Rare Daily Staff

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the stem cell agency created by California voters in 2004, is running out of money and facing an uncertain future.

In a blog post the agency said it expects to have enough money to fund new projects up to the end of this year.

CIRM was created in response to Federal restrictions on stem cell research. It allowed for $3 billion in funding of stem cell facilities and research and promised to make California a leader in the emerging science that was expected to develop new therapies for intractable diseases and potential cures. To date, the institute has funded 54 clinical trials.

“In 2004, the patient advocate community recognized that the research we fund could help them or a loved one battling a deadly disease or disorder. And over the last 15 years that’s exactly what we have done, trying to live up to our mission of accelerating stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs,” wrote Kevin McCormack, senior director of public communications and patient advocate outreach at CIRM. “But it’s just a start. We still have a lot to do.”

CIRM will hold a Patient Advocate event Tuesday, June 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Petree Hall C., at the Los Angeles Convention Center at 1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The event is free and open to all. Event details and registration can be found online.

The event will review the progress the agency has made to date and discuss the challenges facing CIRM and the field, as well as a possible new ballot initiative for next year that could help re-fund CIRM, giving it the opportunity to continue its work.

McCormack in his blog post made a direct plea to patients, patient advocates, and members of the public.

“Without you we wouldn’t be here,” he wrote. “Without you we will disappear. Without us the field of stem cell research loses a vital source of support and funding, and potentially-life saving therapies fall by the wayside.” 

Photo: Kevin McCormack, senior director of public communications and patient advocate outreach at CIRM

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