California is quietly shifting funds away from failed embryonic stem cell research and into adult stem cell research. Despite the state's passion for killing unborn babies, it's hard to justify it on an industrial scale without any hope of turning a profit.
California's Institute for Regenerative Medicine came into being five years ago, fueled by a conviction that the Bush administration's restriction on embryo-destructive research in the National Institutes of Health was stifling the progress of science.
But after years of fruitless work, the Institute has now quietly diverted funds from embryonic stem cell research (ESCr) to adult stem cell research - which has already produced dozens of treatments and all-out cures for maladies ranging from spinal cord injury, to Alzheimer's, to type I diabetes.
The California government - which is again teetering on the brink of bankruptcy - in 2004 passed the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, or Proposition 71. The initiative pumped $3 billion into research seeking some medical use for stem cells harvested from human embryos, which are killed in the process.
But an editorial in the Los Angeles-based Investor's Business Daily magazine January 12 pointed out the abysmal failure of the state's massive investment in research that has procured no effective treatments to date.
"Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress," notes the IBD editors.
"ESCR has failed to deliver and backers of Prop 71 are admitting failure."
Too bad for all those dead babies, but at least the researchers made a boatload of money.