Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ten Year Performance of Stem Cell Agency: Top Execs' Comments

Here is the text of what Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the California stem cell agency, and Randy Mills, president of the agency, had to say about its performance over the last 10 years.

Their remarks came after the agency was asked for comments from them for an article that appeared in The Sacramento Bee Nov. 16, 2014. The piece was written by David Jensen, publisher of this blog.   

The agency was told that it was likely that their comments would be severely limited in the piece in The Bee because of the space limitations of the print media. They and others queried were also told that the full text of their comments would be carried on this Web site.

Here are the comments from Jonathan Thomas: 
"In just a few short years we have helped accelerate the pace of research in California so that we are now funding ten projects that have moved out of the lab and into clinical trials in patients. These include trials in heart disease and diabetes, cancer and blindness, HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease. By any standards this is a remarkable achievement. But this is really only the start. We have a pipeline of other truly promising therapies that we hope to  move into clinical trials in people in the next few years." 
 "We are a long way from running out of money. We have almost one billion dollars left to award to researchers. At our current rate of spending we'll be able to continue funding new projects until 2020, and we are already working on developing new sources of income to help us keep funding the most promising projects long after that. Without us, without our support, many of the most promising stem cell research projects in California could come to a stop. Those projects are far too important to the millions of people suffering from a wide range of deadly diseases and disorders. We don't intend to let that happen.”
"In ten years and more than 660 grants there have only been a handful of cases where there have been concerns about a conflict of interest and those were all acted upon quickly to remove even the perception of any conflict. The changes we made in response to the IOM report further strengthened the integrity of our process and demonstrated just how seriously we take these matters."  
Here is the comment from Randy Mills: 
"Everything we do centers around the patients, about developing successful therapies for people in need. Our first ten years laid the groundwork and now we are making changes to speed up the way we work, to make it easier for the most promising projects to get the funds they need when they need them, to accelerate the development of effective therapies and to do everything possible to ensure that we live up to the faith the people of California showed in us when they created the stem cell agency.”

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