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Calif. funds stem cell research -- really

If it was April, I'd say it was an April Fool's joke. But it's February, and it's true -- California is actually distributing funds for human embryonic stem cell research. The linkurl:California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM);http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23342/ on Friday (Feb 16) approved $45 million worth of grants to 20 academic and non-profit California institutions. The organization remains linkurl:tied up in never-ending;http://www.the-scientist.co

By | February 19, 2007

If it was April, I'd say it was an April Fool's joke. But it's February, and it's true -- California is actually distributing funds for human embryonic stem cell research. The linkurl:California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM);http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23342/ on Friday (Feb 16) approved $45 million worth of grants to 20 academic and non-profit California institutions. The organization remains linkurl:tied up in never-ending;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23097/ lawsuits, so the money comes from a $150 million loan from the state general's fund authorized by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has publicly supported CIRM. This round of funding focused on Scientific Excellence through Exploration and Development (SEED) grants, allocated to 30 scientists just entering the field of stem cell research, and 27 others who have spent six or less years as independent investigators. The goal is to "carry out studies that may yield preliminary data or proof-of-principle results that could then be extended to full scale investigations," according to a CIRM statement. "Our intent was to bring new ideas and new talent to human embryonic stem cell research -- and these grants do exactly that," CIRM President and Chief Scientific Officer linkurl:Zach W. Hall;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24357/ said in the statement. "The quality of the science that is being proposed is very high, which bodes well for the future of stem cell research in California." Funded projects range from directing hESCs to become specific neuron types that can functionally integrate to generating an hESC library that model human genetic diseases. A linkurl:full list;http://www.cirm.ca.gov/pressreleases/2007/02/pricoc021607final.pdf of funded projects is on the CIRM Web site. The institute plants to approve another 25 grants to more seasoned stem cell scientists in March, totaling $80 million.

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