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CA: Voters Approve Billions of Dollars in Funding for Stem Cell Research

Voters in California passed Proposition 71 on Tuesday with 59 percent of the vote, allowing the state to provide $295 million a year for stem cell research over the next ten years. The initiative will create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the largest single provider of funds for stem cell research. The San Francisco Gate reports that this institute could be seen as the “West Coast version of the National Institutes for Health.” Backers of Prop 71 hope that the prospect of new funding will lure the country’s top scientists to the state, as well as create a construction boom as new research centers are built. The passage of Proposition 71 is seen as even more significant due to the defeat of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who had promised to lift the restrictions on stem cell research that had been put in place by President Bush in 2001, according to the New York Times. Funding from the state will be dispersed to those who conduct research that the federal government will not fund. Research on embryonic stem cells could hold the key to cures for such degenerative diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, as well as spinal cord injuries, cancer, and heart disease. Scientists believe that treatments using stem cells on people with spinal cord injuries are only a year-and-a-half away, and that clinical trials using stem cell research for heart failure and diabetes are only a few years away. DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation and support its work for women’s health

Sources:

San Francisco Gate 11/04/04; New York Times 11/04/04; Boston Globe 11/04/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 11/04/04; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/10/01, 10/25/04