is regenerative medicine legit? ›

Most regenerative medicine treatments are considered safe and have few potential side effects, but side effects do occur. Before providing any treatment, a doctor should also explain the: Potential risks.

Who is a candidate for regenerative medicine? ›

Good candidates include patients with:

Shoulder pain, tendinitis, labral or rotator cuff tears. Tennis and golfers' elbow. Chronic neck and back pain or sciatica. Non-healing fractures, and more!

Is CIRM a government agency? ›

CIRM, California's Stem Cell Agency, was created by the voters of California in 2004 when they overwhelmingly passed Proposition 71, which authorized $3 billion in funding for stem cell research in California.

What has CIRM accomplished? ›

A 2019 independent Economic Impact Report conducted by the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC says that CIRM has had a major impact on California's economy, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes, and producing billions of dollars in ...

What is Cleveland Clinics mission? ›

Caring for life, researching for health, educating those who serve.

Who qualifies for CIRM grant? ›

In general, Non-profit and For-profit research organizations located and conducting research in California are eligible to apply for and to receive CIRM research funding.

What is a CIRM grant? ›

The goal of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is to develop stem cell and related research for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and injury.

How many new buildings did CIRM help generate? ›

CIRM's major facilities program has created state-of-the art space for carrying out stem cell research. The agency's initial investment of $271 million leveraged $543 million in private donations and institutional commitments toward 12 buildings and recruitments.

Is the Church against stem cell research? ›

Because of this position, the Catholic Church opposes research involving human embryonic stem cells, which require the destruction of the human embryo during their isolation. In contrast, the Church has championed adult stem cell research, which does not involve human embryonic stem cells.

Why did US ban stem cell research? ›

In 2001, President George W. Bush banned federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, citing that the use of these embryos, which would otherwise be discarded or would deteriorate in long-term storage, diminishes the value of human life.

What states ban stem cell research? ›

Bans and restrictions

Other states have (or have shown interest in) additional restrictions or even complete bans on embryonic stem cell research. These states include Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia.

Why is QC Kinetix not covered by insurance? ›

With its retail medicine model, QC Kinetix is a cash business, and clinics don't work with insurance companies. “The average patients spends $10,000 for a treatment plan,” said Crowell.

Is Kinetix QC effective? ›

“We have found this medicine to be very safe and effective, especially when we use it in localized areas for musculoskeletal injections,” says Dr. Fernandez. “In contrast to patient's facing surgery, which is a long process and also very invasive, there is no downtime.”

What is the best food for stem cell growth? ›

Cruciferous veggies: Cauliflower, Broccoli, kale, cabbage, bok choy, garden cress & Brussels sprouts are some of the best foods for stem cell growth. These veggies have lots of the sulforaphane compound, which boots enzymes in the liver that combat harmful contaminants we may digest or take in.

What human stem cell is the most promising for regenerative medicine? ›

Embryonic stem cells.

These are pluripotent (ploo-RIP-uh-tunt) stem cells, meaning they can divide into more stem cells or can become any type of cell in the body. This versatility allows embryonic stem cells to be used to regenerate or repair diseased tissue and organs.

Do insurance companies pay for stem cell therapy? ›

However, stem cell therapy still qualifies as an experimental medical procedure, so health insurance carriers will not cover it.

Is regenerative stem cell therapy covered by insurance? ›

“Are stem cell therapies covered by insurance?” The short answer is no, but there are instances where there may be some kind of coverage.

Where is the best stem cell therapy in the world? ›

Founded by Dr. Neil Riordan, a globally recognized stem cell expert and visionary, the Stem Cell Institute in Panama is among the world's leaders in stem cell research and therapy.

Are stem cells illegal in the US? ›

Stem cell research is legal in the United States, however, there are restrictions on its funding and use. Currently, the only stem cells now used to treat disease are from blood cell-forming adult stem cells found in bone marrow.

How much funding does stem cell research take? ›

In addition, the Administration has provided nearly $3.7 billion for research on all forms of stem cells, including those from adult and other non-embryonic sources. The President opposes any attempt to compel American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos.

Who is the leader in stem cell research? ›

Stanford has been a leader in stem cell research for the past three decades.

Why is stem cell research controversial? ›

However, human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research is ethically and politically controversial because it involves the destruction of human embryos. In the United States, the question of when human life begins has been highly controversial and closely linked to debates over abortion.

What are the ethical issues of stem cell therapy? ›

Current ethical controversies regarding stem cell-based therapy are focused on the unlimited differentiation potential of iPSCs which can be used in human cloning, as a risk for generation of human embryos and human-animal chimeras.

Is Cleveland Clinic the best hospital in the world? ›

Cleveland Clinic is ranked as the No. 2 hospital in the world again by Newsweek's World's Best Hospitals 2023 list. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital and Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital are also recognized among the Top 250 hospitals in the world.

What specialty is Cleveland Clinic known for? ›

Cleveland Clinic is nationally ranked in the top 5 in Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Rheumatology and Urology. It is rated High Performing in nearly all procedures and conditions.

How many doctors does Cleveland Clinic have? ›

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation is the third largest doctors group in the United States with 15,330 medical professionals as of September 1, 2022.

What is the salary cap for CIRM grant? ›

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has implemented a new salary cap, effective July 1, 2022. The CIRM salary cap has increased from $284,000 to $301,000 per year at 100% FTE.

