OK, so I admit we’re biased, but we at CIRM have to agree with UC Davis researcher and CIRM grantee Paul Knoepfler, who makes a case on his blog for CIRM’s many benefits to the state. New jobs, tax revenues, revolutionary science and all that.
“There is no stem cell crystal ball so as with anything there are risks and uncertainties, but I believe that in the end CIRM 2.0 will keep California the global stem cell leader with the potential for huge benefits to the state as well as patients and medicine around the world.”
CIRM is in the process of figuring out the best way of continuing to serve the state after our initial funding runs out in a few years. Many of the projects that we have funded are close to clinical trials and we would hate to see such promising research wither on the vine due to a lack of financial support. And, as Knoepfler points out, we’re in the process of finding a new president to replace Alan Trounson, who guided us so ably through the critical last five years.
The end result of both of those searches we hope will result in the CIRM 2.0 that meets the vision Knoepfler lays out (and, we dare add, the vision of those voters who created the agency back in 2004): an agency that leads the world in driving new stem cell-based therapies and that creates an economic engine for the state.
Between now and whenever decisions have to be made in a few years our focus is on helping make sure our most advanced projects start clinical trials and reach patients. We’re funding clinical trials now in HIV/AIDS and heart disease and expect to see trials start for our projects targeting diabetes, forms of cancer, blindness, sickle cell disease and others.