Stem Cell Institute Grants Likely Delayed Until Fall, Hall Says
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine likely will not begin issuing research grants until the fall, CIRM Interim President Zach Hall said on Tuesday during a conference call, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Hall said the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the board created by Proposition 71 to develop CIRM, needed time to adopt grant guidelines and appoint a committee to review grant applications. Hall added that no money can be distributed until the state Supreme Court resolves two lawsuits filed against Proposition 71.
"[T]here is a tension ... between wanting to get started on this as quickly as possible and wanting to proceed in as careful and measured a way as possible," Hall said, adding, "As we face the practical realities, we take a little less aggressive schedule" (Mecoy, Sacramento Bee, 3/16).
In order to avoid restrictions over using stem cells in federally funded research facilities, Hall said that CIRM might consider creating regional laboratories for stem cell research, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under Bush administration policies, scientists cannot use federal funds or equipment procured with federal funds to perform research on stem cells created after August 2001. Hall said scientists could avoid restrictions by using CIRM-funded laboratories (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 3/16).
In related news, officials from the University of California-Los Angeles, announced plans to spend $20 million over five years to establish a stem cell research institute, the Bee reports. Using funds from existing accounts, the University of California-Los Angeles plans to add 12 new faculty positions and salaries, supplies and an expansion of existing lab space (Sacramento Bee, 3/16).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Wednesday reported on California cities' bids to host CIRM headquarters. The segment includes comments from Stephen Burl, head of San Francisco's Biotechnology Task Force; Robert Klein, acting CIRM interim president; Paul Krutko, director of the San Jose Office of Economic Development; and Julie Meier Wright, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (Varney, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/16). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPBS' "KPBS News" on Wednesday reported on San Diego's bid. The segment includes comments from Meier Wright (Anderson, "KPBS News," KPBS, 3/16). The complete transcript is available online.