Bill Targets Conflicts of Interest at California Stem Cell Agency
A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week would authorize California's Little Hoover Commission to investigate how the state stem cell institute's governing body would be altered to eliminate conflicts of interest, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Little Hoover Commission studies state government operations and issues recommendations.
The measure, sponsored by Sens. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) and George Runner (R-Lancaster), comes amid investigations by the Fair Political Practices Commission and a state audit committee that were prompted by conflict-of-interest allegations against a board member of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
State voters established CIRM through Proposition 71 in 2004 to administer $3 billion in state bonds for stem cell research. Under the ballot initiative, the institute's board includes leaders of academic research institutes that often apply for grants, the Union-Tribune reports (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/23).
Today is the deadline for applications in the agency's second phase of major facility grants, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
CIRM President Alan Trounson said the grants will total $262 million.
Meanwhile, research institutes from 19 countries are gathering today for the two-day International Stem Cell Forum in San Francisco to review topics of interest, as well as moral and ethical standards for research.
CIRM supporters say it is a sign of California's strong position in the stem cell research arena that the conference is being held in San Francisco (Smith, San Francisco Examiner, 2/26).