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New Conflict of Interest Violations Revealed at California Stem Cell Institute
Date:12/7/2007

Tainted Research Grant Applications Must Be Rejected, Consumer Advocates Say

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More apparent conflict of interest violations in applications for research grants in California's $6 billion stem cell program were revealed today and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called for all the tainted applications to be rejected.

The latest improprieties were reported by the San Francisco Chronicle and came in the wake of the revelation that John Reed, Burnham Institute president and stem cell board member, had lobbied to reverse the rejection of a grant to his institution. Read the Chronicle story here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/07/BAOTTQ0JO.D TL&feed=rss.bayarea

The new violations of stem cell board ethics rules came when some university deans who also serve on the stem cell board wrote letters supporting applications for research grants. The grants in question could total $3 million each over five years. During its meeting in Los Angeles next week, the stem cell board plans to award up to $85 million for the grants which are aimed at faculty members just starting their independent research careers.

Applications from UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Los Angeles and the University of Southern California were reported to be affected.

"It's simple: stem cell board members cannot take part in any way in grants to their institutions," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project Director. "The board is not some old-boy's club for the benefit of the state's universities. They are public officials and stewards of the public interest. Perhaps a few of these deans need to enroll in Ethics 101 at their universities and get the basics down."

FTCR said that the tainted applications must be thrown out. To do other
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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