Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Biopolitical Times Questions Rationale for Future CIRM Funding

The case that California stem cell Chairman Robert Klein is trying to make for more funding for the $3 billion research effort rings hollow, according to the Center for Genetics and Society.

Writing on the group's Biopolitical Times blog, Jesse Reynolds, the Berkeley center's project director on biotechnology accountability, said that another ballot measure for stem cell research would fail. He said,
“...(I)nstead of the promised cures of the Proposition 71 campaign, reality-based voters see dramatic cuts in the state's essential services, liberalized federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and a potential alternative in cellular reprogramming.”
Reynolds made his comments in the wake of a cover story in the San Francisco Examiner about the state of CIRM. Reynolds wrote that Klein “unsurprisingly defends its continued funding.”

Reynolds continued,
“But Klein’s arguments ring hollow. First, he cites an economic study that concludes the program has generated significant tax revenue. But that study's conclusions were controversial, and in any case $100 million is far less than the billion dollars the CIRM has already spent. The program is certainly not paying for itself, as he suggests now and as he claimed before the vote on Proposition 71.

“Second, Klein cites reduced health care costs. He goes so far as to say, 'First of all, we’re saving lives.' While I sincerely hope that embryonic stem cell research leads to therapies, that is not yet the case. Clinical trials are yet to begin. (Maybe next year?) Until there are genuine therapies, such savings remain hypothetical.”

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