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UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic

Stem Cell Clinical Trials @ UCI

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The UC Irvine (UCI) branch of the UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic (ASCC) provides a centralized infrastructure from which to work with UCI faculty and staff to enhance stem cell clinical research and activities at UCI. The UCI branch of the UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic:

  • Is part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Alpha Stem Cell Clinic network
  • Promotes and facilitates scientific collaborations and interactions
  • Provides centralized clinical research infrastructure support
  • Accelerates the implementation of clinical research trials
CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics: Collaboratively Addressing Regenerative Medicine Challenges  »


  • Clinical Trial Start-Up
  • Coverage Analysis
  • Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA) Budget Support
  • Database Development
  • Funding Opportunity Identification
  • Grant / Contract Proposal Development
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Submission Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Regulatory Support
  • Research Nursing Support
  • Resource for Institutional Knowledge & Information
  • Training & Outreach Activities


The UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic provides the necessary infrastructure, and medical and operational expertise to effectively and efficiently drive novel stem cell therapies to clinical trials and ultimately change clinical practice. To accomplish our mission, we are working to achieve the following five goals:

  1. Creating a center of excellence for cell-based therapeutics that addresses the unique challenges of testing and delivering novel cell therapies by integrating and building upon the extensive experience and many strengths of UCLA, UCI, and our partners;
  2. Building interactive and highly trained teams and electronic data sharing systems to accelerate and translate discovery to improve human health;
  3. Transforming the delivery of cell therapeutics through our proven Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing;
  4. Advancing, expanding, and integrating educational opportunities to inform patients, families, communities, and clinicians of the full range of scientifically sound and medically appropriate, regulated stem cell-based clinical trials while providing objective information about potentially dangerous and unproven procedures; and
  5. Serving as a regional, national and international resource for evidence-based best practices in stem cell treatments.


You may be eligible to take part in one of the many clinical trials underway at the UCI branch of the UCLA-UCI Alpha Clinic. By participating in a clinical trial, patients have access to leading-edge treatments and therapies long before they are available to the general public.

The more you know about clinical trials, the better informed you will be when deciding whether to participate in a specific trial. Learn more about clinical trials below.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a medical research study in which patient volunteers test a new medical approach to determine whether it is safe and effective. Some clinical trials study a stem cell/drug, a medical device or a new way of doing surgery. Others test new ways to prevent disease, diagnose disease, improve quality of life, or help people with manage difficult psychological and social issues.

During a clinical trial, more information is gathered about a new treatment, its risks and how well it may work. Patients who take part in clinical trials also have an opportunity to help scientists learn - how the disease grows, how it acts and what influences its growth and spread. Many of the approaches that doctors use to treat disease today are available only because of clinical trials.

Phases of clinical trials

Phase 0 clinical trials

These trials represent the earliest step in testing new treatments in humans. In a phase 0 trial, a very small dose of a chemical or biologic agent is given to a small number of people (approximately 10-15) to gather preliminary information about how the agent is processed by the body (pharmacokinetics) and how the agent affects the body (pharmacodynamics). Because the agents are given in such small amounts, no information is obtained about their safety or effectiveness. Phase 0 trials are also called micro-dosing studies, exploratory Investigational New Drug (IND) trials, or early phase I trials. The people who take part in these trials usually have advanced disease, and no known, effective treatment options are available to them.

Phase I clinical trials

These trials are conducted mainly to evaluate the safety of chemical or biologic agents or other types of interventions (e.g., a new stem cell dosage). They help determine the maximum dose that can be given safely (also known as the maximum tolerated dose) and whether an intervention causes harmful side effects. Phase I trials enroll small numbers of people (20 or more) who have advanced disease that cannot be treated effectively with standard (usual) treatments or for which no standard treatment exists. Although evaluating the effectiveness of interventions is not a primary goal of these trials, doctors do look for evidence that the interventions might be useful as treatments.

