Don’t worry, it’s not too late—September 23rd  has not happened yet, you still have a couple days to get ready—to join America, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia and many more states and nations in  celebrating one of the greatest hopes for happiness in the course of human history.


When a hero saves a life—a drowning child, let’s say—the world cheers. 


But stem cell research may save the lives of millions.


That is worth noticing!


Do this, please: send a note to stemcellday@cirm.ca.gov, and tell them how you celebrated Stem Cell Awareness Day. Want some suggestions how to mark it?


Maybe, make a phone call to a loved one who is ill; we all owe a phone call or two in that area—that not only warms their hearts, but also keeps fresh in our minds the reason we fight, so every family may have access to the best medical treatment science can develop.


Or donate to a favorite patient advocacy group, like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, or another group which supports stem cell research? (My friend Karen Miner’s group, Research for Cure, will be having their annual fundraiser on the 26th, btw, if you are in the Sacramento area, drop by—Google Research for Cure for details—this worthy group supports spinal cord injury research for cure at UC Irvine.)


Invite some friends over for snacks and make a big sign, SUPPORT STEM CELL RESEARCH, put it someplace prominent to start the conversation.


Or maybe just visit the CIRM website—or the brandnew CIRM Flickr newsfeed—or hunt for CIRM on Youtube….


But in some way, large or small, consider taking note of stem cell research.


Last year was the first celebration—let’s make this one bigger…..


Here is some of the latest news on how the world is coming together on this vital issue–  and there are rumors of much more!  (WWW.STEMCELLDAY.COM)


Also, you can always visit the CIRM website (www.cirm.ca.gov) to keep in touch—but first, breaking news that still another nation, Germany, will be celebrating stem cell awareness by linking arms with California, working together to find cures.



“San Francisco, Ca., September 17, 2009—The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) announced today an agreement to collaborate on stem cell research. 

The agreement was signed today at CIRM headquarters here by BMBF State Secretary Frieder Meyer-Krahmer and Alan Trounson, president of CIRM.

CIRM and the German ministry are laying the foundation for joint research projects to advance stem cell therapies for treatment of some of today’s most debilitating diseases.  Late last year, a group of Californian and German researchers met in San Francisco to discuss various areas of mutual interest. The exchanges at that meeting suggested that collaborative work in a number of areas could be particularly fruitful, including the study of immunology. With today’s agreement, the initial avenue for collaboration is likely to be the CIRM Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunology request for applications, which will be posted in November.

…The agreement will make it easier for researchers in California and Germany to obtain joint funding to broaden the potential pool of expertise that can be applied toward research in a specific area.  It is expected that researchers in both jurisdictions will be invited to form teams that will apply jointly for funding through a process that builds upon routine CIRM and BMBF procedures. For those that are approved, CIRM will fund the California researchers and BMBF will fund the German researchers.

“The survival of many patients with severe diseases has been facilitated by the great progress in medical technology in organ transplantations as well as in specific replacement of cell, tissue and organ functions based on innovations of regenerative medicine. Increasing demand in this area is foreseeable. Intensive work is therefore required on further innovative development in regeneration” said Germany’s State Secretary Meyer-Krahmer.

California was the first state in the nation to support and fund stem cell research, and now we are expanding our commitment to finding therapies for chronic diseases with yet another international partnership,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “There are brilliant minds all over the world, especially here in California, and with collaborations like this we can help ensure that potentially life-saving breakthroughs can come more quickly and more often.”

The long-term objective of the collaborative research is to better understand the mechanisms of regenerative processes in order to develop improved therapies and to clarify the potential risks of using stem cells or their derivatives as therapy. Research in this area is of course only possible within the corresponding national legislation depending on the funding body and location where the research is carried out. In the future, these newly developed therapies will enable a more comprehensive biological replacement of organ function, in particular in areas where transplantation is currently not possible.

CIRM and BMBF are discussing other potential collaborative activities including workshops, symposia, exchange of researchers, and young scientist training opportunities.

Germany’s science and industry sector takes a leading position internationally in regenerative medicine. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Science Foundation (DFG) prepared the ground for this by investing 230 million Euros since 1990 in research in this field.

Germany is a world leader in biomedical research,” noted Robert Klein, chairman of the CIRM governing board. “Germany will now join five other nations—the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Spain and Japan—as a partner with California in accelerating critical stem cell research to relieve the suffering of patients and families throughout the world.” 

CIRM currently has similar agreements with the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium of Canada, the State of Victoria in Australia, the JST in Japan, the MICINN in Spain and the MRC in the United Kingdom.


And—a message on Stem Cell Awareness Day from CIRM President Dr. Alan Trounson:


Mon, 09/14/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., September 14, 2009 – On September 23, The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency (CIRM) will mark Stem Cell Awareness Day in partnership with research institutions, patient groups and educators around the world.

