Read the latest news about the California stem cell agency on our new platform. The link below will take you there. You can subscribe free today by clicking on the button at the end of the article below. Don't miss any of the latest doings at the $12 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The Los Angeles Times says the California Stem Cell Report is "indispensable" reading. More than 3 million page views can't be wrong.
Friday, December 17, 2021
Friday, August 13, 2021
Bluebird bio's $1.8 Million Setback on Gene Therapy: Is It a Growing Sign of Rejection of Reimbursement Profit Models?
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Subscribe Free Today to the California Stem Cell Report -- - The Most Comprehensive Source for the Ins and Outs of California's $12 Billion Stem Cell Program
Don't miss important fresh news and information about California's $12 billion stem cell research agency. It is charting a new course with new opportunities and significant changes in direction, including a greater emphasis on the fast-growing gene therapy field.
The changes already mean a lot for patients, researchers and policymakers and will have an even greater impact in the next several years. Tracking the agency's affairs is not easy, but you can find what you need on the The California Stem Cell Report.
Dubbed "indispensable" and "authoritative" in the Los Angeles Times, the Report is the only regular, independent source of news and information dealing with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
It is news that can be found nowhere else. Plus it is comprehensive. More than 5,000 items have been published since CIRM was created in 2004.
You can subscribe free to the California Stem Cell Report on its new platform by clicking on the "Subscribe Today!" box on the upper right of this page. Or just go to one of the following recent stories and click on the subscribe button.California Stem Cell Agency Withholds $5.8 Million from Orchard in Bubble-Baby Flap; Money to Go to New Effort Involving Compassionate Use
Monday, May 24, 2021
Read All About It: Bubble Babies Hit by Suspension of Trial for Genetic Cure; California Taxpayers Paying for Trial
"Indispensable" is what the Los Angeles Times this morning called this blog, the California Stem Cell Report.
The comment came in a story that was triggered by our coverage of the Orchard-CIRM-UCLA bubble baby clinical trial, which was shoved aside by Orchard Therapeutics for financial reasons. That leaves a bunch of children out in the cold as far as the genetic treatment is concerned.
UCLA says the treatment has saved the lives of more than 50 persons.
Below is a list of the Orchard stories that we have carried on our new platform since we unearthed the issue on May 11. You can subscribe free to articles on our new home by clicking on the subscribe button in stories on the new platform. Subscribe today.
Here is the list.
Sunday, April 04, 2021
Essential Reading on California's Ground-Breaking, $12 Billion, Stem Cell/Gene Therapy Research Program
Don't miss out on news and information on the $12 billion California stem cell agency.
Its activities affect the lives of thousands of people and have the potential to affect the lives of millions of more. Not to mention that it is venturing into new areas of health policy and research.
Subscribe today to the California Stem Cell Report on its new platform. You can do so by clicking here and tapping the subscribe button. Plus it's free.
Cited as “indispensable” in the Los Angeles Times, the California Stem Cell Report is the only independent voice regularly reporting on the activities of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the stem cell agency is officially known. In 2012, the Institute of Medicine invited the publisher of this site to testify during its $700,000 evaluation of CIRM.
This report has covered CIRM since its inception in 2004 and has published more than 5,000 items and attracted more than 3 million page views.
It is essential reading if you have something at stake in what CIRM does and how it spends its money.
Here are links to recent articles on the California Stem Cell Report's new platform.
California's Sickle Cell Surge: Researchers Tackle Disease with First-Ever, Gene-Editing Clinical Trial
Friday, March 26, 2021
What Does 'Unlikely' Mean?
The talk at the California stem cell agency this week was of ”boiling the ocean,” the meaning of “unlikely” and “DEI.” All of which involves how $5.5 billion in taxpayer dollars will be used over the next decade or so....
Read all about it on the new platform for the California Stem Cell Report. And please subscribe on the new site to keep seeing the most complete and independent source of information on the doings at the state's $12 billion therapy development enterprise.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
CIRM directors tomorrow take up the matter of how the agency chooses the judges of applications for billions of California stem cell research dollars. You can read more about what's in store on the new platform of the California Stem Cell Report.
