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About California Policies & Human Biotechnology


California has been a pioneer in several aspects of policy on new biotechnologies, most notably with the passage in 2004 of Proposition 71, which established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and authorized to distribute and oversee $3 billion in public funds to support stem cell research and build research facilities over ten years.

The CIRM has been closely watched by other states and countries. It launched two experiments: the first an experiment in biomedical investigation; the second in its politics and policy. Never before has a state so generously funded an emerging scientific field. And never before has a state been faced with regulating and overseeing a field that combines promising medical research with significant social risks.

Before that, the California Advisory Committee on Human Cloning issued a report that led to a state ban on reproductive cloning. In 2003, a state agency blocked the sale of genetically modified fish as pets. In 2006, the state legislature passed a law providing protections for women who may provide eggs for cloning-based stem cell research.



Shameful Conflicts of Interest Involving California's Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2014The former President of CIRM just took a job on the board of a company that benefited from the agency's grants, highlighting the conflicts of interest that have always bedeviled the agency.
Selling Stem Cells Honestlyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Scientists around the world are campaigning in favor of sensible regulation of stem-cell therapies. It’s about time.
Female Prison Inmates Sterilized Illegally, California Audit Confirms by Corey G. JohnsonCFIRJune 19th, 2014The California state auditor blasted federal and state oversight of sterilization surgeries for female prison inmates, finding numerous illegal surgeries and violations of the state’s informed-consent law.
Eugenicists Never Retreat, They Just Regroup: Sterilization and Reproductive Oppression in Prisonsby Loretta RossRH Reality CheckJune 12th, 2014Women in California prisons have been illegally sterilized, nearly four decades after sterilization abuse guidelines were implemented at the state and the federal level.
Spinal Cord, HIV Stem Cell Treatments Fundedby Bradley J. FikesUT San DiegoMay 29th, 2014A potentially groundbreaking trial to treat spinal cord injuries with tissue grown from human embryonic stem cells will resume, after being funded by the California's stem cell agency.
Could a California Bill Make Going From Sperm Donor to Father as Easy as Filling Out a Form? Not so Fast.by Abby PhillipWashington PostMay 20th, 2014Want to make sure a sperm donor can’t claim to be a father? Check here. And vice versa. Or at least that’s the hope of the “Modern Family Act.”
Counsyl Gets Funding for New Genetic Tests[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleMay 8th, 2014The San Francisco startup, Counsyl, has just released a test that screens men and women for their inherited risks of breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
State Stem Cell Agency Hasn't Lived up to its Hype[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by EditorialSan Francisco ChronicleMay 2nd, 2014How good should California taxpayers feel about the state stem cell institute's use of their $3 billion? The answer is a decidedly mixed one.
Former Osiris President Chosen as New CEO at California's Stem Cell Agencyby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportApril 30th, 2014The new president of the $3 billion research enterprise has a strong private sector background that will become increasingly important as the agency pushes to commercialize.
State Stem Cell Agency’s at a Crossroadsby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeApril 28th, 2014In a few days, the $3 billion California stem cell agency is slated to pick a new president who will oversee what could be the last years of its life.
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