For release July 23, 2016
A Parkinson's disease research project at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), supported by patient advocacy group, Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, received a grant yesterday from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for $2.36 million to develop a patient-specific cell replacement therapy.
This green light helps to open the path for patient trials as early as 2018. The La Jolla team is the only group in the world close to bringing a potentially life- changing therapy to patients with Parkinson’s disease, using their own skin cells to create the neurons needed to reverse their debilitating symptoms. 
The funding builds upon a $250,000 grant awarded to the team by the National Stem Cell Foundation in April of 2016 and enables further safety and efficacy studies to be used to apply for FDA approval to begin a clinical trial. “These funds will accelerate the studies needed to file for FDA approval to begin our clinical studies. The increased pace in the lab will be exciting and challenging,” said Jenifer Raub, President of the Summit for Stem Cell Foundation.
An estimated 7-10 million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease worldwide and current medications lose effectiveness over time. 
Dr. Jeanne Loring, the director of the TSRI laboratory, said, "our goal is to replace the neurons lost in Parkinson’s disease and restore motor function to the patients.  These funds bring us closer to achieving that goal.”  The project is pioneering the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to create patient-specific dopamine-producing neurons. The Director of Research and Development for the Summit For Stem Cell Foundation, Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal, aims to surgically place the dopamine neurons back into the brain of the patient from which the cells were made to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
About The Research:
The research project was started in April 2011 with funding from Summit For Stem Cell and is led by Dr. Jeanne Loring and Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal. Induced pluripotent stem cells have been made from 10 Parkinson’s disease patients and their neurons are being tested in the lab. 
About The Summit Team:
Dr. Jeanne Loring, professor and founding director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at TSRI, oversees the scientific development of the proposed therapy.  Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal, Director of Research and Development for the Summit For Stem Cell Foundation is directing the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to dopaminergic neurons.

Summit for Stem Cell Foundation (Summit) is a grass-roots non-profit organization that exists to financially support development of a stem cell-based therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Summit is a unique collaboration of scientists, clinicians, patient advocates and the community working together in of support research seeking to end Parkinson’s disease with a legitimate stem cell based therapy. To date, Summit has been the main source of support for the research with the aid a few small grants. 

Through the years the Summit Team has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and to Mt. Everest Base Camp, and this October the Summit Team of Trekkers will be hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru to raise funds for the research.

The Summit for Stem Cell Foundation: Sherrie Gould or Jenifer Raub at 858-759-1610
Contact by email, click here.

Password: CIRM


Note: CIRM granted the project $2.35M funded in Nov. 2016. To complete all the required FDA studies and ready the application for FDA approval (planned for mid 2018) an additional $8M needs to be raised.

CIRM Parkinson's Fact Sheet and Grant List



Parkinson's disease (PD) affects more than a million people in the US. Jeanne Loring, professor and the founding director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, discusses current research and potential future therapies for PD. In 2012, a partnership of scientists, clinicians, PD patients, and patient advocates was formed to develop a therapy for PD using patients' own skin cells that can be transformed into dopamine neurons, which can then be transplanted to their brains to restore lost cells. With further support from the foundation and granting agencies, the research and clinical partners hope to transplant cells to the first patient in about three years. This kind of partnership is unprecedented, and is inspiring for both the researchers and the patients, who are working together to develop the first effective therapy for PD.







Stem Cells found Safe for use in Regenerative Medicine

Study:  Embryonic, artificial Stem cells equal, October 2015

Stem Cells: The Building Blocks of our Bodies, August 2015

Stem Cell Agency Picks up the Pace, San Diego Union Tribune 12-16-2015

Community Spotlight Radio Show with Drew Scholsberg, Sherrie Gould NP and Andres Bratt-Leal PhD., 12-2015

KUSI television interview with Sherrie Gould NP, 12-2015

Jeanne Loring Recieves Stem Cell Action Award

Jeanne Loring PhD named Stem Cell Person of the Year 

Parkinson's Stem Cell Project Seeks Funding, Setember 2015



Parkinson's stem cell therapy works in rats. A San Diego U-T article by Bradley J. Fikes, Nov. 9, 2014. Click here to read and see the associated video.

