New Jersey Will Award Millions in Embryonic Stem Cell Research Grants

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Will Award Millions in Embryonic Stem Cell Research Grants

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 18
, 2006

Trenton, NJ ( — Just days after the New Jersey state legislature gave final approval to a $270 million plan to build new stem cell research centers there, Gov. Jon Corzine announced the state will spend millions of taxpayer funds on stem cell research.

However, 70 percent of the $10 million worth of grants will go to scientists using embryonic stem cells, which involve the destruction of human life to obtain.

That puts the state in league with California, Illinois, Maryland and Connecticut as one of the first states to spend taxpayer funds on stem cell research.

"These grants, combined with the recently passed stem cell legislation, represent a serious and vital investment in this live-saving research," Corzine said, according to an AP report.

Corzine said the grants were needed because of "absence of support at the federal level," however, the Bush administration has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on adult stem cell research, the only kind to show any progress with human patients.

The $7 million in embryonic stem cell research grants will go towards building embryonic stem cell research facilities while the $3 million in adult stem cell research grants will go to academic, nonprofit and for-profit institutions.

Applicants can submit letters to the state showing an interest in the grants until February 28 and must complete full applications by March 8. Grant recipients are expected to be announced next June.

The grant money comes from the $31 billion budget the state legislature approved in July.

On Thursday, the legislature finalized approval of a bill that would have the state spend $270 million on new stem cell research centers.

The measure includes $150 million to build stem cell research institutes in New Brunswick, Camden, and an adult stem cell research facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

The state Assembly approved the bill on a 53-24 vote with four Republicans joining all forty-nine Democrats voting for it.

Marie Tasy, the director of New Jersey Right to Life, decried the vote and said it would result in "the exploitation of women and the mass production of cloned human embryos and fetuses for use in destructive experimental research."

Tasy pointed to a 2003 law which allows scientists to clone and kill human embryos for research purposes.

"[Scientists] will have absolute authority to clone and kill human beings through the embryo, fetal and newborn stages for their organs, parts and tissues,” Tasy said.

The measure is part of a two-bill package that also includes legislation to put a referendum on the state ballot to borrow $230 million for stem cell research. New Jersey would borrow that amount over seven years.

The Senate approved that measure 26 to 9 in July but would need to vote again because of changes to the bill in the Assembly.

Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life –