You can also make sure you don't miss any of the news by subscribing free. It's easy. Just click on the subscribe button when you go to the link below.
Looking at how scientists are chosen to score grant applications
The California stem cell agency has released its plans to revise the process of choosing the folks who make the de facto decisions on billions of dollars in research awards.
The revisions grew out of a meeting last month of the governing board of the $12 billion agency, officially called the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
Some directors sought more diversity among as many as 300 scientists who are tapped to review applications for awards. One director sought assurances that the process would lead to the selection of the most talented scientists, ones who also could be counted on work positively with others during the review process....
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Subscribe Today to the Leading Source of Information on a $12 Billion Source of Stem Cell Research Funding
It's time to subscribe -- free! -- to the California Stem Cell Report, which has moved to a new platform.
Don't miss news and information concerning critical developments at the $12 billion California stem cell agency. It is the leading, independent and reliable source for all that happens at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
With more than 3 million page views and more than 5,000 items during the last 16 years, the Report's readers range from researchers throughout California to across the nation. Not to mention policymakers and entrepreneurs in the burgeoning stem cell field. "Indispensable" is how the Los Angeles Times described the California Stem Cell Report.
You can subscribe on the blog's new platform while reading the latest CIRM news. Please do it today. Here are recent links and excerpts that will take you to the location where you can subscribe with just one click.
Building a Base of Voter Support
Can the stork be relied on to bring stem cell cash?
The respected California news service Capitol Weekly this week brought the exploits of the state’s $12 billion stem cell agency to a much wider audience than normal -- one that includes policymakers, lobbyists, lawmakers and even some information-hungry folks in the general public.
UC Davis Research Began More than 10 Years Ago
Bulldog pups were tested earlier in the spina bifida research and came out lively. UCD video
Backed by $17 million in cash from California’s stem cell agency, researchers at UC Davis this month are launching “the world’s first clinical trial using stem cells to treat spina bifida before the child is born.”...
Monday, March 08, 2021
|CIRM is now based in Oakland. Here is what it looked like prior to a CIRM board|
meeting in 2019. The view from the 16th floor includes the San Francisco Bay.
Photo: California Stem Cell Report
Editor’s note: Sixteen years ago California’s stem cell program was basically homeless. It had barely come into being. It had no way to pay its bills or even employees. This link will take you to an item from Jan. 25, 2005, on the California Stem Cell Report that captures a slice of what it was like back then. It also comments on today's situation at the agency's headquarters in Oakland, where space needs appear to be changing.
Speaking of changes, the California Stem Cell Report has moved to a new platform. Be sure to subscribe free on the new site so that you don't miss out on information that goes to researchers and policy makers throughout the state.
Friday, February 26, 2021
California's ambitious stem cell agency is in the midst of determining how it is going to spend $5.5 billion over the next decade or so. Its decisions are likely to affect millions of patients desperate for therapies and cures for afflictions ranging from cancer to diabetes. That is not to mention the agency's impact on health care policy and the thousands of scientists, technicians and others in their California laboratories.
The go-to source for independent information about the programs of the stem cell agency is this blog, which has readers in every major stem cell research organization in the Golden State, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
Over the last 16 years, the California Stem Cell Report has brought its readers exclusive information and news that can be found nowhere else. It has chronicled CIRM's accomplishments and its missteps over the years. And it is essential reading as CIRM wades into gene therapy, affordability efforts, personalized medicine and much more.
Here are links and excerpts from this week's California Stem Cell Report, which has moved to a new platform as it chronicles the latest chapters in the life of the agency known officially as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Subscribe to the "new" version of this blog through the "subscribe" buttons that can be found on its new platform at Substack. Three-million "views" of the site can't be wrong.
California’s stem cell agency today pumped an additional $165 million into its efforts to beef up the Golden State’s stem cell workforce, but not without a rumpus involving the actual cost of each additional worker, who range from technicians to physicians.
The agency and many of its 35-board members have touted the programs, which have been underway for a number of years. But earlier versions of the program, as well as the latest proposal, have not included a price tag for each of what the agency calls “ready-to-start” professionals.
