State-Funded Stem Cell Research Slow to Yield Trials, Treatments
A slow rate of progress in stem cell research funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine could impact whether lawmakers in Massachusetts decide to approve funding for similar research initiatives, the Boston Globe reports (Wallack, Boston Globe, 2/11).
California voters in 2004 approved Proposition 71 to provide $3 billion in funding for a state stem cell agency (California Healthline, 2/4).
Later this month, Massachusetts lawmakers are expected to vote on a plan by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) that would provide $1 billion in funding for life sciences research. About $500 million of the funds would support public research and education facilities, including a stem cell bank.
Unlike California, the Massachusetts research funding is not restricted to stem cell research. However, the Globe reports that the majority of the money, as in other states, will go toward life sciences research, which typically does not produce short-term results.
Alan Trounson, president of CIRM, said, "There are very few substantial developments [in medical science] that have happened in less than 25 years." He added, "There have been some, but they tend to be rare."
Trounson said he is hopeful that some stem cell therapies will be in clinical trials within a decade but noted that it will probably take several years beyond that to win approval from regulators (Boston Globe, 2/11).