CIRM Develops Infrastructure While Waiting To Access Proposition 71 Funds
It will take at least 15 months for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to settle court challenges and access Proposition 71 funding if it wins the legal challenges, CIRM President Zach Hall said on Thursday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. State voters approved Proposition 71 in November 2004 to fund stem cell research.
In the meantime, the institute will develop standards and strategic plans, install its computer system and solicit grant applications for programs, Hall said. Establishing the institute's infrastructure will allow it to immediately allocate grants to approved research programs when funding becomes available, according to Hall.
Also on Thursday, CIRM started a fundraising effort for nongrant scientific activity. For example, the institute plans to hold conferences, including one scheduled in May to discuss the medical risks of egg donations and ways to reduce those risks.
CIRM currently has less than $4 million and expects to spend that by the end of June. The institute to date has spent $4.15 million of $8 million it raised through a state loan and a philanthropic donation.
CIRM Chair Robert Klein has been trying to raise $50 million in philanthropic donations, which would be repaid if the institute wins the legal challenges (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13).
Summaries of two recent editorials addressing stem cell research appear below.
Los Angeles Times: "[T]here's still time" for CIRM "to make good on its promise" to fund stem cell research, a Times editorial states, adding that "California must be sure its program is both accountable and ethical before it starts handing out grants." The editorial states, "The promise of stem cell research remains strong, as does that of" CIRM (Los Angeles Times, 1/17).
- Washington Post: State capitals "remain a bad place to dispense" stem cell research funding because the "hype" surrounding such research "makes it particularly difficult for states, which do little basic research funding, to judge the value of individual stem cell research projects," a Post editorial states (Washington Post, 1/13).