That led to a contentious discussion among governing board members during which a variety of high-level figures surfaced. One calculation by a board member generated a cost of $1 million per person per year (video at end of this item).
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
"Hotel California" for Golden State Stem Cell Research? Plus the Bad Tidings on a $16 Million Clinical Trial Investment
Here are links and excerpts from items this morning on the California Stem Cell Report, which has moved to a new platform. Don't miss the exclusive and news about California's $12 billion stem cell/gene therapy program, including information that can be found nowhere else. Subscribe to the "semi-new" version of this blog through the "subscribe" buttons that can be found on the new site. Three-million "views" of the site can't be wrong.
Stem cell researchers yesterday discussed a possible facility in California to aid in stem cell research that was dubbed a stem-cell Hotel California after the famed Baja retreat.
California’s rejuvenated stem cell program yesterday received bad news about a $16 million clinical trial investment but also heard glowing praise from stem cell researchers who suggested ways to spend $5.5 billion more.
It all happened during a nearly five-hour session Monday morning devoted to crafting a new, five-year strategic plan for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known. The meeting came in the wake of voter passage last fall of Proposition 14, which saved the agency from death by a lack of dollars.....
Clark's Talk was Aimed at Needs in Basic Research
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
“'Our team of highly trained and experienced professionals,' the agency says, 'actively partners with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast-track the development of today’s most promising stem cell and regenerative medicine technologies.'
"The Oakland, Ca.-based agency is officially known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). It says it 'is the world’s largest institution dedicated to helping people by bringing the promise of regenerative medicine closer to reality.'
"At last report, the 16-year-old agency had 32 employees, down from a peak of more than 60 a few years back. But it has new and expanded responsibilities under Proposition 14....."
Thursday, February 04, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
CIRM Lays Out New Path: Funding More Buildings, More Research and Into New Territories (Personalized Medicine, Therapy Delivery)
California’s stem cell agency has for the first time laid out in some detail its view of the sweeping scope of its new charter -- approved by voters last fall and which directs the program into areas such as personalized medicine and therapy delivery over the next decade or so.
The agency’s perspective will be discussed in public Thursday morning before its 35-member governing board. The new path is charted in the form of 17 pages of slides plus annotations on a 17,000-word ballot initiative, which is more than twice as long as the U.S. Constitution.
The documents were posted online by CIRM yesterday afternoon, two and a half days before this week’s meeting....
You can read the full item here on the new platform for the California Stem Cell Report, the only independent, news and information source devoted solely to the Golden State's stem cell research program, the first of its kind in state history.
This blog's migration to a new platform is aimed at improving service to readers and helping to bring a new focus to our coverage, which began in January 2005 and which has carried in 5,000 items since then.
Monday, January 25, 2021
From the exploration of mental health to "aging as a pathology," Proposition 14 launched the California stem cell agency on a course that will take it far afield from its founding charter of 2004. Directors of the agency will receive a briefing Thursday on the details of the 17,000-word, "Christmas tree" ballot initiative. The California Stem Cell Report has prepared a deep look at many of the features of the measure, including how it could be altered if CIRM desires to take on that difficult task. Below is an excerpt from the full item, which can be found on the new platform for this blog.
Proposition 14, last fall’s ballot measure to save California’s stem cell agency from financial extinction, contains much, much more than the $5.5 billion it sought from the state’s voters.
Added to the agency’s charter is research involving mental health, “therapy delivery,” personalized medicine and “aging as a pathology.“ That is not to mention a greater emphasis on supporting “vital research opportunities” that are not stem cell-related.
The measure enlarged the board from 29 to 35 members — seats not yet filled as of this writing. But even at 29, the board has been much criticized for its large size, which creates more possibilities for conflicts of interest, a long-standing issue for the agency.
Proposition 14 bans royalties that are generated by state-backed stem cell inventions from being used for such things as prisons and schools, isolating the funds from tinkering by lawmakers....
The California Stem Cell Report is the only independent, news and information source devoted solely to the Golden State's stem cell research program, the first of its kind in state history.
