Life as an Extreme Sport

Breaking News: NYS Stem Cell Research

Our new Democratic governor, Elliot Spitzer, is unveiling his massive budget plans today, and in that is $600k$100 million for stem cell research in 2007/2008. On the ballet in 2008 will be a $1.5 billion bond to fully fund stem cell research in this state.

Guess I just got fully sucked into local politics!

Edited to add complete text, courtesy of Laurie.

Stem Cell and Innovation Fund Bond Act.

In 2008, voters will be asked to approve a $1.5 billion Stem Cell and Innovation Fund Bond Act to ensure that New York is at the leading edge of the global innovation economy. To capitalize on the far-ranging economic and medical benefits of this promising field, the 2007-08 Executive Budget provides $100 million to support initial investments in this area. In total, the Budget would provide $2.1 billion over an eleven-year period, including the bond act and an additional $500 million in planned annual appropriations once the bond act is approved.


  1. The thing that I haven’t been able to get my mind around is how the state measures supporting stem cell research are going to be implemented. Most universities still have trouble physically separating federally funded work from other projects. Will any of this money go to (unregulated) private entities that will work with unapproved human ES cell lines? If so, I think we are in trouble. More trouble than the IVF situation in the U.S.

    By the way, how does Spitzer propose to allocate this money and over what duration will it be spent? Look at California to see just how difficult it is to implement spending plans for stem cell research.

  2. Florida is proposing spending $20 million, limited to stem cells from adults, umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid.

  3. Thomas, I haven’t actually gotten my hands on Spitzer’s full proposal yet; it just came out yesterday (although he’s been promising state-based funding for stem cell research for a while now). The running joke is that these are bioethicist employment acts in part because of the questions you ask; no one seems to think about this ahead of time. California’s original commission for the stem cell board didn’t have a single ethicist on it; everyone was private industry or research universities.

    My guess is that states are going to have to go the way that, oh, wasn’t it Harvard, went, where they build new buildings to house the stem cell research in, so there can be no accusation of conflating federal funds with non-federal funds.

    I’ll definitely post more about it when the data is available; it’d be nice if New York learned from the mistakes of others.

  4. Bob – unfortunately, I think that’s a waste of resources. People are placing way too many eggs in the amniotic fluid stem cells, and as is noted here, these cells are likely to be almost identical to a specific type of adult stem cell, rather than like embryonic stem cells.

    Adult stem cell research isn’t necessarily something that we should ignore, but ignoring embryonic stem cell research is just going to put us further and further behind the research curve of other countries. And if we want a chance in hell of helping lead the way in regulating how hESCs are used, we have to be doing the research ourselves.

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