After weeks of competition and debate, the trustees of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), have announced that the city of San Francisco will house its headquarters.
CIRM was created last November, after a ballot initiative in California - known as Proposition 71 - was passed, making the state the first to publicly fund human embryonic stem cell (EScell) research. Three billion dollars over 10 years has been set aside for ES cell research in the state. Federal funds are only available for researchers who work on ES cell lines created on or before 9 August 2001, when President Bush laid down his stem cell policy. Many US researchers have since complained that the ES cell lines available to them are not good enough for research that may lead to potential treatments in human, having been created using mouse 'feeder' cells. Later ES cell lines, not available to federally funded researchers - but which would be available to researchers in California - have not been created in this way and so, say researchers, hold more promise.
Last week, the field of cities in the race to host CIRM's headquarters had been narrowed down from 10 to four cities: San Francisco, San Diego, Scaramento and Emeryville. After two final votes, San Francisco emerged as the leader. CIRM will be housed in part of the city that overlooks the bay. Other cities have accused CIRM of favouritism, as the chairman of its oversight committee, Rober Klein, if from the area. However, San Francisco was an early favourite, and promised $17 million in incentives. Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, welcomed CIRM to the city, saying that 'there is no question it will be an anchor for business'.