This blog's migration to a new platform is aimed at improving service to readers and helping to bring a new focus to our coverage, which began in January 2005 and which has carried in 5,000 items since then.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
The California Stem Cell Report is in the process of migrating to a different platform. To be sure that you have the latest news and information concerning the California stem cell agency, please go to this location.
Friday, January 22, 2021
Advisory/working groups to CIRM have played a significant role in the past and may play an even greater role under the agency’s new charter. They are likely to be the venue where major new issues are hashed over and policies developed that are adopted by the full board with little change.
Those policies are likely to have an impact on businesses developing stem cell therapies and their affordability and accessibility not to mention researchers.
Read all about it in an item posted today on a new platform for this blog, the California Stem Cell Report (CSCR), the only independent, news and information source devoted solely to the Golden State's 16-year-old research program, the first of its kind in state history.
This blog's migration to a new platform is aimed at improving service to readers and helping to bring a new focus to our coverage, which began in January 2005 and which has resulted in 5,000 items since then.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Directors of the $12 billion California stem cell agency will meet on Jan. 28 to examine the new and sweeping scope of their changing enterprise, now remodeled in a major way by voters as a result of the last fall's election.
Affordability, mental health and "aging as a pathology" are all part of the new charter for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM). Its governing board has scheduled a four-hour online session on the 28th that is open to public comment, questions and criticism.
Read about the meeting in an item posted this morning on a new platform for this blog, the California Stem Cell Report (CSCR), the only independent information source devoted solely to the Golden State's 16-year-old research program, the first of its kind in state history.
The blog's migration to a new platform is aimed at improving service to readers and helping to bring a new focus to our coverage, which began in January 2005 and which has resulted in 5,000 items since then.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
The appointment of a new member to the governing board of California's $12 billion stem cell research program triggered additional comment and criticism today concerning conflicts of interest at the agency.
The matter involves Larry Goldstein, a well-known scientist at UC San Diego, who has received $22 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the formal name for the stem cell agency. Goldstein's employer has received $232 million.
"Proposition 14, which just last fall gave CIRM another $5.5 billion of public funding, should have been a chance for the agency to turn over a new leaf, but it made none of the changes that could have addressed the agency's built-in conflicts or other structural problems.
"Now CIRM has accepted a board member who has personally received some $22 million in CIRM grants, and whose institution has received far more. It appears that CIRM will continue to flout basic principles of good governance, despite being a public agency wholly funded by public dollars. This is a real and ongoing problem."
Last September, Capitol Weekly, California's respected government and political news service, carried an analysis of CIRM awards and their relationship to board members. It showed that 80 percent of the $2.7 billion awarded by CIRM has gone to institutions with links to past and present members of the CIRM board.
The agency's 35 directors are barred from voting on specific awards to their institutions. However, they set the rules, scope and direction for the awards.
UC Davis stem cell scientist and blogger Paul Knoepfler, who supports the stem
"I'm sure that Larry will do an excellent job on the board, and he brings a unique depth of knowledge on stem cell research. However, along the lines of what Aaron said as quoted in the piece, at the very least the appointment presents some challenges of perception of the agency."
Knoepfler's reference is to Aaron Levine, a Georgia Tech biomedical research policy expert who served on the IOM panel that conducted a $700,000 study of CIRM and recommended major changes in its governance and conflict of interest procedures. Levine told the California Stem Cell Report,
“Larry Goldstein is, in many ways, an inspired choice for the CIRM board. He is a well-regarded stem cell scientist and former CIRM grantee with administrative experience and demonstrated interest in public policy. On the other hand, CIRM has, at the very least, a perception problem with conflicts-of-interest and appointing a former grantee to the board so soon after the passage of Proposition 14 seems to suggest that this challenge will persist.”
“More broadly, conflict of interest concerns reflect the structure of the CIRM Board dating back to Proposition 71 in 2004 and the broader challenge facing many organizations of recruiting interested, qualified, and independent board members. CIRM has taken a number of steps to help address conflicts of interest since the IOM report was published many years ago, but I would have liked to see the board structure adjusted as part of Proposition 14 to introduce more independence into the oversight structure and further address these concerns.”
CIRM was running out of money last year and was set to close its doors until voters approved Proposition 14, which provided $5.5 billion more and significantly expanded the scope of the agency.
