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For all of the whining we hear from the political-scientists about lack of funding for ESCR/SCNT, it is stunning to see just how much money is out there for the research, as shown in the Rockefeller Institute Report, “Federalism by Necessity.” Consider that the Feds support for ESCR (about $40 milllion annually) states pay for it (California alone, soon to be about $300 million annually) and philanthropic funding (Stowers Institute $985 million so far), have already poured billions into the research. Indeed, author shows that private sources alone have contributed about $1.7 billion into ESCR/SCNT so far.

It is interesting that the author also does not believe the federal support will go up much in the next administration. The NIH’s budget is flattening and grant application approvals shrinking. Thus, even if the Bush policy is rescinded, the bulk of ESCR funding will be provided by the states and philanthropic sources.

I would also note that if billions have gone into the research so far, with limited progress due to ESCR’s difficulty and complexity, imagine the cost of trying to bring this form of regenerative medicine to the clinical setting. And the time it will take.

Perhaps the funders should rethink their priorities.

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