Justin Ichida keeps his research patient-based. That’s why Ichida, an assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and his startup company AcuraStem participated in the ALS Association Golden West Chapter Walk to Defeat ALS at Exposition Park in Los Angeles.
The group walked alongside Team Nanci in November in support of Nanci Ryder, a prominent Hollywood publicist diagnosed with ALS—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Ryder and actress Renee Zellweger, a friend and client of Ryder’s, have taken interest in Ichida’s work.
“[AcuraStem is] really living its mission of being patient-based from the beginning to the end of the drug development process,” said AcuraStem’s director of communications, Kissy Black. “It’s not just a team of researchers who study ALS in their lab: the team goes beyond the bench to connect with ALS patients and participate in events to raise money for, and awareness of, the disease.”