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Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America presents scientific facts that challenge readers to think for themselves rather than accept political or religious views on stem cell research.

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RIGHT TO RECOVER is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. Amazon Best-selling book in biomedical category.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

By Don C. Reed

Imagine that you and I are involved in a terrible war, against a relentless enemy which fully intends to kill us and all our families. But we are fighting back hard, and despite tremendous odds against us, we are beginning to win.

Suddenly good news arrives: reinforcements are on the way!

Should we respond by laying down our arms, to surrender?

President Obama’s reversal of the Bush stem cell restrictions is wonderful: a decision that will echo down the halls of history. But it is not victory. The Obama edict brings no guarantees of new stem cell funding. Those “extra” NIH funds you heard about? At best, they help make up for 5 years of flat-lined funding, when National Institutes of Health budgets remained stagnant, not even matching increases of inflation.

Now is the time to redouble our efforts, not relax them. Let me show you why. In the midst of all the economic gloom and doom, something shining has emerged in California: the beginning of a vastly better world.

Take a look at some highlights of what the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) did—with just twelve months of reliable funding, in 2008.

(You can verify the following amazements by going to http://www.cirm.ca.gov/ Scroll down the left side of the page, until you find a bright red picture of stem cells, click under that: 2008 report, download it for free.)

LABORATORIES: have you tried to find parking for your car at an overcrowded college campus lately? Imagine what a nightmare it is to find space for new stem cell laboratories, let alone equip them. Dedicated buildings are urgently needed.

But bricks and mortar costs a lot, and the last thing California wants is to spend precious research dollars on a bunch of unnecessary buildings. So, a limit was set: no more than 10% of the entire program’s cost, $300 million, could be used for facilities. But, that’s not much money. In today’s market, it would pay for only about three or four hundred homes: nowhere near enough for serious labs.

How did the CIRM meet this challenge?

They authorized $271 million on facilities (buildings and equipment)—and, to make sure we got the most possible bang for its buck, a special requirement. Any organization wanting a grant had to bring their own money as well.

This strategy brought in an additional $880 million dollars. Our $271 million in taxpayer money was leveraged (great word) into $1.15 billion dollars. Twelve major facilities will be built—and soon. All these buildings are contractually obligated to be up and running by the end of 2010.

And of course, we must not forget the stem cells…

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