The contingent from the San Diego area told directors and agency officials they were not moving fast enough to fund a research effort that they supported.
One patient advocate, Jenifer Raub of San Diego, said it was "outrageous" that the effort could not even be considered by reviewers until next March with no funding until about 2017. Another unidentified patient said,
"Don't let policy, bureacracy and procedures stop this for another year."Agency officials said that the time is required to meet legal requirements for the competitive grant process and reviews of the proposals that would be submitted.
Individuals appearing at the meeting were largely associated with Summit4StemCell of San Diego and have raised to $2 million to back research by Jeanne Loring, head of the stem cell program at Scripps Research in La Jolla. The comments appeared spontaneous in reaction to the CIRM staff presentation on the new program. Loring told the California Stem Cell Report she did not organize the comments.
The agency's new, four-round, translation research program promises cash to researchers within nine months of submission. The program says that applications will be accepted in September and March of each year. Asked about the timetable, Mills told the California Stem Cell Report that it will begin in 2016.
Mills later told the board that the agency needed to be responsive to patient needs. He said he would "see if there is anything we can do." He said he would report back to the board on the matter.
(The last paragraph in this item was added about one hour after its initial posting.)