Sunday, May 08, 2005

Rich and Rounded....That's the Way It Is

Charles Halpern is not a man pleased by much about the California stem cell agency. But, according to reporter Carl Hall of the San Francisco Chronicle, Halpern, a former law school dean and longtime agency critic, sounded happy that the agency settled on San Francisco for its permanent headquarters.

“He said the Bay Area's penchant for political activism will ensure 'a rich and rounded discussion' of every move the institute makes,” Hall wrote.

"'There's a whole network of civil society institutions around here that care about this stuff,' Halpern said. 'So it's a good thing the (institute) will be located in the hub of that kind of intellectual and critical discussion. That's a very positive thing. Only through a well-informed public dialog will this program be able to succeed.'"

Hall's piece also warned that folks should lower their expectations about cashing in on an immediate stem cell gold rush.

“Stem cell research is too early-stage to qualify as the next pillar of the regional economy, UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop said during an interview Saturday. 'There's not much of an industry around stem cells yet,' he said. 'We haven't even figured out how to make the stem cells do what we need them to do to be useful clinically. Until that is done, it's a pretty shaky base for startups.

"'I'd like be more rah-rah, but that's the way it is.'"
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