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US stem cell news

20 December 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 289

The first chairman has been appointed to oversee the newly created Californian Institute for Regenerative Medicine, it was reported last week. Robert N Klein, a real estate developer, was also one of the brains behind Proposition 71, the bill passed on 2 November that allowed California to break away from federal restrictions on stem cell research. A policy put in place by President Bush on 9 August 2001 prevents federal funds being spent on research on embryonic stem cells (ES cells) created after that date. Klein now begins a six-year term in charge of the panel - known as the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee - which will decide how funds will be spent on stem cell research in the state.

The passage of Proposition 71, also known as the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, established California as the first US state to publicly fund ES cell research. It will provide $295 million in state funds annually, over a ten-year period, to Californian universities, institutes and companies wishing to conduct ES cell research, subject to certain limits. Reproductive cloning is expressly prohibited, and ES cells must be derived from embryos that are less than 14 days old. Much of the initial funding will be spent on research facilities. The initiative also provided for the creation of the 29-member Oversight Committee - appointed by the governor, chancellors of the University of California, and other officials - which will determine how the funds are to be administered.

In Maryland, a bill has been put forward by Democratic state Senator Paula Hollinger, which would allow ES cell research to be funded by the state. The bill is due to be considered in the next legislative session, which begins in January 2005. However, the bill, titled the 'Ronald Reagan and Christopher Reeve Stem Cell Research Act', has raised the hackles of some Republican state Senators, who have written a letter to the Senate committee chair objecting to the use of the former president's name. They claim that he would not have supported such a measure, saying 'we find it hard to believe that President Reagan would support a measure that would be at the expense of so many innocent lives'.

The Maryland bill follows in the wake of other state bills - from New Jersey, Wisconsin and Illinois - which will provide state funding for ES cell research, hoping to stave off a 'brain drain' of researchers to California. According to USA Today, 'pro-research' bills are also likely to reach the ballot box next year in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Washington state. However, ES cell research is being fought against in other states: Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia and North and South Dakota all already either ban or restrict ES cell research in some way. In 2005, other states, namely Missouri, Kansas and Louisiana, will also consider a ban. It is also likely that the ES cell debate will be revisited in Congress.

Big names back stem-cell plan
MSNBC |  20 December 2004
Financier to Lead Institute on Stem Cells
The New York Times |  17 December 2004
GOP Senators Protest Reagan's Name on Bill
The Washington Post |  17 December 2004
States play catch-up on stem cells
USA Today |  17 December 2004
22 May 2007 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
California's stem cell programme is now free to start distributing its $3 billion funding to researchers, following the refusal of the state's Supreme Court to consider another legal challenge. The high court upheld last year's ruling by a lower court, which upheld the constitutionality of the...
2 October 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
The Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill that prevents both private and state-funded laboratories from paying women to donate eggs for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The Reproductive Health and Research Bill (SB1260), sponsored by state Senators Deborah Ortiz and...
27 March 2006 - by BioNews 
The House of Representatives in the US state of Kansas has approved a bill promoting adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research, while voting against a bill that would have allowed scientists to create chimeras. The members of the House voted 121-4 in favour of the bill that...
5 December 2005 - by BioNews 
Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the US state of California's stem cell programme have been knocked back by a judge at Almeda County Superior Court. Judge Bonnie Lewman Sabraw has ruled that the legal arguments relied upon by opponents of the stem cell programme do not stand up, meaning that...
21 November 2005 - by BioNews 
The state Senate of Ohio has approved legislation that would limit the use of state funds for 'therapeutic' cloning and human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. It would also prevent people in the state benefiting from therapies developed in other states or countries that had been developed using cloning techniques...
22 November 2004 - by BioNews 
The Senate in the state of Illinois, US, last week narrowly rejected a bill that would have promoted human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in the state. The senators voted 29-28 against Bill 3598, with one senator voting 'present', effectively abstaining from the vote. The bill needed 30 votes...
4 November 2004 - by BioNews 
Voters in the US state of California have passed Proposition 71, a bill also known as the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. Fifty-nine per cent of people voted in favour, with 41 per cent voting against the measure, which will establish California as the first state to publicly...
1 November 2004 - by BioNews 
In the final run-up to the US presidential election on 2 November, both candidates have been heavily campaigning, including on the issue of embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry promises to abandon the restrictions placed on ES cell research by Bush in 2001. Bush's policy limits...
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