The Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC) for theCalifornia Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM; Emeryville, California) commented on pending legislation at the state and federal level on stem cell research and the adoption of theNational Academy of Sciences’ (NAS; Washington) Medical and Ethical Standards as the CIRM interim standards.

The ICOC voted unanimously to oppose Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 13. SCA 13 seeks to strengthen conflict-of-interest rules on Proposition 71-funded stem-cell research, co-authored by Sens. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) and George Runner (D-Lancaster), and would require the agency set up by Proposition 71 to follow standards recently applied to the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland).

“We have many of the same goals as Sen. Ortiz, and we all see the promise in funding the research that was mandated by the people of California. That’s why we cannot understand this rush to judgment to try and get SCA 13 on this fall’s ballot,” said Robert Klein, chair of the ICOC. “Today many distinguished board members made it clear that the current language in SCA 13 would destroy Proposition 71; it’s time to work together and get down to the business of finding treatments and cures for chronic diseases.”

Zach Hall, PhD, interim president of CIRM, said, “We are doing our best at CIRM to start our scientific program in stem cell research. If enacted, SCA 13 will stop us in our tracks.”

The ICOC also unanimously voted to support HR 810 (Castle/DeGette) and S 471. The Castle/DeGette bill is scheduled for a vote before the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

The ICOC also voted to adopt the NAS Medical and Ethical Standards, released on April 26, as the CIRM interim standards. These will serve as the interim standards for the period of 270 days of public hearings, or until the ICOC approves permanent standards based on the recommendations of the Scientific and Medical Accountability Standards Working Group, which is expected to meet in July.