The Obama administration’s decision to open the door to federal funding for embryonic stem cell research has long-term benefits for the region.
Already, University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers have indicated they will receive millions of dollars in funding for new therapies.
These will give a boost to some early-stage projects that are the direct result of increased collaboration between UCSB, private industry and other campuses around the region.
Meanwhile, in Thousand Oaks, the shift in policy could boost the future prospects for Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company.
Amgen has been investing in a wide variety of new therapies in recent years, and it would not surprise us if it disclosed that its portfolio includes at least one investment in a stem cell research company.
Beyond UCSB and Amgen, growth in stem cell research and therapies will provide jobs and training opportunities for all of our educational institutions, including California State University, Channel Islands, which has forged close ties with the biotech industry. It should foster startups that take place outside the university system.
That’s partly because the government’s action places California at the forefront of stem cell research, thanks in large part to a state ballot initiative that provided funding outside the restrictions that remained in place during the Bush administration.
This is just one of many areas in which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a big backer of stem cell research, broke from the previous administration’s policies.
For those of us who don’t hold Ph.Ds or apply for big grants, there’s the hope that new therapies will help stave off the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease or treat spinal cord injuries. Given California’s leading position in medical research, increased funding in the application of stem cells can only provide additional benefits to tri-county residents who seek treatment.
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