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California Stem Cell Update

Genetic Crossroads
February 28th, 2007

bulletCIRM grant process reveals deep flaws

On February 15 and 16, the California stem cell research program awarded its first research grants. Although the media coverage was favorable, this milestone was not without significant shortcomings.

Kuehl
Runner

bulletLegislature moves to ensure affordable treatments and returns on public investment

A new legislative effort has been launched to ensure that the California stem cell program provides adequate returns on the public's $3 billion investment, and that any treatments developed with public funding are widely affordable. Senate Bill 771, introduced on February 23 by Senators Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) and George Runner (R-Antelope Valley), specifies that minimum percentages of revenue from product licensing developed with CIRM grants be returned to the state. It also requires that such products are offered at discounted prices to the state's publicly funded health care programs.

bulletAppeals court ruling favors stem cell institute

A California appeals court ruled on February 26 against the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The plaintiffs, led by the anti-abortion group Life Legal Foundation, said they plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court. One of the appeals court judges, Stuart Pollak, told a reporter, "The voters have determined that the advantages of permitting particularly knowledgeable persons to decide which research projects to fund outweigh any concerns that these decisions may be influenced by the personal or professional interests of those members, so long as the members do not participate in any decision to award grants to themselves or their employer."


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