Thursday, November 03, 2005

Looking for Stem Cell Research Money?

Zach Hall, president of the California stem cell agency, has provided some clues to the direction of upcoming research grants – should CIRM be able to secure funding.

Reporter Rebecca Vesely of the Oakland Tribune carried Hall's comments in her story about Wednesday's meeting of the Oversight Committee.

"Hall said in the short term he would like to start approving innovation grants of several hundred thousand dollars each, with a focus on new ideas and bringing the brightest scientists into the field of stem cell research," Vesely wrote.

"'I think we should not be afraid at this point to try some risky fields,' he said.

"Hall also said the institute should start issuing 'safe haven' grants — those that would fund physical space to do embryonic stem cell research. Federal rules restricting embryonic stem cell research prohibit scientists from using federally funded laboratories for most embryonic stem cell research."

Vesely said the agency is drawing up plans for a one-day conference on the health risks of embryo donation, focusing on the scientific evidence of the risks -- not on the political debate surrounding egg donation.

Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Examiner quoted Hall as saying, “We believe it is our responsibility to become better informed … to look critically at the evidence. What is the data? What is the best end? What are the best practices to reduce risks?”

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