LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s first-of-its-kind state program to fund stem-cell research is running out of money and supporters want voters to provide a $5.5 billion infusion.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for research since the non-profit was created in a 2004 ballot question supported by 59% of voters. New stem-cell labs were created around the state and grants were awarded to Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prominent institutions.
In the years since, clinical studies have been launched to determine how stem cells might treat a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and Parkinson’s, as well as such conditions as spinal paralysis and auto-immune deficiencies.
Proposition 14’s supporters are hoping voters will again support the program, although some acknowledge that with the state caught in a pandemic-infused economic crisis it’s hard to guess how the electorate will react. Early voting begins Monday for the Nov. 3 election.
“I would be optimistic that having a medical emergency at the international level would hopefully drive people to realize that funding for medical research that leads to therapies and cures — including for COVID-19 where there are some interesting approaches underway that CIRM has funded — would persuade some people to