December 7, 2012 |
The board of California's stem cell funding agency is rife with conflicts of interest and should be restructured to improve the integrity of its grant-making process, according to a new report from independent experts convened by the national Institute of Medicine. The committee found that "far too many" of the board members are from organizations that stand to benefit from the $3 billion the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is supposed to dole out to researchers over 10 years.
December 7, 2011 |
For years, Geron Corp. had claimed to be in the vanguard among California companies engaged in stem cell research. So it was something of a stunner when it announced Nov. 14 that it was abandoning the stem cell field completely. Geron's shares fell 20% the next day, but that was probably nothing compared with how far spirits must have fallen at the California stem cell agency, which just a few months earlier had made its highest-profile investment ever by awarding Menlo Park-based Geron a $25-million loan to help fund the first human trial of stem cell-based spinal cord therapy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 5, 2011 |
California's stem cell research agency says it needs billions more taxpayer dollars to deliver on promised cures to major diseases. Yet at a time when other departments are cutting back spending, the agency recently agreed to pay its new boss one of the highest salaries in state government. The 50-person grant-making body will pay a Los Angeles investment banker $400,000 to serve as its new part-time board chairman, pushing the combined salaries of its two top officials to nearly $1 million per year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 22, 2010 |
When millionaire Silicon Valley real estate developer Bob Klein launched his ballot drive to create a $3-billion state fund for stem-cell research in 2004, he pitched it as a way of taking politics out of science and focusing on cures. One particularly heartbreaking campaign ad showed former big screen Superman Christopher Reeve paralyzed in a wheelchair, struggling for breath and imploring California voters to "stand up for those who can't. " Next month, Klein's six-year term as chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine expires.
February 1, 2010 |
It's never pretty to see people get blown up by their own bombs. But it sure can be educational. A case in point is the leadership of the California stem cell program, which pushed through Proposition 71 in 2004 to create the program, entrenched itself in almost unassailable control of its $3 billion in funding, and has self-righteously fought every attempt to improve public oversight over its disbursement of what is, after all, the people's money....
January 10, 2010 |
Dr. Karen Aboody estimates that she has cured several hundred mice of a cancer of the central nervous system called neuroblastoma. First she injected them with specialized neural stem cells that naturally zero in on the tumors and surround them. Then she administered an anti-cancer agent that the cells converted into a highly toxic drug. In her tests, 90% of the animals were rid of their tumors while healthy brain tissue remained undamaged. To hear Aboody tell it, that was the easy part.