Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was created by California's Proposition 71 (2004), which authorized it to issue $3 billion in grants, funded by bonds, over ten years for embryonic stem cell and other biomedical research. It may be the world's largest single backer of research in stem cells, and is expected to speed the progress of the pioneering field.
The CIRM governing committee consists of representatives of groups and institutions who are likely to receive funding, including public universities, nonprofit research centers, private biotechnology companies, and disease-specific patient advocates. They were appointed (or, in the case of chair and vice-chair, nominated) by four elected officials and five UC Chancellors.
The chair of the committee is Robert Klein, a Palo Alto real estate developer who helped write and finance the initiative and is hopeful stem cells will provide a cure for his son, who has diabetes. He was unanimously nominated and elected as chairman. He was previously the chair of the Yes on 71 campaign, a chief author of the initiative, and - at $3 million - its largest financial supporter. The campaign operated from the offices of the Klein Financial Corporation. After the vote, the Yes on 71 campaign changed into the California Research and Cures Coalition, a stem cell advocacy organization, with Klein initially at the helm.
The vice-chair of the governing committee is Edward Penhoet, a biotech businessman. He was a co-founder and president of Chiron, and recently he founded Renovis. He is on the boards of directors of Chiron, Renovis, Zymogenetics, and BayBio; and recently on those of Eyetech and the Biotechnology Industry Association. He is a paid partner at Alta Partners, a venture capital firm with a large biotechnology portfolio. Penhoet has also served on the UC Berkeley faculty and as president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
CIRM was initially supported by the staff of the California Research and Cures Coalition from the offices of the Klein Financial Corporation. It is now in temporary offices in Emeryville. It is searching for permanent office space and a president.
The campaign spent over $30 million and received contributions from figures such as Bill Gates, venture capitalist John Doerr (an early backer of Internet search engine Google), and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, as well as actors Michael J. Fox and the late Christopher Reeve. Its largest source of funding was from venture capitalists. It was also backed by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate republican.
Opposition to the initiative came from a diverse range of groups, including both those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them. The former are generally opposed to all embryonic stem cell research, while the later emphasized potential conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency and accountability, and inadequate safeguards to protect the health of egg providers and research subjects.
Following the passage of the proposition, Robert Klein said "there is no doubt in my mind that the mission Californians accepted today is a critical first step in changing the face of human suffering forever." Yet CIRM and its governing board have faced significant criticism from both opponents and supporters of Prop. 71. For example, the ambitious agenda of its first meeting was postponed due to open meeting laws after a challenge from a public interest lawyer. More recent questions have involved possible conflicts of interest and the role of fundraising by the California Research and Cures Coalition.
The institute is expected to perform the role in the advancement of the field and the funding of research projects that would normally be played in the U.S. by the government's premiere scientific research organization, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH and the federal government will likely play a diminished role in the field because of the Bush administration's banning of federal funding of research using embryonic stem cell lines developed after August 2001. (See controversy over stem cell ethical implications) Some proponents believe other US states may follow with similar propositions, creating a state-by-state approach that sidesteps the Bush administration's federal funding restrictions. This topic is also dealt with in the Emerging US state-by-state approach section of the stem cell article.
- California Institute for Regenerative Medicine homepage
- The Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest critic of CIRM and Prop. 71
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details