The measure passed with 59 percent in support, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, based in Oakland, was born.
Some of what’s happened since then:
• More than 750 grants distributed
• A dozen research facilities constructed
• Roughly 2,000 scholarly papers published
• More than 2,400 students and young scientists trained
• About 30 projects that include clinical trials funded
Still, the agency has yet to finance a therapy approved for commercial use.
Critics say that’s led to public disappointment because the campaign for Proposition 71 oversold how quickly treatments might emerge. Stem cell research is a young field, scientists say — these things take decades, not years.
But stand by, they say.
“The biggest leaps in stem cell applications are yet to come,” said Ken Zaret, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Some critics have also raised alarm over conflicts of interest at the stem cell agency that have allowed money to flow to board members’ institutions.
Few would argue for an end to the research itself.
But if California taxpayers are asked to step up again, the governance problems must be fixed first, said Marcy Darnovsky, who runs the nonprofit Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley.
“I don’t think they can just see it as a do-over,” she added.
Jonathan Thomas, the stem cell agency chairman, said he was trying to meet looming funding challenges with philanthropic support and industry partnerships. (Complicating matters: The agency’s president, C. Randal Mills, unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that he was leaving for a new job.)
At the same time, Robert Klein, the real estate developer who spearheaded Proposition 71, is eyeing the possibility of another voter initiative.
It would appear on the 2018 ballot. The ask this time? $5 billion.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• “There is no asylum here.” Contrary to law, American border agents are turning away asylum seekers, lawyers say. [The New York Times]
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• “We are very, very sorry.” Water officials faced a frustrated crowd in Oroville after the dam crisis. [Sacramento Bee]
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• Is Hollywood’s new Mr. Right an immigrant rom-com hero? Kumail Nanjiani’s new movie makes the case. [The New York Times]
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• Facebook will add 3,000 people to the team monitoring Facebook Live for inappropriate, offensive or illegal content. [The New York Times]
• Last year President Trump challenged Apple to do more manufacturing in the United States. Now, the company appears to be meeting him halfway. [The New York Times]
• Scientists found that a kind of zooplankton can filter all of the water between 300 and 1,000 feet deep in Monterey Bay in less than two weeks. [The New York Times]
• A look inside Botanica, Los Angeles’s newest healthy place to eat — and shop. [The New York Times]
• The Bay Area is becoming a global hub of faux meat innovation. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• Before photography, painters captured history. A new show at the Getty in Los Angeles has their versions. [The New York Times]
And Finally …
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