Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The "Hard Case" of Stem Cell Sound Bites and a Campaign to Raise Billions

The journal Nature today reported on the $5.5 billion plan to save what it called the "struggling" California stem cell agency, which is fast running out of cash for new research awards. 

In an article by Jonathan Lambert, Nature caught up with news that it is not so new to readers of this web site. 

The piece carried information from Robert Klein, who expects to lead a new ballot initiative effort late next year to provide the billions more for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known. 

Nature also had this from a man who served on the Institute of Medicine team that evaluated the California program in 2012.
Aaron Levine, Georgia Tech photo
"Aaron Levine, a science-policy researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, says that CIRM has put California at the center of stem-cell research worldwide. 'CIRM has been really important in driving stem-cell research forward, especially in the preclinical and proof-of-concept space,' he says. 
"But he isn’t sure whether that will convince voters to keep supporting the agency." 
The Nature article continued,
"'It will be interesting to see if the campaign is one of promised cures, or something a bit more nuanced,' says Levine. 'It takes time for a whole new field of research to result in cures, but that’s a hard case to make to voters in short sound bites.'"
Nature said Klein told it that he will form a non-profit lobbying arm in October or November to help support the campaign next year. 

The journal also said changes in the stem cell research program were anticipated in the new ballot initiative.  
"These include creating a dedicated staff of 10–15 people who would work with insurance companies and patients to improve access to clinical trials and future therapies."
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