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California promotes researches on stem cells
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08:35, May 08, 2008

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The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awarded 12 academic and non-profit institutions on Wednesday with funds worth 271 million dollars to promote researches on human embryonic stem cells.

The institutions will use the grants to build research facilities throughout the state.

"This will go a long way toward medical research that could save lives and improve them for people with chronic diseases," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "But also, this kind of public-private investment in a growing jobs sector is exactly the kind of good news our economy needs right now."

The largest grant went to Stanford University, which received 43.6 million dollars. The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine received 43 million. The other three major recipients are the University of California in Irvine (UCI), the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

USC officials said the money would go toward a five-story laboratory building.

"The new center at USC will be an important addition to our campus as we create new research space for discoveries that will eventually translate to patient care," said Dr. Carmen Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine at USC.

UCLA officials said the money will help fund research labs and career-development space for clinical faculty.

"This will enable us to further add to our growing and already successful stem cell research program," said Dr. Owen Witte, director of the Elie and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. "The new facilities are adjacent to biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine and clinical/transitional research programs, providing an opportunity for the kind of innovative, cross-disciplinary research that UCLA does so well."

Voters approved Proposition 71 in 2004, which provides 3 billion dollars in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions. To date, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, which governs the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has allocated more than 530 million dollars.

"The Prop 71 stem cell research facilities program is one of the largest building programs ever dedicated for a new field of medical science and it will deliver an impact that will be felt worldwide," said Robert N. Klein, chairman of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee that oversees CIRM.


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