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UCI set to open $80-million stem cell research center

May 8, 2010 |  8:32 am

UC Irvine is set to open an $80-million stem cell research building next week.

On Friday, leaders from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, UCI and the newly crowned Sue and Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute, will unveil the 100,000-square-foot research center. The institute, which was designed exclusively for basic stem cell research and clinical studies, is one of several CIRM has developed in California.

“CIRM was created for this reason,” said John Robson, vice president of operations for the institute. “Regenerative medicine is the future of medicine ... California is going to lead the way.”

Stem cells are basic human cells that can be grown and developed into body tissues, including those for spinal cords and organs.

In 2004, about 59% of California voters passed Proposition 71, which allocated about $3 billion in state funds for stem cell research, including embryonic stem cells.

Former President George W. Bush had limited embryonic stem cell research to existing strains and prohibited scientists from developing new ones from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization. California created CIRM to continue research in the field.

After six years and $1 billion assigned to institutions throughout the state, UCI will be the first to open, and the only one to be built from the ground up for stem cell research.

Read the full story here.

-- Joseph Serna reporting for the Daily Pilot