California’s gene therapy effort is nation’s first

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California’s gene therapy effort is nation’s first

Source:Capitol Weekly

California today became the first state in the nation to launch itself into the sizzling field of gene therapy, backed by tens of millions of dollars and with the hope of creating treatments that could permanently cure afflictions ranging from hemophilia to cancer.

The move came today as the board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency opened its doors to funding gene therapy research that has reached the most advanced stage, clinical trials. The agency said that gene therapy — minus stem cells — is “valuable and worthy of pursuit.”

“This is where the science is going,” said Jeff Sheehy, chairman of the CIRM board’s Science Subcommittee, at hearing earlier this month,

The state stem cell program has allocated $143 million for research programs next year that could include gene therapy.

A document prepared by the leadership of the agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), said,  “For CIRM and the patients it aims to serve, it is vital to support technologies which prove to be highly complementary and augmenting to stem cells, such as gene therapy.”

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