In a statement urging people to mark the day, CIRM president Dr. Alan Trounson declared “Stem cell science is advancing at as fast a pace as it is in large part because of pressure from grass roots campaigns that have created momentum to secure government funds for research and challenged researchers to think differently about the pace of bringing basic discoveries to the clinic. Stem Cell Awareness Day was created as a way to spread information and excitement about this field and to fertilize those grass roots to keep the pressure on everyone to further accelerate the field.”—Dr. Alan Trounson, President, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

 To mark Stem Cell Awareness Day in California, CIRM grantees are visiting some 40 high school science classrooms throughout the state as guest lecturers. More than 2,500 high school students are anticipated to participate in presentations by stem cell scientists on September 23. High school life science teachers in California who are interested in having a stem cell researcher visit their classroom as a guest lecturer on September 23, should contact CIRM at stemcellday@cirm.ca.gov.

 CIRM is also sponsoring a Stem Cell Awareness Day poetry contest. Entries are welcome from anywhere in the world. The winner (or winners) will receive a framed stem cell image of their choice from those on the CIRM Flickr photostream. The winning poem(s) will also be posted on the Stem Cell Awareness Day and CIRM Websites and may be printed in the CIRM annual report. Poems of 250 words or less that relate to the subject of stem cell science should be submitted by September 15th to stemcellday@cirm.ca.gov.


Stem Cell Awareness Day Activities

In addition to activities being organized by CIRM, numerous activities and events are planned for the day that aim to foster greater understanding about stem cell research and the range of potential applications for disease and injury. Please visit www.stemcellday.com for the most current list of activities. Planned activities include.

The World Stem Cell Summit is taking place in Baltimore September 21-23 and will note Stem Cell Day on the 23rd.

Monash University, Australia, is hosting a Webcast linking international stem cell scientists. Video seminars and live Q&A by leaders in the field addressing a wide range of topics related to stem cell science and clinical advances. For more information, visit: https://www.med.monash.edu.au/miscl/scad09.html

NYSTEM, New York State Stem Cell Science is sponsoring a stem cell image contest and a public screening of “Terra Incognita: Mapping Stem Cell Research. Visit https://stemcell.ny.gov/ for more information.

The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and Canada’s Stem Cell Network is launching The Stem Cell Charter, a major global outreach initiative to build a grassroots following of stem cell science supporters, on Stem Cell Awareness Day. Sign the Charter – Renew the World: The Stem Cell Charter is an interactive, web-based document that affirms the importance of stem cell science to all humanity. It forms the basis of a growing community of scientists, community leaders and the public who believe in the importance of stem cell science, and are lending their voice, time or other resources to champion the stem cell cause. Sign the Charter at stemcellcharter.org Choose and personalize your very own cell, and tell the world why you support this vital area of research. Watch the Rock Star Scientists video as well as mini videos about research that’s going on in the field.

The Parkinson’s Institute, Sunnyvale, CA (www.thepi.org) – is hosting a public talk on Parkinson’s disease. Learn about the latest developments in Stem Cell Research from leading authorities in the field, and how these developments are helping us understand Parkinson’s disease. Contact: mchavez@thepi.org or 408.734.2800

UC Davis, Davis, CA – is hosting Huntington’s Disease and Stem Cell Research Presentations from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures facility tour, presented by: Dr. Jan Nolta and featuring patient advocate testimonies. A tour of the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures will follow, beginning at 6:00 p.m. followed by a hands-on tour of Dr. Nolta’s lab, beginning at 7:15 p.m.; Contact: Charles Casey (916) 734-9048

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA – is hosting an open house lab tour (reservations are required) of the Stem Cell Shared Laboratory and Training Center. 1:30 – 5:00 PM. Space is limited, please contact: suzanne@scripps.edu (619) 804-3620 to reserve a spot.

UC Irvine, Irvine, CA – The UC Irvine Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.
Open House for K – 12 Educators, 4:00 – 6:00 PM – Meet UC Irvine scientists and listen to a panel discussion on cutting edge stem cell research in Aging and Alzheimer’s disease. A tour of the stem cell research laboratory will follow. 101 Theory, Irvine, CA. Contact Lila at stemcell@uci.edu for more information.

About CIRM CIRM was established in November, 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities. To date, the CIRM governing board has approved 307 research and facility grants totaling more than $781 million, making CIRM the largest source of funding for human embryonic stem cell research in the world. For more information, please visit www.cirm.ca.gov. 


And now, folks, I have to get ready to go back to the World Stem Cell Summit—it will be sooooooo much fun—and we will of course be celebrating Stem Cell Awareness Day!

Happy Stem Cell Awareness Day!

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