Who does NIH give grants to? ›

In general, domestic or foreign, public or private, non-profit or for-profit organizations are eligible to receive NIH grants. NIH may limit eligibility for certain types of programs, such as limitations on the participation of foreign entities or programs for which only small businesses are eligible applicants.

What are clinical grants? ›

The Clinical Research Grants Program is designed to enable research that has the potential to improve our understanding of safety and efficacy of our products studied. Support is awarded based on the scientific merit of each proposal received. The program is offered to academic and clinical scientists.

How much money does the NIH give out in grants? ›

NIH Grants by the Numbers

NIH's FY 2021 appropriation totaled $42.9 billion, of which it spent $32.3 billion to make 56,794 competing and noncompeting awards to 2,696 U.S. and international organizations.

How are NIH grants paid? ›

HHS grant payments may be made by one of several advance payment methods, including SMARTLINK II/ACH, cash request, or by cash request on a reimbursement basis, as specified in the NoA. and as described in this chapter. Payments under NIH grants generally are made as advance payments.

How much are NIH grants? ›

R01-Equivalent Grants: Average Size
YearCurrent Dollars
2017$482,395[ 2017, 482395, 270775 ]
2018$534,281[ 2018, 534281, 292058 ]
2019$548,390[ 2019, 548390, 294110 ]
2020$559,680[ 2020, 559680, 295014 ]
21 more rows

Does the Catholic Church approve of stem cell therapy? ›

The Catholic Church has opposed human embryonic stem cell research and any kind of human cloning because they are contrary to the dignity of procreation, of conjugal union and of human embryos.

Are Democrats against stem cell research? ›

Democrats and Republicans voted to pass the bill. Polls have shown that most Americans favour stem cell research, which may hold cures for Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's disease, and other disorders.

What religion says about stem cell research? ›

Some religious communities believe that embryonic stem cell research destroys innocent life and should not be allowed. Others believe that while the embryo has moral worth, a group of a hundred cells no bigger than the head of a pin is not the same as a person.

Why is the FDA against stem cell therapy? ›

These unproven, unregulated stem cell treatments carry significant risk. The risks range from administration site reactions to dangerous adverse events. For example, injected cells can multiply into inappropriate cell types or even dangerous tumors.

What is the most controversial stem cell? ›

Embryonic stem cells—the most controversial type—are taken from a blastocyst, an embryo at an early stage of development and comprising around 120 undifferentiated stem cells. These cells are called "totipotent" because they can differentiate into any cell type, including other totipotent cells.

What is the average cost of stem cell therapy? ›

The average stem cell therapy cost can range anywhere between $5000 - $50,000. Patients must do their research and ask as many questions as they can before financially committing to treatment.

Has the FDA approved stem cell research? ›

Currently, the only stem cell treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are products that treat certain cancers and disorders of the blood and immune system.

What country has the most stem cell research? ›

United States

Is stem cell research funded by government? ›

Stem cell research is also funded by the federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. It may also be funded by the private sector, but such investment generally occurs later, during the testing and development phase, than during initial basic research.

Who is John kosolcharoen? ›

He was the primary salesman of investment contracts offered by Global Corporate Alliance, Inc. During the relevant period, Kosolcharoen acted as an unregistered broker in violation of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

Who owns bioXcellerator? ›

Eric Stoffers - CEO and Founder - bioXcellerator | LinkedIn.

Who owns Liveyon? ›

The CEO of Liveyon LLC, which is headquartered in Yorba Linda in Southern California, is a man named John W. Kosolcharoen. Liveyon LLC was incorporated on June 13, 2016. A John W.

Who is the father of stem cell therapy? ›

Stem cell therapy – The beginning

In 1958 the French oncologist, Georges Mathé, performed the first stem cell transplantation of bone marrow grafts to save six nuclear researchers who were accidentally exposed to radiation.

Who is the founder of stem cell? ›

In 1998, the biologist James Alexander Thomson through his research led him to the discovery of human embryonic stem cells (published under the title Embryonic Stem Cell Lines derived from Human Blastocysts), and in 2007, he discovered the method of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), i.e., by converting skin ...

Where does BioXcellerator get their stem cells? ›

While stem cells come from many sources, BioXcellerator formulations include mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from Wharton's jelly in donated umbilical cords.

Why is stem cell therapy not FDA approved? ›

These unproven, unregulated stem cell treatments carry significant risk. The risks range from administration site reactions to dangerous adverse events. For example, injected cells can multiply into inappropriate cell types or even dangerous tumors.

Which company is best for stem cell? ›

Here are the 10 top stem cell companies on the NASDAQ.
Stem Cell Stocks: 10 Biggest NASDAQ Companies in 2023
  1. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) ...
  2. Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) ...
  3. Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY) ...
  4. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) ...
  5. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX)

Did Jack Nicklaus get stem cell therapy? ›

Stem cells viewed on a computer screen at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute. Nicklaus received 10 injections in his back on each side of his lumbar spine, or lower back, and four in his cervical spine, or neck. Out of the whole process, Nicklaus said the liposuction was the worst part.

What is the most successful stem cell therapy? ›

The best-defined and most extensively used stem cell treatment is hematopoietic (or blood) stem cell transplantation, for example, bone marrow transplantation, to treat certain blood and immune system disorders or to rebuild the blood system after treatments for some kinds of cancer.


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