Phase II clinical trials

These trials test the effectiveness of interventions in people who have a specific type of disease. They also continue to look at the safety of interventions. Phase II trials usually enroll fewer than 100 people but may include as many as 300. The people who participate in phase II trials may or may not have been treated previously with standard therapy for their disease. If a person has been treated previously, their eligibility to participate in a specific trial may depend on the type and amount of prior treatment they received. Although phase II trials can give some indication of whether or not an intervention works, they are almost never designed to show whether an intervention is better than standard therapy.

Phase III clinical trials

These trials compare the effectiveness of a new intervention, or new use of an existing intervention, with the current standard of care (usual treatment) for a particular disease. Phase III trials also examine how the side effects of the new intervention compare with those of the usual treatment. If the new intervention is more effective than the usual treatment and/or is easier to tolerate, it may become the new standard of care.

Phase III trials usually involve large groups of people (100 to several thousand), who are randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups, or "trial arms": 1) a control group, in which everyone in the group receives usual treatment for their disease, or 2) an investigational or experimental group, in which everyone in the group receives the new intervention or new use of an existing intervention. The trial participants are assigned to their individual groups by random assignment, or randomization. Randomization helps ensure that the groups have similar characteristics. This balance is necessary so the researchers can have confidence that any differences they observe in how the two groups respond to the treatments they receive are due to the treatments and not to other differences between the groups.

Randomization is usually done by a computer program to ensure that human choices do not influence the assignment to groups. The trial participants cannot request to be in a particular group, and the researchers cannot influence how people are assigned to the groups. Usually, neither the participants nor their doctors know what treatment the participants are receiving.

People who participate in phase III trials may or may not have been treated previously. If they have been treated previously, their eligibility to participate in a specific trial may depend on the type and the amount of prior treatment they received.

In most cases, an intervention will move into phase III testing only after it has shown promise in phase I and phase II trials.

Phase IV clinical trials

These trials study a treatment after the FDA has approved it. Phase IV trials evaluate the side effects, risks, and benefits of a drug or other therapy over a long period of time and in a larger number of people than in phase III trials. Thousands of people are involved in a phase IV trial, and randomization is generally not used.

History of Alpha Clinics Network

CIRM Logo AlphaClinicThe Alpha Clinics Network funded through CIRM has one unifying goal: to accelerate the development and delivery of stem cell therapies to patients. Only three alpha clinic stem cell sites have been funded through CIRM: UCLA-UCI, UCSD and City of Hope.

The key to the Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network's success is its ability to leverage the strengths of each individual clinic—so that together they form an efficient, scalable and sustainable network that will attract and conduct high-quality clinical trials. The clinics support both CIRM-funded and non CIRM-funded clinical trials by academic or industry sponsors. Browse the list of ongoing trials at Alpha Clinic Network Studies.

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Dr. Bota with patientThe Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine is home to the only CIRM-funded stem cell clinic in Orange County - the UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic.

Here, the best and brightest physician scientists deliver promising stem cell therapies to patients in clinical trials for debilitating diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa - a blinding eye disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, ALS, Alzheimer's disease, and much more.

These stem cell trials are the outgrowth of groundbreaking research performed at academic research centers like UCI. The Stem Cell Research Center is on the cusp of harnessing the amazing potential of stem cell therapies for many other afflictions including, Huntington's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, newly diagnosed glioblastoma, critical limb ischemia, type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injury, ovarian cancer, and more.

Sue and Bill Gross HallEvery day, we gain new insights that enrich understanding of how neural cells make repairs. We are eager to move forward faster in hopes of helping you and your loved ones live healthier lives. To do this, we need your support.

Become a partner with the Stem Cell Clinic at UC Irvine and change what it means to be diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

Please give today for a healthier tomorrow

For more information on giving to the UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic., please contact Janice Briggs, senior executive director of development: jbriggs@uci.edu or 949-824-0091

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UCLA-UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic

Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute

University of California Irvine
845 Health Sciences Road
1001 Gross Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-1705

Phone : (949) 824-3990
Email : stemcell@uci.edu