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When stem cells burst onto the public scene 20 years ago, hand-wringing and excitement in equal measure ensued.
Scientists had known about these precursors to different types of cells since the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1998, when researchers developed a method to derive stem cells from human embryos and grow them in the laboratory, that the excitement began to build.
But the outcry was swift. In 2001, President George W. Bush in 2001 banned federal funding for any studies using newly created stem cell lines. But in 2004, Californians voted to circumvent these federal restrictions, passing Proposition 71, a bond measure that gave the state $3 billion to create a state stem cell research agency, now called the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Now, CIRM has around $900 million left of its $3 billion initial funding, which McCormack says will last about another five years at the current rate of spending. The agency has been under pressure the last several years to streamline the funding and research process.
Read full, original post: Stem Cells: Where Science, Hope and Hype Meet