By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist
In a recent article published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, officials with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) call for nationally uniform standards for stem cell products to facilitate the ”responsible delivery of regenerative medicine.”
Some of their recommendations are reasonable. However, CIRM’s insistence upon uniformity and their demonization of small stem cell clinics in a contrived narrative is sophomoric, disingenuous and counterproductive.
CIRM was created in 2004 when California voters passed Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. Supporters of Prop 71 lamented how the federal government had failed to provide adequate funding for stem cell research, so the state needed to step in and provide $295 million in bonds to advance stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs.
CIRM is currently at a financial crossroads. To date, CIRM has funded over 1,000 research, training and community engagement projects. However, with its initial funding almost gone, it is now seeking an additional $5.5 billion through a ballot initiative. While CIRM has been strong in research, no CIRM-funded trial has won FDA approval. According to Nature, CIRM has funded 55 clinical trials but only one therapy is likely to hit the market any time soon.