Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stem Cells in WA: Got Private $?

Saturday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a great article featuring the role of private money in stem cell research in Seattle. The internet version of the story features a nice picture of the Three Amigos of the Seattle stem cell scene. Randy Moon, Chuck Murry and Tony Blau have traveled the state to raise awareness and money for their Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. That's right, the acronym is pronounced, "Ice Cream!" But seriously, these professors have testified before state legislators in Olympia, schmoozed local philanthropists, given tours of their labs, and enlisted their graduate students to do appropriate outreach. As campaigners for ISCRM, they also are delegates for science. For that, they get a tip of the hat from me. (Speaking of hats, I resisted the urge to enhance the above image with sombreros.)

Their efforts have not been in vain. Several large donations have come in so far, including from Orin Smith (Starbucks), Jeff and Susan Brotman (Costco), and Scott and Laurie Oki (Microsoft). And it's not just the private donations... the UW secured a highly competitive $10 million stem cell grant from the NIH earlier this year. By the way, the UW rents its South Lake Union digs from Paul Allen (Microsoft).

The part of the PI story I would like to know more about is the recent visit to Seattle by Robert Klein, co-founder the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The CIRM oversees the distribution of $3 billion to stem cell research between 2006 and 2016 that California voters passed in 2005. Is it possible that folks are starting to build an initiative process for stem cells in Washington State? I suppose we will have to wait and see...

Photo Credit: Mike Urban / P-I

1 comment:

Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

Yea! Good news for medical research.