Navigation Links
Stem Cell Agency Finally Reveals Institutions Involved in Conflict Problem
Date:12/12/2007

After Public Pressure, Five Research Institutions Are Identified During Grant Award Discussion

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California stem cell agency's decision today to reveal the names of five research institutions whose applications for research grants were rejected because of possible conflict of interest violations was correct, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said.

But the non-partisan, non-profit organization stressed that the names of the institutions should have been released as soon as the problem came to light.

"Holding back the details simply undermines the public's trust in the stem cell agency," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project Director. "I don't understand their propensity for secrecy. It serves neither the board nor the agency nor the public."

The institutions involved are UC San Francisco, UC San Diego, UCLA, University of Southern California and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. Officials at the institutions who are also members of the stem cell board signed letters supporting applications for research grants.

The 29-member oversight committee met at UCLA today and awarded $54.4 million in grants for young faculty members beginning their research careers. After 10 applications were rejected because of the conflict problem, 48 applications were under consideration. The board approved 22 grants.

It is expected that another call for young faculty grants will be approved at the board's January meeting. The 10 rejected applicants, as well as others, could apply in that round. Before the applications were tossed out, the board expected to authorize $85 million in grants.

"The stem cell agency continues too frequently to operate as if it were a private club or foundation, not the $6 billion state agency it in fact is," said Simpson. "This unwarranted veil of secrecy undermines public trust in the agency and ultimately undercuts faith in vital, lifesaving research."

The problems involving the young faculty grants are the second conflict of interest problems to come to light at the stem cell agency in two weeks. Under the law, board members cannot take part in decisions about grants to their institutions. Despite those rules, some board members who are university deans wrote letters supporting applicants from their schools.

Earlier it was discovered that John Reed, board member and president of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, had improperly intervened seeking to overcome the rejection of a $638,000 grant to his institution. On Monday, California's Fair Political Practices Commission agreed to investigate a conflict of interest complaint against Reed brought by FTCR.

FTCR said an announcement Tuesday from Reed that he would recuse himself from all stem cell board deliberations until the investigation is concluded was only a step in the right direction.

"The stem cell board would be best served if Reed simply resigned," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project director. Simpson has also called for stem cell committee Chairman Robert Klein to step aside as chairman of the oversight board.

"Klein got the stem cell agency off the ground with great entrepreneurial spirit," said Simpson. "There is much to thank him for. However, he has never demonstrated the he understands that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is a state agency. It's time he passed the torch to someone who gets it. CIRM is not a private club or foundation and cannot be run as if it were."

After the Reed case surfaced and FTCR filed its complaint, State Controller John Chiang announced plans to audit the agency and also called for an FPPC investigation.

"Failure to act promptly and appropriately to restore the public's trust can only damage the institute," said Simpson. "The members of the oversight board are intelligent people. I cannot fathom their propensity to keep shooting themselves in the foot."

Proposition 71, passed by 59 percent of Californians in 2004, created an oversight board fraught with potential conflicts of interest. "Most of the people handing out the money are the very same people from the institutions that get the money," said Simpson. "That means the conflict rules in place must be strictly followed and there must be consequences if they are violated. 'Golly, we meant well and will do better next time' simply does not cut it."

FTCR's Stem Cell Oversight and Accountability Project is working to ensure that California's landmark stem cell research program offers accessible and affordable cures and treatments to the taxpayers who have funded it. The program will award $3 billion in grants over a decade. Bond financing charges mean the project, the largest source of stem cell research funding in the world, will cost California taxpayers $6 billion.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. ImmuneRegen Responds to Defense Threat Reduction Agency Request for Information
2. Pharmion and MethylGene Announce Orphan Drug Designation Granted by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for MGCD0103 for the Treatment of Hodgkins Lymphoma
3. International Atomic Energy Agency and National Foundation for Cancer Research Launch Major Initiative to Improve Cancer Prevention and Treatments in Developing Countries
4. Sequella Lead Drug Compound SQ109 Receives Orphan Drug Status From the US FDA and Orphan Medicinal Product Designation From the European Medicines Agency for the Treatment of Tuberculosis
5. New Survey Reveals Many Adults With High Cholesterol Fail to Take Necessary Steps to Improve Their Condition
6. New paper reveals nanoscale details of photolithography process
7. Ohio Academic Institutions Increase Research and Development Investments
8. California Stem Cell Board Member Violates Conflict Rules; Should Resign From Committee, Consumer Group Says
9. A Large-Scale Research Project by a Dutch Consortium Addressing a Global Problem
10. New Licence for Cubicin(R) (daptomycin), the First in a Novel Class of Antibiotic, is Announced Today for the Treatment of Serious Bloodstream and Heart Infections Caused by the Most Problematic UK Organisms, Including MRSA
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, ... Research, London (ICR) and University of ... SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), ... nine . The University of Leeds ... funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights ... (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM ... firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu ... , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness ... targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness ... Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader ... United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued ... linking of an iris image with a face image ... the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):