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Californian stem cell institute receives $181 million in loans

27 November 2006
Appeared in BioNews 386

California's stem cell institute is to be given a cash injection of $181 million to fund research through to the end of next year. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) will be given a $150 million loan from the state and has raised the extra $31 million by selling bond anticipations to philanthropic organisations and individuals.

Californian voters approved Proposition 71- that permits CIRM to generate revenue to fund human embryonic stem cell research through the sale of state bonds- by a majority of 59 per cent back in 2004. The loans will allow CIRM to restart their research program, which has been stalled by lawsuits filed by two taxpayers' groups who argued that Proposition 71 was unconstitutional. Kirk Kleinschmidt, CIRM's legislation and research policy director, said that if the lawsuits are defeated and the institute is allowed to sell state bonds, the loans will be repaid. However, if the lawsuits are successful, the loans will be considered donations, he said. Last April, California Superior Court Judge Sabraw threw out the lawsuits, ruling that the plaintiffs had failed to show that Proposition 71 was 'clearly, positively, and unmistakably unconstitutional'. The plaintiffs have since filed an appeal against the decision to the Californian Supreme Court.

Robert Keil, chair of CIRM, commented that, 'An overwhelming majority of Californians approved this stem cell research program nearly two years ago, but a handful of opponents temporarily blocked its progress in the courts', but with these loans, 'major stem cell research programs in this great state can now be funded'. State Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ordered the state loan, said the money 'keeps California on the forefront as a national leader in stem cell research...This life-saving science gives the strongest possibility and hope to the patients suffering from chronic and deadly illnesses...that we will one day find a cure'.

Meanwhile in Connecticut, grants amounting to $12m have been approved to researchers at the University of Connecticut to study human adult and embryonic stem cells. In June 2005, the state passed legislation to allow state funding for ES cell research after President Bush denied federal support for all new ES cell research in 2001. The applications for funding are the first to be made since the ten year $100 million program to fund stem cell research was approved.

California OKs $150 million stem-cell research loan
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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...
5 March 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The California First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco unanimously ruled on 26 February that 'Proposition 71' is constitutional, strongly affirming that it 'suffers from no constitutional or other legal infirmity'. Proposition 71 called for the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), its...
27 February 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The California state stem cell funding initiative, Proposition 71, successfully kicked off on 23 February after a delay of years, with the announcement of who will receive the first wave of research grants - totalling around $45 million (£22.5 million) - for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The...
24 April 2006 - by BioNews 
A US court has ruled that the law that created the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was in fact constitutional. The claimants in the lawsuit challenging the setting up of the CIRM were arguing that the institute, which is authorised to distribute $3 billion in research grants for stem...
10 April 2006 - by BioNews 
Stem cell researchers in the US are publishing a decreasing proportion of work on human embryonic stem (ES) cells, according to a study undertaken by the Stanford University Centre for Biomedical Ethics. The authors of the study suggest that the decrease in proportion is likely to be due - at least...
3 April 2006 - by BioNews 
The House of Delegates of the US state of Maryland has approved a bill that could bring as much as $15 million of state funding per year for stem cell research, making it the fourth US state to authorise the spending of public money on such research. The money will...
27 February 2006 - by BioNews 
A US court was today due to begin hearing the opening statements in a pair of lawsuits seeking to have the state of California's stem cell programme overturned. The claimants want to invalidate the law that created the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which is authorised to distribute $3...
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