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NYSTEM: nearly $109 million for new RFA's issued, meeting May 13, 2008: draft strategic plan

The Empire State Stem Cell Board will hold a regular business meeting on May 13, 2008 in Albany, NY which will include meetings of both the Ethics Committee and the Funding Committee. Agenda topics include: Ethics and the Sources of Stem Cells for Research; Report on Interstate Alliance on Stem Cell Research (IASCR);Consideration of Draft Strategic Plan.(1)

Governor David A. Paterson announced that new state funding of nearly $109 million is being made available to support stem cell research initiatives in New York, representing the second round of available funding from the state’s 11-year, $600 million stem cell research initiative that was approved as part of last year’s state budget. Governor Paterson played a leading role in the development and implementation of the state’s stem cell initiative while he was Lieutenant Governor. 'This new funding will strengthen and revitalize New York’s biomedical research industry and potentially help thousands of New Yorkers who suffer debilitating diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and cancer.'

4 new RFAs seek proposals to broadly stimulate stem cell research through:
-Consortia Planning Grants-to encourage collaborations among new and established stem cell investigators within and between New York State institutions and in partnership with non-New York State investigators and corporations.
-Facilities and Equipment Grants-to support the establishment and operation of multi-institutional core facilities and specialized equipment to maximize the expertise, efficiency, and quality of stem cell research.
-Investigator-Initiated Research Projects and Innovative, Developmental or Exploratory Activities (IDEA) in Stem Cell Research-to support investigations of stem cell biology that will increase understanding of the unique properties of stem cells and allow their use to treat disease; awards for well developed basic, translational or pre-clinical research, or for preliminary testing of novel or high-risk hypotheses.
-Targeted Investigation of Pluripotent Stem Cells-to support the development of improved methods for deriving pluripotent stem cell lines; defining the reprogramming mechanisms, and comparing the utility of induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells with embryonic and other pluripotent stem cells for use in disease models and potential therapeutic applications.(2)

IASCR is a voluntary body whose mission is to advance stem cell research by fostering effective interstate collaboration, by assisting states in developing research programs, and by promoting efficient and responsible use of public funds.
Support for the IASCR Secretariat at the National Academies has been provided by the Presidents' Committee of the National Research Council.(3)

(1)http://stemcell.ny.gov/events_nystem_full_committee.html To attend the meeting, please provide Ms. Mary Szesnat with advance notice by 12:00 p.m., Monday, May 12, 2008. (518) 474-1151 or mms04@health.state.ny.us. View a webcast of the meeting at
http://www.health.state.ny.us/events/webcasts/(2)http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/press_0508081.html Letters of intent for all the RFAs are due May 28, 2008, with applications due June 30, 2008. The full RFAs can be found on the state Department of Health’s website www.nyhealth.gov/funding and on the NYSTEM website www.stemcell.ny.gov/research_support.html.
(3)http://www.iascr.org/ see below.

The first NYSTEM awards – totaling nearly $15 million – were made to 25 research institutions in January, focusing on increasing the capacity of research institutions in New York State to engage in stem cell research.

The IASCR website provides links to legislation, rules, and policies regarding state stem cell research programs. Their list comprises:
1.Association of American Medical Colleges (Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Regulatory and Administrative Challenges);
2.International Society for Stem Cell Research;
3.International Stem Cell Forum;
4.International Stem Cell Initiative;
5.National Academies (Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee and Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research);
6.National Conference of State Legislatures (State embryonic and fetal research laws
Stem Cells: A Guide for Policymakers)
7.National Governors Association and Pew Center on the States(Innovation America: Investing in Innovation w/Pew Center on the States).
Much of the state stem cell programs is also contained in a summary table of state policies compiled by Susan Stayn of Stanford University for:California ,Connecticut ,Illinois ,Maryland, Massachusetts ,New Jersey ,New York ,Rhode Island ,Wisconsin.
The website points to other regulatory frameworks Federal framework for stem cell research including International stem cell programs ,National Academies' Guidelines ,International Society for Stem Cell Research.

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