Friday, May 06, 2005

Looking at the Stem Cell Players

The stem cell HQ beauty contest has attracted all the attention in recent days, but other doings of the agency are more important in producing the cures that Prop. 71 promised.

Reporter Carl Hall of the San Francisco Chronicle this morning put together a good look at the selection of some key players and their significance.

Hall quoted Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate and former head of the National Institutes of Health, who now serves as president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

"'A lot of money is involved, and people are concerned about the outcome,' Varmus said. 'If the money goes to the wrong people, that would be terrible. It would undermine confidence in the public process. But there is, in principle, no reason this can't work as well as the federal system' of dispersing money for scientific research."

While Hall focused on selection and names of members of the working groups(the scientists who will make grant recommendations to the Oversight Committee), he also wrote about the selection of a president.

"Some of the more-often-mentioned possibilities include James Battey, who has directed a stem cell task force for the National Institutes of Health and directed the NIH's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; Per Pedersen, who was identified as a senior staff scientist for Johnson & Johnson in Sweden; and George Daley, a top-rated stem cell researcher at Harvard University who already has agreed to be an ad hoc science adviser for the stem cell program.”

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