Tuesday, September 11, 2018

SF Chronicle Backs Away From More Cash for California's Stem Cell Agency

The San Francisco Chronicle, which has the largest circulation of any newspaper in Northern California, today said the results generated so far by state's $3 billion stem cell agency "don’t argue for expanded public spending."

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known, expects to run out of cash for new awards at the end of next year. It is seeking to raise privately $220 million to tide it over until November 2020, when it hopes that voters will approve a $5 billion bond measure for continued stem cell research.

However, in a formal unsigned editorial published on its website, the Chronicle said,
"The results to date don’t argue for expanded public spending. The science of stem cell work will need to evolve before more money is provided."
The editorial followed a four-part series  in the Chronicle looking into the state of stem cell research. The final installment last week said the agency had fallen short of the high voter expectations when they approved creation of the agency in 2004. The agency has not yet backed development of a therapy that is available for widespread use, although it currently has investments in 49 clinical trials.

The Chronicle, which says it has a readership of more than 500,000, said,
"California’s pioneering decision to spend $3 billion on stem cell research isn’t producing cures after 14 years of work. Instead, it’s generating a widening scientific field that shows potential but not results.
"It’s a frustrating shortcoming, especially as supporters of the state-sponsored research weigh another bond measure to continue the work. Promised breakthroughs used to sell Proposition 71 in 2004 aren’t panning out, a Chronicle investigation found."
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