Scientific Institutes Will Build California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Facility

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientific Institutes Will Build California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Facility Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10, 2006

San Diego, CA ( — Four research institutes are joining together to build a new embryonic stem cell research facility in San Diego, California and plan to request funds from the Proposition 71 committee that was authorized to dole out $3 billion in taxpayer funds for the unproven research.

The four institutes, including the University of California-San Diego, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, say they have bandied together,

None of the four will pursue funding from the committee on their own but will pursue it jointly in order to build the new facility.

They say building the new embryonic stem cell research center is important because current facilities that are funding with federal taxpayer dollars can’t use the money to pay for any new embryonic stem cell research.

That’s the policy of President George W. Bush, who has decided to steer federal research dollars to adult stem cells, which have already produced treatments for 80 diseases and conditions. Embryonic stem cell research isn’t anywhere close to being ready to help patients.

The University of California San Diego says it will find a site on its campus to house the institute.

The four partners, according to a San Diego Tribune report, would establish the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, a nonprofit group that would run the center.

Three leaders from the institutes serve on the stem cell research panel but they would not be allowed to vote on grants to their institutions.

Zach Hall, president of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine committee, told the Tribune he was happy with the news.

“I’m delighted to see this,” said Zach Hall, the institute’s president. “This is just the kind of thing we want to encourage – institutes working together on stem cell research and pooling their resources.”

California voters approved Prop. 71 in November 2004, but the committee has yet to be able to distribute any funds because it has been tied up in court. Taxpayers groups and a bioethics watchdog filed suit against the panel saying it has violated conflict of interest laws and laws requiring state oversight in spending tax funds.