Sunday, November 11, 2007

CIRM: An Evaluation at Age Three

The Sacramento Bee this morning carried an evaluation of the performance of the California stem cell agency, which is three years old this month.

Produced by this writer, the opinion piece said, among other things,
"By many measures, the institute is a huge success. Its impact stretches well beyond state boundaries and has stimulated the growth of similar research efforts in six other states and excitement in even more. The agency has established what are widely regarded as the toughest research and ethical standards for embryonic stem cell research in the nation. It has pioneered development of revenue sharing requirements that will come into play if successful medical therapies are created.

"But by other standards, including its own strategic plan, the institute doesn't measure up. The money is not flowing as fast as called for. Rosy campaign promises of cures and an economic boom still await fulfillment. Built-in conflicts of interests pervade the institute's activities. A penchant for closed-door grant reviews and secrecy screens much of the institute's most important decisions from public view. And, more than once, calls have arisen for the resignation of its chairman, Robert Klein, a man who triggers both admiration and animosity."
Given the space constraints of print media, condensation required the omission of much more that could be said, both pro and con. To provide a more comprehensive picture, we are carrying below a statement by California stem cell chairman Robert Klein and comments from CIRM's chief communications officer, Dale Carlson, prior to his departure from the agency.

Also useful are the following items: CIRM's strategic plan, the California state auditor's report on CIRM, a report by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a report and update by the Center for Genetics and Society and remarks by interim CIRM president Richard Murphy from the transcript (pages 16-25) of the October Oversight Committee meeting

Your comments are invited as well. You can post them directly by clicking on the word "comments" at the end of this item. We prefer that you use your name when commenting, but remarks can be posted anonymously, protected from disclosure to even this writer by the provider (Google) of this web site. Or you can send your comments directly to me:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent piece, Dave. And the website looks like a solid contribution to a great project. Hope to run into you on streets of Davis some time, Mark Braly


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