CIRM had an opportunity to deal with conflict of interest concerns during the formulation of the ballot measure in discussions with the sponsor of the measure, Robert Klein, a millionaire developer in Palo Alto. Klein also directed the writing of Proposition 71 in 2004 and served as CIRM's first chairman after writing into the initiative qualifications for the chair that applied uniquely to him.
The California Stem Cell Report asked Klein this morning whether he had made a recommendation to any party that Goldstein, who is co-chair of a scientific advisory panel to Klein's stem cell advocacy group, be appointed to the CIRM board. Klein replied in an email this morning:
"No. I learned of the appointment after the fact. Dr. Goldstein will be an outstanding board member. Given that he has closed his lab at UC San Diego and he is no longer conducting stem cell research, his extraordinary research record on neurodegenerative diseases and his experience in previously competing for CIRM grants will provide the board with important insights in advancing the search for therapies that are devastating to the brain, the body’s neurological system, and many other disease areas."The State of California’s stem cell therapy development efforts and science generally will benefit greatly by Dr. Goldstein’s sacrifice of the remaining years he could have conducted scientific research, in favor of this new commitment to public service on the CIRM board, that will benefit patients everywhere."
|Lawrence Goldstein in lab at Sanford|
Consortium, UCSD photo
It is technically possible today to make changes in the law dealing with conflicts at CIRM and the composition of its board. However, those would require a super, super-majority vote (70 percent) of both houses of the legislature and the signature of the governor, a politically difficult task.
Monday, January 11, 2021
It was the first time in the history of the 16-year-old agency that a scientist who has received agency awards has been appointed to the board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the stem cell agency is officially known.
Goldstein's appointment raises once again questions involving conflicts of interest at the agency. Since its inception, CIRM has awarded $2.7 billion to California researchers and enterprises, including UC San Diego. Eight out of every ten dollars has gone to institutions with links to past or present CIRM board members, according to an analysis by the California Stem Cell Report.
Conflict of interest issues have dogged the agency since before voters created it in 2004. In a report in 2012 commissioned at a cost of $700,000 by CIRM itself, the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) said,
“Far too many board members represent organizations that receive CIRM funding or benefit from that funding. These competing personal and professional interests compromise the perceived independence of (the CIRM governing board), introduce potential bias into the board’s decision making, and threaten to undermine confidence in the board.”
The IOM said the composition of the board, which is called the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) makes it neither “independent” nor capable of “oversight.”
In response to a question, Kevin McCormack, senior director of CIRM communications, said,
"Larry is no longer involved in any active CIRM awards and has stepped away from his research work, with the exception of one project for which he does not intend to seek CIRM funds.
"He brings a wealth of knowledge to the board and a different perspective as a leading stem cell scientist and former CIRM-funded researcher. As for conflicts, he is precluded from voting on any applications and cannot even participate in the discussion of applications submitted by UCSD."
Georgia Tech photo
“Larry Goldstein is, in many ways, an inspired choice for the CIRM Board. He is a well-regarded stem cell scientist and former CIRM grantee with administrative experience and demonstrated interest in public policy. On the other hand, CIRM has, at the very least, a perception problem with conflicts-of-interest and appointing a former grantee to the Board so soon after the passage of Proposition 14 seems to suggest that this challenge will persist.”“More broadly, conflict of interest concerns reflect the structure of the CIRM Board dating back to Proposition 71 in 2004 and the broader challenge facing many organizations of recruiting interested, qualified, and independent board members. CIRM has taken a number of steps to help address conflicts of interest since the IOM report was published many years ago, but I would have liked to see the board structure adjusted as part of Proposition 14 to introduce more independence into the oversight structure and further address these concerns.”
California Stem Cell Report photo
distressed" by the Goldstein appointment. "Don't they have any sense of what's appropriate," the person said. "He has benefitted in so many ways and is so intertwined with Bob Klein."
“I have known Larry for many years and have nothing but the highest regard for him as a scientist, a leader, and a great champion of stem cell research. He is also an innovative thinker and that will be invaluable to us as we move into a second chapter in the life of CIRM.”