States Continue to Take Stem Cell Research into Their Own Hands
When it comes to actually funding embryonic stem cell research, nobody can hold a candle to California. Despite the efforts of other states, none have been able to match the funding commitment approved by California voters in 2004. Bolstering the state’s efforts, UC San Francisco received $16 million this week from billionaire Ray Dolby for its Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a new research center that will feature embryonic stem cell research currently unfundable by federal sources.
Although a consistent and comprehensive national funding policy on embryonic stem cell research would be preferable to the more scattered efforts we see today, current restrictive regulations continue to preclude this possibility. As individual donors and voters continue to exert an expanding influence on specific science policy issues, the need for a truly scientifically literate public becomes increasingly clear. Improving science education should form the foundation of any improvements, but other efforts can help, including the push for open access literature. In the meantime, the push for the end of the embryonic stem cell funding ban should continue, and we shouldn’t settle for less acceptable solutions.