“Rather than getting into an ongoing debate about the adequacy of the existing peer review process, it should suffice to say that a distinguished, independent review found the current process to be insular and somewhat incestuous.”
"Michael Kalichman, director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology in San Diego, said the IOM report offers 'thoughtful' and constructive criticism.
"'As funding becomes more limited, and this is likely, it will be necessary to make hard choices about what is and is not worth funding,' Kalichman said. 'Even if the decisions made are truly the best possible decisions, there is a high risk of the perception that particular voices represented on the ICOC (the agency's governing board) are heard better than those who are not represented.'”
Fikes' piece provided the first public IOM comment from Robert Klein, the former chairman of the stem cell agency. Klein directed the writing of the 10,000-word ballot initiative that created the stem cell agency eight years ago. He additionally crafted good portions of the measure including detailed qualifications for the chairman that appeared to restrict the choice to only one person in the state. Klein also lobbied his former colleagues vigorously and successfully last year for $40 million for StemCells, Inc., of Newark, Ca.,
“Who exactly would be qualified to be on such a IOM-approved board and why should we Californians (and stem cell scientists and other stakeholders) trust them to be informed and passionate about stem cell research the way the current ICOC(the agency governing board) has shown itself to be over and over again? The IOM provides no answer to this question.”