Parkinson's Disease Breakthrough: Stem Cells May Replace Damaged Nerves, Reverse Symptoms. Click here to read the article from Medical Daily.

Human ESC-Derived Dopamine Neurons Show Similar Preclinical Efficacy and Potency to Fetal Neurons when Grafted in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Click here to read the article.

Victory Over Parkinson's Fundraiser - Summit for Stem Cell raises $1 million in 30 minutes. Read the Union-Tribune Article.



San Diego U-T article on the research. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.


Father and son team Alan and Adam Truitt trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp to raise awareness and funds for the Summit4StemCell research project. An article in the The Watch.

San Diego U-T September 22 article on stem cell project participant Alan Truitt's trek to Mt. Everest base camp. September 2013 Ranch and Coast Magazien on the research and the Mt. Everest trek

Carlsbad Patch article on Jeff Seckendorf and the team supporting the research with a trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

Washington Post Article, 14 June 2013: Parkinson's Patient Evvie Heilbrunn of Great Falls battles her newest obstacle: Mount Everest

KPBS interview with Parkinson's patient Cassandra Peters, 12 June 2013
The television interview
The radio interview
Transcript of the radio interview

Local Everest Trekker (and stem cell pilot project participant) Alan Truitt on the research and the upcoming trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp.
Ramona Man with Parkinson's Treks to Everest

Drs. Jeanne Loring and Suzanne Peterson on the research.
California Stem Cell Agency



Parties 4 Parkinson's
Parties 4 Parkinson's Auction Press Release, 24 October 2012

The 2012 Nobel Prize: October 2012 - Huffpost Tech
Nobel Prize won for non-embryonic stem cell research.

October 2012 - Our Sunday Visitor
The Catholic church addresses non-embryonic stem cell research.


Contact: Jenifer Raub, Board President

Contact Phone: (858) 759.1610 Email: Click Here



San Diego, CA (April 7, 2016)  – Summit for Stem Cell has received a $250,000 grant from the National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) to support the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The Summit research project is directed by Dr. Andrés Bratt-Leal in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA.  

The aim of of the research is to use a patient’s own skin cells to create normal dopamine-producing neurons that can be returned to the patient without rejection. Dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to areas of the brain that control movement and coordination, is decreased in Parkinson’s when dopamine-producing neurons malfunction or die. This patient-specific therapy has the potential to halt or reverse the damage of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, including ALS. 

According to Dr. Paula Grisanti, National Stem Cell Foundation Chairman, “As an organization, we are committed to partnering with strong organizations and building consortiums to get great research through the funding “valley of death” that is too often the fate of promising ideas. We are delighted to make this grant for patient-specific stem cell research that will advance treatment options for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”  

Jenifer Raub, Summit’s Board President, says, “The generous support provided by the National Stem Cell Foundation will advance this research at a critical point and move us closer to FDA-approved clinical trials. We are thrilled by this unique partnership with NSCF.”

About Summit for Stem Cell 

Summit for Stem Cell is a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer organization working to fund research that will directly impact treatment options for the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease. Summit is at the vanguard of a unique collaboration between patients, clinicians, scientists, volunteers, patient advocates and the community at large to move innovative research forward in cooperation with The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Clinic. For more information visit:

About National Stem Cell Foundation

The National Stem Cell Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization funding stem cell and regenerative medicine research and clinical trials in four primary focus areas: Neurodegenerative Disease, Autoimmune Disease, Rare Childhood Disorders and Regenerative Repair. NSCF’s goal is to fund promising developments in the field of regenerative medicine, support research collaboration wherever possible and accelerate access to scientific breakthroughs for people in need. For more information visit:


# # #

Password: CIRM