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State Stem Cell Bust Goes Begging

Thursday October 20th, 2016   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 5:10pm PDT   •  

BusinessmanBegsAs David Jensen explains in the Sacramento Bee, California’s government stem cell agency, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is spending another $30 million “to dramatically speed approval of stem cell therapies and establish the Golden State globally in the much-heralded regenerative medicine field.” Down lower in the piece, in paragraph six, readers get some background:

“California voters created the state’s stem cell agency in 2004 following a ballot initiative in which voters were told that stem cell cures were nearly at hand.” Then readers they get the real news. “The agency has yet to finance research that has produced a therapy that is available for widespread use.” That is putting it mildly.

As we noted, California’s $3 billion Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, Proposition 71, promised life-saving cures and therapies for a host of afflictions including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Celebrity promoters included Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Real estate tycoon Robert Klein cleverly wrote Prop. 71 to install himself as the institute’s chairman, and Klein protected CIRM from almost all legislative oversight by requiring a 70 percent supermajority of both houses to make any structural or policy changes. He awarded huge salaries to CIRM bosses such as Alan Trounson, who bagged $490,000 a year courtesy of California taxpayers. Despite all the spending, after 12 years a ballpark figure for the number of promised life-saving cures and therapies is zero.

In 2020 CIRM’s funding “is scheduled to run out,” Jensen explains at the end, and “no additional source of funding has been secured.” This is a pitch to politicians, right before an election, for more money. CIRM should not get another dime. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine is a complete bust, a classic example of false promises, government waste, and abuse of taxpayers.

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October 2016