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Silhouette of hand placing ballot in box

Directors of the financially strapped, California stem cell agency this morning endorsed a $5.5 billion bond measure to refinance the enterprise and set it on a new path for the next 10 to 15 years.

"It's a no brainer that this is a huge benefit for California and that (the agency) does just a fantastic job for curing major diseases over a period of time," said George Blumenthal, chancellor of UC Santa Cruz and a member of the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known.

Endorsement came on 21-1 vote after about a 30-minute discussion. Jeff Sheehy, a patient advocate member of the board since its inception in 2004, voted no. He did not speak out during the meeting, which heard no dissent from other board members or the public.

The board has 29 slots. Only 22 members were present for the morning. online vote. Two seats are vacant.

Sheehy released a statement to the California Stem Cell Report in which he cited a wide range of reasons... see more