California stem cell plans stalled, but alive

Organizers continue to allocate funds and adopt guidelines, but some work has slowed due to pending lawsuit

Anne Harding
Fifteen months after California voters passed legislation authorizing the state to pump $3 billion into stem cell research over 10 years, not a penny has been allocated or spent -- the result of two pending lawsuits. But these roadblocks haven't stopped organizers, who continue to approve grants, adopt ethical guidelines, and otherwise move forward with the still-phantom project.The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the body set up to administer the massive project, has been operating on $3 million in loans from the state and a $5 million philanthropic grant, and is currently funded through June, Nicole Pagano, the institute's spokeswoman, told The Scientist. The institute also has approved $38.9 million in training grants to 16 state institutions, expected to come out of $50 million bond anticipation notes that should be approved in the coming weeks, Pagano noted. And CIRM's governing body, the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee (ICOC), is...

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