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California’s Stem-Cell Quest Races Time As Money Dwindles

Publication Date: 
December 11, 2013
Source: 
Bloomberg News
Author: 
By Mark Melnicoe

Professor Hank Greely is quoted in Bloomberg News on the need to complete research on stem-cell therapy. 

California’s government-run stem-cell research agency, on course to spend $3 billion in taxpayer money to find treatments for some of the world’s most intractable diseases, is pushing to accelerate human testing before its financing runs out.

For the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, time is growing short to fund research that demonstrates the potential of stem cells to help treat everything from cancer to heart disease to spinal cord injuries.

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Nevertheless, the stem-cell agency’s go-commercial push is warranted, said Hank Greely, a professor specializing in biomedical issues at Stanford Law School who heads California’s Human Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.

“It’s bold but I think worth trying,” Greely said.

“Ultimately, companies will be essential to the development and widespread use of cell-based therapies,” he said in an interview. “The ‘valley of death’ between promising research and actual biomedical products is a well-known problem. This seems like a good test of one possible way to avoid it.”