Stem Cell Bond Sales Open To Public
Oct. 3, 2007 (KGO) (KGO) -- The public gets the first crack today at helping with the financing for California's Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Institute approved by voters.
Passage of the $3 billion dollar proposition to invest in human embryonic stem cell research put California in the world spotlight. Today individuals can put their money where their vote was.
"For the first time in the history of this country or of the world, state bonds are being made available to fund medical research to protect our families' health and our future," said Bob Klein, Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
It didn't happen without a three year long legal battle mainly from the Life Legal Defense Foundation -- it considers this type of stem cell research unethical. A spokeswoman told ABC7 yesterday the sale of the bonds means huge amounts of money to a few institutions and "more promising research into adult stem cell therapies will have to get by on the scraps that fall from the table."
Klein, who also wrote Proposition 71, says the stem cells used for research are microscopic cells harvested for in vitro fertilization, which if not used for research, would be destroyed. Klein's son has diabetes, his mother has Alzheimer's.
"We have to have a human cell model. So we can use embryonic stem cells to create the brain cells and watch the development of this disease and see how we can intervene," said Bob Klein.
Almost $50 million dollars in bond money will pay back the borrowed money which provided seed money for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine or CIRM during the court challenges. $200 million will be used to fund research and research facilities such as UC San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.
"The CIRM and Prop. 71 money is allowing us to attract the best investigators from around the world to come and do their work here and to allow us to transform the stem cell landscape," said Dr. Deepak Srivastava M.D., Gladstone Institute.
One of those hoping to be transformed is Kathleen Frasier a Type 1 diabetic. Like her brother, she'll be buying bonds today.
"This means I'm investing in my own future in terms of eradicating a disease I struggle with every day and some other people and the diseases they battle with," said Kathleen Frasier, patient advocate.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who as State Attorney General shepherded Proposition 71 through the legal challenges, says today's bond offering may be a sound financial move for all concerned.
"It's great for the state -- we are pioneers we are leading. There is a whole area of biomedicine that is going to be a hub of intellectual research similar to Silicon Valley," said Bill Lockyer, State Treasurer.
Lockyer points out there's a minimum purchase of $5,000 dollars but the state is picking up the brokerage commission so you don't have to pay for that.
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