A View from David Appell

Selling Stem Cells

Californians are set to vote on a proposal to spend $300 million a year over the next 10 years for stem cell research. For some perspective on how big a deal this would be, the federal government spent $25 million…

  • September 20, 2004

Californians are set to vote on a proposal to spend $300 million a year over the next 10 years for stem cell research. For some perspective on how big a deal this would be, the federal government spent $25 million last year. The ballot measure, known as Proposition 71, is being financially supported by a strong cadre of entertainers, business people, and others, including Nancy Reagan, as the New York Times reports today and would be a strong counteraction to the Bush administration’s ban on new stem cell lines. But is the Times overstating the number of potential beneficiaries of stem cell research? The paper writes, “half of California’s families are affected by one or more of the 70 diseases or conditions that could respond to stem cell therapies,” in which they include Alzheimer’s disease. (Approximately 500,000 Californians have Alzheimer’s disease.) But as the Washington Post reported in June, stem cells are an unlikely therapy for Alzheimers, which involves the loss of huge numbers and varieties of the brain’s 100 billion nerve cells. Lest California voters come to wonder just what they’ve been sold, it may be better to be up front about it in the first place.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

You've read of free articles this month.