Gov. Schwarzenegger In Burlingame
Feb. 16 – KGO – It was an historic day for stem cell research. The first grants were made today to the California agency that was created by voters two years ago, to spend three billion dollars in public funds to find medical cures.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, (R) California: “They’re our newest action heroes.”
Governor Schwarzenegger is referring to the scientists and doctors who are the first to receive stem cell research grants. The 29 board members of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine had 231 applications to consider.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “We cannot afford to wait when it comes to advancing a life-saving science, so today is a day of great hope.”
Funding was granted for a wide range of projects, such as research into repairing tissue damaged by heart attacks, and lesions in the brain caused by strokes.
A football injury did spinal cord damage to Roman Reed of Union He was on hand for this historic event, hoping stem cell research will one day allow him to walk again.
Roman Reed, Spinal Cord Injury Patient: “We are on the road to cures. We are on the road to be able to solve the problems that plague mankind. Millions of people are suffering, and now we’re on the road to cure them. This is wonderful.”
Prop. 71 is still being challenged in court, so funding is coming from special loans from the state and from philanthropists.
Bob Klein, Oversight Committee Chairman: “We have approved, thus far today, over $41 million dollars — more than the National Institutes of Health funded for embryonic stem cell research for the entire country for all of last year.”
Grant recipients will be required to keep state and federal funded work separate.
Arnold Kriegstein, M.D., Ph.D.: “This gives us an extra burden of accounting and duplication in many cases of equipment and of supplies that we unfortunately are faced with based on the federal restrictions right now.”
The next round of funding will come next month in Los Angeles where some 70 applicants will be vying for $80 million dollars in grants.
By David Louie