California’s $3 billion stem-cell effort may have generated controversy from the start, but a recent GEN poll generated mostly positive feedback on the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. More than one-third of respondents (38.7%) said that the state agency, charged with overseeing stem cell initiatives, was “very” helpful in advancing stem cell science, while another 22.6% said CIRM was “somewhat” helpful, 22.6% said CIRM was “not very” helpful, and the remaining 16.1% were undecided.
In the near-decade since California voters approved Proposition 71 in 2004, CIRM survived a lawsuit before laying groundwork for advancing stem cell research of all types, most notably by awarding grants and loans. More than $1.3 billion has been doled out by CIRM, most of it to academic institutions, followed by research institutes, with businesses seeing a relatively small share. The agency has taken steps toward more industry participation. Clinical trial support is one of four goals CIRM has set for its strategic plan covering the next five years.