Private Funding Aids Stem Cell Agency
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine continues to await state funding that is being blocked by lawsuits, yet private philanthropic organizations have donated bonds to allow the state's stem cell research agency to begin operation, the Washington Post reports (Geis, Washington Post, 12/19).
California voters in 2004 approved Proposition 71, which provides $3 billion in stem cell research funding over 10 years. The funding was primarily intended to finance human embryonic stem cell research.
However, two lawsuits challenging the measure's constitutionality have prevented the agency from awarding grants. The cases are pending before an appellate court in San Francisco (California Healthline, 11/21).
Philanthropic organizations in November donated $31 million to allow CIRM to begin operating and awarding research grants. Also in November, a state finance committee approved a $150 million state loan from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) that will be repaid only if the lawsuits seeking to block public funding fail.
The agency next year will award $24 million in training grants for stem cell scientists and $80 million in research grants (Washington Post, 12/19).