Private funds back Calif. stem cell grants

April 11, 2006 at 5:47 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, April 11 (UPI) -- Despite court challenges, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine funded $12.1 million in stem cell research using private donors, a report said.

Board Chairman Robert Klein of the San Francisco institute Monday said private philanthropic groups met the "urgent" need to start funding programs at 16 California institutions, since many had already set up research programs and recruited scientists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While voters approved the $3 billion, 10-year stem cell research effort in 2004, state funding has been on hold given lawsuits by taxpayer groups and religious organizations.

Six private organizations last week purchased so-called bond anticipation notes to allow the interim funding. They will be repaid from state-issued bonds if the institute wins legal challenges.

While legal analysts were confident the stem-cell research program would prevail, opponents vowed to take the case to the state Supreme Court and tie up state funding until at least 2007, the newspaper reported.

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