State Officials Moving Forward on Plans for Stem Cell Research Institute
California officials over the next two months will work to build the Institute for Regenerative Medicine "from scratch," including finalizing appointments for the organization's governing body; selecting the institute's directors; appointing members of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee; establishing a permanent location; appointing working groups; and hiring as many as 50 staff members, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/21).
The institute's creation is explicated and funded by Proposition 71, which voters approved Nov. 2 to issue state bonds that will raise an average of $295 million annually over 10 years to promote stem cell research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center, as well as grants and loans for lab projects. State analysts say the measure will cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 11/18).
State officials by Dec. 12 must appoint 18 of the 27 members on the oversight committee's governing board, the Union-Tribune reports.
By Dec. 17, the institute's oversight committee must meet for the first time and elect a chair and vice chair from a list of recommended nominees created by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D), Controller Steve Westly (D) and Treasurer Phil Angelides (D). The chair and vice chair positions can be full- or part-time paid positions, according to the Union-Tribune.
After those positions are filled, committee members within 30 days must appoint three working groups to establish recommendations for standards, review funding applications and decide who should receive grants. All committee members must live and work in the state, but it is "likely that researchers outside the state will be tapped to play a role in the working groups," the Union-Tribune reports.
According to the Union-Tribune, those being considered for the committee, including scientists, will not be allowed to apply for any funding and must not decide on applications from researchers at institutions with which they are affiliated (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/21).
The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined how many states are "scrambling to prevent their top researchers from being raided" by California officials seeking scientists for the stem cell initiative.
Influenced in part by the approval of Proposition 71, some states have announced or plan to announce additional funding for stem cell research and legislation endorsing such research. However, California's allocation of $3 billion for the research "is well beyond most states' reaches," the Los Angeles Times reports (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 11/22).
The Contra Costa Times on Monday examined opposition to Proposition 71, including concern from some critics that voters "may not fully understand what they have endorsed"; that the initiative could limit funding for other state services; and that it is "unclear" whether the state will benefit from the investment (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 11/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.