Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snippets: Stem Cell Lending to Pizzo Profile

Biotech Loan Program – Coming up Feb. 19 is another CIRM hearing on its ambitious plans for a biotech loan program. This session will be in La Jolla with a teleconference link to San Francisco. If you want to take part in developing the criteria for the effort, which is the brainchild of California stem cell chairman Robert Klein, you should plan on attending or at least sending comments to CIRM. The program could total as much as $750 million, according to Klein, and is aimed at financing development of stem cell therapies in cases where conventional financing is not available. The schedule also calls for a presentation on the plan to the Oversight Committee at its March meeting.

Bush v. CIRM -- The California stem cell agency's statement concerning President Bush and his comments this week regarding stem cell research stirred a mini-debate on a bioethics blog run by Los Angeles physician Maurice Bernstein. You can find the exchange here.

Pizzo Profile – The Fordham alumni magazine carried a nice profile of Philip Pizzo written by Carl Hall, who has covered stem cell issues for the San Francisco Chronicle. Pizzo (see photo from Stanford) serves on the CIRM Oversight Committee and is dean of the Stanford School of Medicine. Among other things, the piece says:
"Even some of the most persistent critics of the California stem cell enterprise credit the value of Pizzo’s steady ethical compass during debate over public oversight and financial standards. While other members of the stem cell governing board filed lengthy financial disclosures, including a fair share of monetary ties to biomedical concerns, Pizzo’s declaration was essentially a blank slate: He steers well clear of any entangling investments, a pattern that can be traced back to his days at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he was head of the infectious disease section of the National Cancer Institute from 1980 to 1996."
The piece appeared in the summer issue but we ran across it only recently.

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