California Researchers to Study Stem Cells, Might Apply for Proposition 71 Funds
Researchers at several California universities and a private company have announced plans to study the cloning of human embryonic stem cells and said they might seek Proposition 71 funds for when they become available, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. State voters approved Proposition 71 in November 2004 to fund stem cell research.
The scientists plan to study a technique that a South Korean scientist claimed to have mastered before his research was discovered to be fraudulent.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and Stanford University said they plan to apply for Proposition 71 funding. However, UCSF officials said they would begin research without the funds, which are unavailable because the initiative's constitutionality is being challenged in court.
Stanford will apply for Proposition 71 funding to recruit scientists to study nuclear transfer in animals and eventually in human cells, according the Irving Weissman, head of the stem cell program at the university.
Researchers at UC-San Diego and the Burnham Institute also are discussing a collaborative research project, and said they might apply for Proposition 71 funds in the future.
All of the research institutes stressed that they will follow strict ethical guidelines (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).
Members of the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee "don't know" when "California's stem cell research is going to get off the ground," ICOC member Richard Murphy writes in a Union-Tribune opinion piece.
Murphy, who also is president and CEO of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, continues, "One hopes that in 2006, opponents will finally fail in their misguided effort to block the progression of stem cell research." However, during the "temporary setback," the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has "construct[ed] an impressive infrastructure to ensure the program's success," Murphy writes (Murphy, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).