Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Stem Cell Labs for California: The $1.1 Billion CIRM Achievement

The California stem cell agency and 12 universities and research institutions today officially kicked off an unprecedented, $1.1 billion stem cell lab construction program that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed as "good news" for both science and the economy.

The agency completed action on the grant program this morning and announced a new total figure for the building effort -- $1.1 billion instead of roughly $800 million. CIRM said the revised amount resulted from "additional institutional commitments for faculty recruitment packages and other related capital costs."

In a news release from CIRM, Schwarzenegger said,
"This will go a long way toward medical research that could save lives and improve them for people with chronic diseases. But also, this kind of public-private investment in a growing jobs sector is exactly the kind of good news our economy needs right now."
Robert Klein, chairman of CIRM, said,
"This Prop. 71 stem cell research facilities program is one of the largest building programs ever dedicated for a new field of medical science and it will deliver an impact that will be felt world-wide."
Alan Trounson, president of CIRM, said,
"These facilities will house basic and clinical researchers working collaboratively, with stem-cell-specific core labs literally ‘down the hall’ – an arrangement that is instrumental to our ability to accelerate the pace of research toward clinical application."
The news release from CIRM also quoted a number of the private donors who were tapped to provide additional funds to the institutions, including Eli Broad, whose foundation ponied up more than $50 million to UCLA and USC. He said,
"California is at the epicenter of stem cell research,.By creating new research centers and attracting the very best scientists from around the world, we will enable the rapid progress of one of the most promising areas of scientific and medical research today. The partnership between public institutions, the state, private foundations and donors demonstrates the unprecedented commitment California is making to stem cell research."
Also quoted by CIRM was Li Ka-shing, a Hong Kong philanthropist who contributed $40 million to UC Berkeley. He said,
"When I made a gift to support the establishment of the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences at Berkeley, I was inspired by the passage of Prop. 71 and the promise of significant advances in stem-cell research."
The institutions receiving the government funding are the University of California campuses at Davis, Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Merced, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and Irvine, the San Diego Stem Cell Consortium (which includes UC San Diego, Scripps, Salk and Burnham institutes), Stanford, USC and the Buck Institute north of San Francisco.

Eight of the applicants took a 9 percent reduction in the initially recommended amounts, opting to take the cash sooner rather than later.

CIRM's news release includes details about program, including a breakdown of what was requested and the amount granted. Sphere: Related Content

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