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California stem cell research program: The governor's blank check

Genetic Crossroads
August 4th, 2006

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger quickly responded to President Bush's veto of the Senate stem cell bill with an executive order to loan the state's beleaguered stem cell research program $150 million. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger failed to take this important opportunity to implement real, enforceable oversight of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Proposition 71, the initiative that created the CIRM in 2004, specifically exempted it from oversight by California's elected officials. Its governing board is riddled with conflicts of interest, and reports to no one. This lack of accountability is dangerous for CIRM and dangerous for the research. Along with public funding should come public oversight.

Meanwhile, the CIRM's governing board gave final approval to the standards to be followed by researchers funded by the institute. The institute's leadership had, once again, considered a loophole in its research standards to effectively allow payments to women to provide eggs for research. But after input from the Center for Genetics and Society and the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, it rejected this loophole.

Related articles:

bullet "Stem-cell institute has money, will fund research," San Jose Mercury News (August 3)

bullet Editorial: "Blank-check stem cells - Governor missed chance with state loan," Sacramento Bee (July 24)

bullet"State Takes Lead in Stem Cell Efforts," Los Angeles Times (July 21)


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