Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dennis Steindler Application: Excerpt from Review Summary

The CIRM summary of the review on the $6.7 million grant to recruit Florida scientist Dennis Steindler to the Parkinson's Institute in California carried a strong minority report. However, the review itself drew fire this morning from some CIRM board members.

They included patient advocate Jeff Sheehy, co-vice chair of the grant review group, who supported approval of the grant. He noted that the low score reflected two extreme opinions. He said some of the reviewers were doing their research on the Parkinson's Institute on the Internet during the actual review.  Sheehy said that was not a "good way" to perform a review and reflected a "major short-coming." 

Here is an excerpt from the review.
"In summary, this is an application from an established leader in NSC biology to pursue research focused on disease mechanisms in PD. Strengths of the proposal include the quality of the PI, the focus of the project on an interesting hypothesis, and the leadership in basic science that the candidate would bring to the applicant institution. Weaknesses included deficiencies in the research plan, the limited track-record of the PI in PD research and an institutional environment lacking adequate support for basic science investigations."
The summary continued, 
"During programmatic discussion some GWG (grant review group) members cited a need to broaden stem cell leadership not only at the large universities but also at the smaller institutions as well. They felt that the candidate's recruitment would strengthen the applicant institution and provide leadership and strength in basic research. The need for increased research focused on Parkinson's Disease was also cited by some reviewers. A motion to recommend the application for funding carried with a majority vote. Because more than 35% of GWG members opposed the motion, opponents have exercised their right to have that position reported to the ICOC. The consensus statement from this group is as follows: 'Despite the facts that the applicant has many excellent attributes, that Parkinson's disease is a key area of interest, and that the applicant institution may deserve additional consideration, our opinion is that the application clearly falls short in several critical scientific areas that outweigh the programmatic concerns and do not justify a recommendation for funding. We believe that the people of California depend upon us to make recommendations based on our scientific expertise, for outcomes that are most likely to impact medicine and the health and treatment of their citizens. We believe that their money can be better spent.'"

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