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A heartfelt appeal by Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox, seen here in 2007, helped win passage of the state stem cell program in 2004. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times / December 12, 2012)
If you're betting that the California stem cell agency will spurn key recommendations of a blue-ribbon review panel that criticized its leadership and management structures, you might want to double that bet. Several board members showed overt hostility to the panel's recommendations during a public meeting today.

The governing board of the agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, formally received the review report at its meeting today in Los Angeles. The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, was paid $700,000 by CIRM to conduct the yearlong study of the $6-billion state stem cell program.

The Institute of Medicine's reviewers found that the structure of the governing board poses troubling conflicts of interest. Proposition 71, which established the program, designates almost all board seats for officials of institutions or companies eligible to receive CIRM grants or patient advocates for diseases thought to be targets for stem-cell therapies.

One result: Some 90% of all grants issued by CIRM have gone to institutions with representatives on the board.

The study panel said the board should be restructured...