The $3 billion California stem cell agency on Monday served up the bad news with only a smattering of sugar coating.
No more applications for research funding are being accepted. The cash is running out, perhaps as early as the end of August.
In a posting on its blog, The Stem Cellar, the agency declared, “It’s never easy to tell someone that they are too late, that they missed the deadline. It’s particularly hard when you know that the person you are telling that to has spent years working on a project and now needs money to take it to the next level. But in science, as in life, it’s always better to tell people what they need to know rather than what they would like to hear.”
The news is no surprise to persons who follow the agency. But today brought a more clearly emerging sense of finality.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known, was created in 2004 by voters who also provided $3 billion in bond funding. However, the CIRM ballot measure also contained the seeds of destruction for the agency. No other cash was provided. No other significant means of funding was laid out.
Today, the agency is pinning its hopes for survival on a yet-to-be-written ballot initiative for the November 2020 ballot. To bridge the gap between now and then, CIRM has been attempting for months to raise privately more than $200 million. So far, no results have emerged publicly.
CIRM has yet to fulfill the campaign-generated expectations of the 7,018,059 voters in 2004 who voted to create it and who thought they would see new, widely available, miraculous cures. Impressive results, some of which have saved lives, have surfaced from some of the clinical trials. But the elusive stem cell cure that would be ready for the general public is yet to hit the streets.
The Oakland-based agency is not done yet nor is it out of business. Its reviewers are expected to meet later this month to make the de facto decisions on some of the pending applications. And then again in August.
Full story at Capitol Weekly.