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Voter ballot

The recent close-call US presidential election grabbed headlines, but no less closely-fought was California's Proposition 14, also on the ballot in October, which will have a huge impact on the future of stem cell research in the state.

The Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative (Prop 14),which was on the ballot in the initiated state statute will allow the state to issue billions of dollars in bonds for its stem cell research programme. The vote could not have been closer, with 51 percent of ballots for and 49 percent against.

This initiative will enable financiers to lend US $5.5 billion to a stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) which the state's taxpayers will repay with interest over the next three decades. The sizeable bond fund will be allocated to research, human clinical trials and programmes and also for start-up costs for facilities in the stem cell field. About US $1.5 billion of the money will be spent researching neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia. Some of the funds will be allocated to the shared labs programme: state-funded facilities dedicated to conducting...

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