Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Spitzer Wants New York to Enter Stem Cell Race

The New York Times NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

A very well written article on Stem Cell Research and the political history here in New York.....what a economic shot in the arm this research would be to upstate communities.........andy

ALBANY, Jan. 12 — Five years ago, the Bush administration decided to severely limit federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that set off vigorous competition among the states to provide support for a research field that many scientists say could bring about major medical advances.
New Jersey was first out of the gate, pledging millions of dollars for stem cell research in the state. California raised the stakes with a huge $3 billion bond initiative, and other states followed with ballot initiatives or legislation to give scientists grants or to build research centers. Those efforts, supporters promised, would also bring in new jobs and tax revenue.
But New York — home to leading research universities, medical centers and biotechnology companies — has remained absent from the list. Legislative efforts in recent years to direct state money to embryonic stem cell research have stalled, and then fizzled.
Now, state lawmakers are preparing to move forward on what would be the most ambitious government-financed stem cell project on the East Coast.
In his first address to the Legislature, Gov.
Eliot Spitzer called this month for passage of a $2 billion 10-year bond initiative for research and development, at least half of which would be set aside to pay for stem cell research. And the project is being tailored as an economic development effort in the hopes of attracting support from upstate Republican lawmakers.
Advocates for stem cell research say that if successful, the initiative — by pledging a sizable investment over a sustained period — would catapult New York to the forefront of the field. They also say that bringing the state’s academic and scientific institutions more into the research mix could have significant ripple effects across the country.
“The real value is that if New York is involved, you suddenly have an ability to make a leap in progress across the country’s best minds,” said David Bluestone, a spokesman for Americans for Stem Cell Therapies and Cures, a national advocacy group. “You never get advances from one lab in one state. You need this to be happening across all the states with the best research institutions. California can’t go it alone.”
Click here to read the rest........andy

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