Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey

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N.J. releases $10 million for stem-cell work

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By Tom Hester Jr.
Associated Press

TRENTON - New Jersey awarded $10 million in stem-cell research grants yesterday that Gov. Corzine hoped would help skirt federal restrictions on embryonic stem-cell work.
The state Commission on Science and Technology awarded money that Corzine had included in the current state budget.

The awards include:
$300,000 to Dr. Biagio Saitta of the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden.

$2.5 million to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in conjunction with Rutgers for work focusing on genes and human embryonic stem cells.

The remainder will go to 16 researchers from university and nonprofit institutions in New Jersey.
Corzine said the grants would help develop a "vibrant world-class stem cell research community" in New Jersey that will help lead to groundbreaking treatments.

"While federal stem-cell research funding continues to be limited, New Jersey has actively promoted vital programs and initiatives to foster this important research, further enhancing the state's reputation as a preeminent leader in the development of this life-saving science," the Democratic governor said.

Embryonic stem cells are created in the first days after conception. Scientists hope they can be used to replace many diseased tissues, but some oppose destroying embryos for research.

In 2001, President Bush imposed strict guidelines on federal funding for embryonic research, so several states have decided to pay for it themselves.

California approved spending $3 billion on stem-cell research, Connecticut has a $100 million program, Illinois spent $10 million, and Maryland awarded $15 million in grants.
Yesterday's New Jersey grant recipients were chosen from among 76 applications, which underwent scientific and ethics reviews.

Last year the Legislature approved spending $230 million to build stem-cell research facilities throughout the state. The commission last week approved $9.2 million to begin building the central research facility, the $150 million Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, expected to open in spring 2011 in New Brunswick.

Also ran in: Burlington County Times & Daily record