Friday, January 11, 2013

Nature Biotechnology: California Stem Cell Agency Receives 'Stinging Rebuke'

The headline this week in Nature Biotechnology read: “IOM smacks down California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.”

The story by Senior Editor Laura DeFrancesco said that the $3 billion California stem cell agency “received a stinging rebuke of much of the way it has been carrying out its business by a group of independent reviewers.”

At the same time, DeFranesco wrote that the blue-ribbon, Institute of Medicine panel “praised the courage and vision of the individuals who spearheaded the program as well as those toiling in the CIRM office in San Francisco.”

The Nature Biotechnology piece covered familiar ground for many readers, summarizing the IOM's sweepingrecommendations last month, including those dealing with the built-in conflicts of interest on the agency's 29-member governing board.

DeFrancesco wrote that is unclear whether the agency will move to adopt any of the recommendations from the panel, many of which have been rejected in the past.

Some members of the CIRM governing board last month bristled at some of the recommendations. The board is scheduled to discuss the IOM report, for which it paid $700,000, at a public meeting Jan. 23 in Berkeley. Patient advocates are already organizing a turn-out to lobby against some recommendations.  

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