Wednesday, May 11, 2005

stem cell research hitting San Francisco

California, always at the forefront of political, social and cultural issues in America, will have one of the United State’s most forward thinking and potentially life-changing buildings in the heart of the progressive north. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine will station its command center for stem cell research in San Francisco, and there is a very real possibility that the biotechnology field will finally start to realize its potential. The controversial debate over stem cell research has paralyzed the federal government. In 2001, President bush issued a directive that restricted research and development of stem cell technology to existing stem cell lines, of which there are a little over a dozen here, and about 65 worldwide. Bush consulted priests, scientists, pro-life activists and doctors, and came to the conclusion that stifling the field would serve his constituents best. Thankfully, in California there is no debate. The stem cell initiative proposition 71 passed in November, and now the state has the opportunity to be on the ground floor of innovation and medicine, and San Francisco is where it will all begin. The contest pit San Diego, Sacramento, Emeryville and San Francisco in the final round of potential host cities, but San Francisco edged out Sacramento in the final vote. Political watchers in San Francisco agree that this is a big boost for mayor Gavin Newsom and his push to revitalize the mission bay district with major industry. Coupled with the new university of California San Francisco campus and housing developments, the center will put an international spotlight on the area. Although no one is sure where stem cell research will lead, all eyes will be on San Francisco with hope for the future. The potential benefits of this kind of research are enormous and well-known, with the possibility of slowing down or stopping degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and helping to treat or even cure diabetes, arthritis and cancer, among others. This is an exiting time for the biotechnology field, and lucky for the federal government, California is not letting the United State’s fall behind in the race to cultivate this new technology. Like non-petroleum energy sources, biotechnology is the only way to prepare for the future of human civilization. As the United States gets mired in holding onto the past while ignoring the future, it is this kind of forward thinking that gives hope to those of us that want to thrive during the next global revolution.

8 Comments:

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