Monday, December 13, 2010

CIRM Director Prieto Weighs in on Letter From Scientists

Another member of the governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency today questioned a letter from 11 leading stem cell scientists supporting the re-election of Robert Klein as chairman.

Francisco Prieto, a Sacramento physician, commented on remarks by David Serrano Sewell, a CIRM board member and San Francisco deputy city attorney, in the “11 Scientists” item earler today. Prieto also said that the chairman of the agency did not need to have substantial scientific experience as proposed by the 11 scientists.

Prieto said,
“I have to agree with David. This decision is a board responsibility, and our concern is what is best for the future of CIRM. These scientists have the right to weigh in as does any other citizen, but I question at least part of their premise: We may indeed need ' substantial scientific and medical experience,' but there is no particular reason that this expertise must be in the person of the chair. I would argue it more appropriately rests with a VP for R&D, a position we have been trying to fill for much too long now. Bob Klein has an impressive fund of scientific and medical knowledge, but it is largely self-taught, and we may decide that our ongoing division of responsibilities at CIRM should change as the agency matures and evolves.”

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