California Stem Cell Research Agency Outlines Spending Plans for $3 Billion

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Stem Cell Research Agency Outlines Spending Plans for $3 Billion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6
, 2006

Sacramento, CA ( — The agency charged with spending the $3 billion in taxpayer funds California voters authorized for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research has outlined its plans for the money. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine unveiled the plan on Tuesday showing its plans over the next 10 years.

The plan only suggests that the research will enter into clinical trials and other research will remain in progress.

In essence, the panel indicated no new medical therapies will result from the stem cell research it plans to fund with the huge sum of tax money.

Dale Carlson, spokesperson for the panel, defended the lack of results in the plan saying "this field is really in its infancy."

"We really don’t understand as much as we need to about the way stem cells work and why stem cells develop the way they do," he said.

Others say the plan shows no cures for diseases because it focuses too heavily on embryonic stem cell research while the use of adult stem cells has already produced dozens of treatments and possible cures.

The plan breaks down the funding into three areas with $823 million to develop more fundamental knowledge about stem cell research in general, $899 million for preclinical research and development and $656 million for clinical trials and related research.

Another $273 million is meant to build what the panel calls "NIH free" laboratories — labs that don’t involve any government money from the National Institutes of Health. That’s necessary because the federal government currently does not fund any new embryonic stem cell research.

The plan hasn’t been finalized and must still be approved by the institute’s 29-member governing board. The board plans to meet Tuesday in Los Angeles to begin finalizing the document and a final vote is expected in December.

The plan is also subject to a lawsuit involving two taxpayer groups and the California Family Bioethics Council. They said Proposition 71, which was approved in November 2004, violated the state constitution because it created a publicly funded agency that was not "under the exclusive management and control" of the state.

California Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw in April ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show the proposition is "clearly, positively and unmistakably unconstitutional," but her ruling has been appealed.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has kept the panel afloat with a loan of up to $150 million he granted in July.