California: the State of Stem Cell Funding

In his book, Bellomo likened California's response to the federal veto to a hypothetical situation where President John F. Kennedy had rejected the idea of putting a man on the moon and Texas decided to fund NASA on its own.

Following the Money

But as California proceeds with stem cells, researchers indicate that the current system of states going against the grain of federal approval will lead to plenty of waste.

Kriegstein said that at UCSF, researchers are forced to account for all materials they use to ensure that nothing paid for by a federal grant is used for embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created after August 2001.

In addition to the need for people to spend time accounting for everything used, Kriegstein said that the researchers must often purchase equipment other labs already have in order to comply with the federal guidelines.

And the funding itself has also been a source of concern. Ted Costa of Public Advocate, one of the groups that sued to block funding from CIRM, said that while he is not opposed to embryonic stem cell research and wishes the researchers luck, the funding does not have enough oversight from state representatives.

Bellomo himself said that while he is "pro-research," he questions how Californians will feel about such a large expenditure when many of the advances touted by embryonic stem cell research advocates are unlikely to come before the current bond expires.

But for now, California is ready to get its research underway.

"Scientists in California know there will be $3 billion available to them over the next 10 years," Carlson said. "Federal policy discourages young scientists from coming into the field... In California, that's no longer an issue."

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