(San Francisco Business Times subscription required for full article.)
In the Buck Institute for Age Research’s gleaming $36.5 million stem cell research facility, which opens April 14 in Novato, scientists will seek ways to use stem cells to treat Parkinson’s disease and regenerate cells to restore sight to glaucoma patients.
It is the type of work that many California voters envisioned in 2004 when they approved Proposition 71, the $3 billion bond issue that supported the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
But even as the San Francisco-based stem cell research funding agency nears the halfway point of its life, and the 11th of 12 CIRM-backed major facilities comes on line, the future of the agency itself isn’t quite as clear.
Without stem cell treatments or cures for cancers, diabetes or some other high-profile malady, voters are unlikely to approve a follow-on bond measure, if CIRM seeks one. CIRM leaders haven’t yet settled on how to carry on the agency’s mission after the last of Prop. 71’s funds are turned over to CIRM in five years. Proposals have included a venture philanthropy fund or corporate support that would take potential treatments into mid-stage clinical trials.