Klein Says Stem Cell Oversight Committee Will Not Award Grants Until Research Guidelines Adopted
Independent Citizens Oversight Committee Chair Robert Klein on Tuesday said that the committee will not begin awarding grants until the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine created by Proposition 71 has adopted research guidelines, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Klein's comments came during his first full-length interview since becoming ICOC chair and were intended "to reassure supporters and critics," according to the Chronicle.
Klein last week said that the committee could begin awarding grants as early as May. However, some critics, including "prominent backers of the stem cell program," expressed concerns over the May target date, saying that "shortcuts ... could wind up undermining public support for the enterprise," the Chronicle reports.
Klein said, "[T]he key to the May goal is that I will not recommend that the board fund any grant until the institute has the nation's best standards in place."
ICOC is charged with adopting an interim set of guidelines for research. Once interim standards are approved and the first grant cycle has begun, Klein said the committee will have 270 days during which standards can be altered.
According to the Chronicle, Klein is "counting on a comprehensive set of stem cell guidelines" from the Washington, D.C.-based National Academies "to help speed things along."
Jonathan Moreno, director of biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia and co-chair of the National Academies committee, said he expected the guidelines to be released by April, following a final round of external review and revisions. "For academics, this is a breakneck pace," Moreno said (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/13).