Awardee Aileen Anderson is a UCI professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation and directs the university's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. UCI

Aileen Anderson, director of UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation, has been awarded a 30-month, $5.5 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The funds will be used in the development of a new human neural stem cell therapeutic for treating chronic cervical spinal cord injury. “In the U.S., there are about 285,000 individuals living with paralysis due to traumatic spinal cord injury, and there are no FDA-approved treatments,” Anderson says. “Integrating transplanted human neural stem cells is likely to direct improved locomotor function, and increasing a single level of spine function can make a significant positive impact on both quality of life and the economic burden of disease for these patients.” This is one of 11 stem cell-based projects funded as part of the CIRM Translational Research Program, which aims to accelerate approaches that have shown promise in the lab and are ready to advance to clinical study or patient care.