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Stem cell initiative on Calif. ballot

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 21, 2004

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A referendum asking California voters to approve a $3 billion plan to fund stem cell research will be on the November ballot, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced June 2 after certifying that initiative supporters had collected more than enough petition signatures.

The plan calls for establishing a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and making $295 million available to stem cell researchers every year for 10 years. To fund the research, the state would borrow $3 billion, which would be paid off over 30 years.

New Jersey, the only other state to specifically approve embryonic stem cell research, recently allocated $6.5 million to establish a stem cell research institute in New Brunswick. Other states reportedly interested in approving stem cell research include Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

In fiscal 2003, the federal government -- through the National Institutes of Health -- supported $24.8 million in human embryonic stem cell research. NIH also supported $190.7 million in human non-embryonic stem cell research in fiscal 2003.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/06/21/prbf0621.htm.

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