NYSCF Responds to New Jersey Stem Cell Vote

The New York Stem Cell Foundation expresses its disappointment in the state of New Jersey for voting “no” on...

The New York Stem Cell Foundation expresses its disappointment in the state of New Jersey for voting “no” on the Stem Cell Research Bond Act ballot initiative on Tuesday, November 6.

Last fall, Governor Corzine signed into law a bill providing $270 million to build stem cell research facilities.  The ballot initiative asked New Jersey residents whether the state should invest $45 million a year for the next decade, for a total of $450 million for ten years, in order to fund stem cell researchers to take residence in these buildings and begin their important work.  This funding would have supported cutting-edge research that holds the potential to improve our understanding of disease and lead to better treatments and, ultimately, cures for people living with Parkinson’s disease, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other debilitating conditions.  

This past Spring New York State passed a budget measure that will provide $600 million in funding over the next eleven years for regenerative medicine, including embryonic stem cell research.  Susan L. Solomon, NYSCF CEO and co-founder, praised New York’s budget appropriation as a pivotal investment in one of the most promising areas of scientific endeavor, and had hoped that New Jersey would in turn make a similar bold pronouncement to the scientific community.  

In the absence of Federal leadership and state-wide support for human embryonic stem cell research, organizations like NYSCF must bridge the gap with private funding in order to push the field forward and unlock the potential of these cells.   Susan Solomon, stated: “Right now, private philanthropy is making it possible for the most cutting-edge human embryonic stem cell research to proceed. When federal and state funding are added to the equation, private organizations like NYSCF will be able to expand their initiatives through private-public partnerships. These partnerships would become even more potent drivers of this incredibly promising science.”

Concluded Solomon, “Despite this recent setback, I trust that New Jersey residents do support this most important field of research, and that the government leaders in New Jersey will continue to work to create a climate where stem cell research can thrive.  It is my hope that sometime in the near future, the great states of New York and New Jersey will forge partnerships to turn the East Coast into a global center of embryonic stem cell research, science that offers real hope for improving our understanding of the diseases and disabilities that affect millions of Americans.”