California Stem-Cell Agency Wants More Voter Money

By Wesley J. Smith

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was a multi-billion dollar money suck agreed to by California voters in 2004 as a way to “resist Bush” about embryonic stem-cell research.

The mendacious campaign promised Cures! Cures! Cures! with embryonic stem cells and therapeutic human cloning — even promising that disabled children would get out of their wheel chairs and walk. Good grief, campaigners also claimed that the money earned from all the coming cures would reduce California’s health-care budget.

Some $2 billion later, none of it came to pass. Tens of millions were spent on a fancy-dancy building. Conflicts of interested have abounded.

But the supposed point of the CIRM was not achieved. There have been extremely few human trials with embryonic stem cells — mostly dealing with eye conditions — and not all were CIRM-funded. The one CIRM study by Geron that sought to find cures for paralysis ultimately shut down. Geron gave up on the sector and sold all of its ESCR intellectual property. CIRM is still funding later studies by the company that picked up the portfolio.

Yet, all these years later, there is still no published peer-reviewed evidence (the gold standard for objective science) that embryonic stem cells are effective for most maladies.

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online [] and are reposted with the author’s permission.