Wind-down of stem-cell institute leaves a void

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Stem-cell researchers in California have been pioneering a new field for the entire world. Californians provided US$3 billion in taxpayer money to sponsor regenerative medicine in 2004. Hence, the policy move enhanced the emphasis on scientific innovation in California. Since then, almost all research funding has come from that source. But not for much longer.

In fact, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) stated in June that it would not accept new grant applications. Somehow researchers cannot further develop stem-cell-based therapies due to a lack of funding.

In addition, many stem-cell scientists appeared in a documentary series that marketed unproven stem-cell treatments and was supported by a for-profit clinic facing federal charges. Indeed, CIRM found out about the series after that clinic spread mass e-mails. Thus, the film-makers removed interviews on CIRM by their request.

Furthermore, CIRM’s founders have considered campaigns to gain sponsorship from voters in 2020. The probability of stem-cell treatments approval is more possible than it was 15 years ago. CIRM wants to make a clear distinction between current reality and future potential.

Finally, researchers should articulate how therapies that render positive results with mice, often fail to show the same effect in humans. The only way to be certain and confirm safety is scientific testing in clinical trials.