Prop. 14 Asks Voters To OK $5.5 Billion In Bonds For Additional Stem Cell Research
roposition 14 asks California voters to issue $5.5 billion in bonds to continue financing the state’s stem cell research institute. Supporters want the money to continue the science, but critics say the science didn’t do enough the first time.
In 2004, under the Bush Administration, California voters decided to issue $3 billion in bonds so the state could create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM. This was at a time when the federal government closed off funding for stem cell research for religious reasons.
Now that money for CIRM has dried up, and supporters such as UC San Diego Health neuroscientist Larry Goldstein, PhD, say voters should agree to provide more money.
Trump’s Covid Treatments Were Tested in Cells Derived From Fetal Tissue
When the Trump administration suspended federal funding in 2019 for most new scientific research projects involving fetal tissue derived from abortions, officials argued that whatever the scientific benefits, there was a pressing moral imperative to find alternative research methods.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement released at the time.
Yet the treatment for Covid-19 received by Mr. Trump — a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies he described as a “cure” in a celebratory video posted on Twitter — was developed using human cells derived from a fetus aborted decades ago.
Some scientists saw a double standard in the president’s endorsement. “Hypocrisy has never bothered the man, as near as I can tell,” Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, who has used fetal tissue in his research, said of Mr. Trump.
UC San Diego research offers potential new treatments for COVID by revealing how virus enters cells
The National Institutes of Health highlighted research Tuesday out of UC San Diego that could unlock a new way to treat COVID-19.
The research reveals new insight into how the coronavirus hijacks cells, and how doctors might be able to set traps or decoys to combat the virus. The findings were published in the journal Cell last month.
“It does open up another avenue for a potential treatment,” said UC San Diego distinguished professor Dr. Jeffrey Esko, PhD. “It’s not a cure. It would be something that would tamp down infection potentially.”
California's Stem-Cell Research Program Nearly Out of Money
California's first-of-its-kind state program to fund stem-cell research is running out of money and supporters want voters to provide a $5.5 billion infusion.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for research since the non-profit was created in a 2004 ballot question supported by 59% of voters. New stem-cell labs were created around the state and grants were awarded to Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prominent institutions.
“I would be optimistic that having a medical emergency at the international level would hopefully drive people to realize that funding for medical research that leads to therapies and cures — including for COVID-19 where there are some interesting approaches underway that CIRM has funded — would persuade some people to vote yes,” said Larry Goldstein, PhD, director of the University of California, San Diego’s stem cell research program.
Researchers describe details of protein linked to genetically inherited Parkinson's disease
In August, a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego published groundbreaking back-to-back studies describing unprecedented details of a protein linked to genetically inherited Parkinson's disease.
The researchers produced the first visualizations of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, or LRRK2, as seen within its natural environment inside the cell, as well as the first high-resolution blueprint of the protein.
"The goal of this project is to understand the basic cell biology and structure of this really fundamentally important LRRK2 molecule," said Samara Reck-Peterson, PhD, the lead principal investigator of the project, a professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Division of Biological Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
"If we can find out why LRRK2--when it doesn't work--causes Parkinson's disease, that's really the ultimate goal. When you are thinking about designing a drug, you really need to understand all the details of the parts in order to engineer therapeutics."
Project co-principal investigator Andres Leschziner, PhD, and his colleagues have used the growing cryo-EM facility at UC San Diego to produce atomic-level visualizations of LRRK2 in the most detailed images of the protein to date. Leschziner plans to use cryo-EM to develop a full blueprint of LRRK2 in normal and mutant states.