Home Overview Press Room Blog Publications For Students about us

California voters were promised cures. But the state stem cell agency has funded just a trickle of clinical trials

[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]

by Charles PillerSTAT
January 19th, 2017

A suitcase is open, with money over flowing.

Untitled Document

It’s been more than a decade since California launched an unprecedented experiment in medical research by direct democracy, when voters created a $3 billion fund to kick-start the hunt for stem cell therapies.

The bold plan, a response to federal funding limits for embryonic stem cell research, was sold with a simple pitch: The money would rapidly yield cures for devastating human diseases such as Parkinson’s and ALS.

That hasn’t happened.

A major reason, a STAT examination found, is that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has been slow to move promising experimental therapies into clinical trials. The National Institutes of Health has supported three and a half times as many human trials of stem cell therapies, dollar for dollar, as the California agency has funded since it started making grants in 2006. Just two of its clinical trials have been completed.

“I am floored by the disparity,” said Jim Lott, a health care consultant and member of the state board that monitors the agency, known as CIRM. If the numbers are correct, he told STAT, “that doesn’t settle well with me as a voter. That doesn’t settle well with me as a taxpayer. That doesn’t settle well with me as a member of the oversight committee.”

CIRM has used most of the $2.2 billion in grants it has distributed so far to build labs and pay for basic research at public and private universities, such as Stanford and the University of Southern California, and private companies.

It has given more than $300 million to 27 projects that include clinical trials — though much of that funding also supported preclinical work. Meanwhile, the agency has committed about $540 million to new labs and buildings.

Continue reading the full article on STAT News...

Image via Pixabay

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of biotechnology and public policy issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


home | overview | blog | publications| about us | donate | newsletter | press room | privacy policy

CGS • 1122 University Ave, Suite 100, Berkeley, CA 94702 • • (p) 1.510.665.7760 • (F) 1.510.665.8760