New York's Stem Cell Research Strategic Plan Available for Public Comment

Will Guide New York's 11-Year, $600 Million Investment

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 28, 2008) - The public is invited to review and comment on a strategic framework to guide New York State's $600 million, 11-year investment in stem cell research.

The Empire State Stem Cell Board's draft Strategic Plan is available at the New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM) website at www.stemcell.ny.gov. Comments will be accepted until June 20, 2008.

"This 11-year investment in stem cell research holds the promise of strengthening and revitalizing New York's biomedical research industry, and more importantly, saving lives and improving health," said Governor David A. Paterson, an early leader in New York's initiative. "I encourage the public to review and comment on this plan."

"With the support of Governor Paterson and the State Legislature, much progress has been made in getting New York's stem cell research program off to a strong start," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., chair of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. "The draft Strategic Plan is a forward-looking, comprehensive, balanced plan that adheres to widely accepted national and international standards."

New York's stem cell research initiative was approved by the Governor and the State Legislature as part of the 2007-2008 state budget. The Empire State Stem Cell Board, which guides the initiative, adopted the draft Strategic Plan at its May 13, 2008, meeting. It will review public comments before taking final action to adopt the plan at its June 27, 2008, meeting.

According to the draft Strategic Plan, the state will utilize the funding to support innovative basic, translational and clinical research that builds on the potential of stem cells to detect, treat and cure human diseases. New York's legislation creating the stem cell research initiative expressly forbids the use of state funding for human reproductive cloning.

In addition to supporting specific stem cell research projects, the Board's Strategic Plan identifies four other categories for funding:

  • Scientific Training: To ensure a robust, interactive stem cell research community by providing training opportunities for new and established investigators in stem cell research;
  • Infrastructure Development: To expand stem cell research capacity by establishing and ensuring access to appropriate infrastructure and resources;
  • Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues and Education: To ensure that stem cell research adheres to the highest standards of medical ethics and that the ethical, legal, social and psychological implications of advances in stem cell research are appropriately addressed by engaging diverse communities in research, scholarships and education on these issues; and,
  • Administration: To manage the Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund under the highest standards of accountability on behalf of the people of New York.

The Strategic Plan was developed over a period of six months through a collaborative process that involved members of the Empire State Stem Cell Board's Funding and Ethics Committees as well as external experts and State Health Department staff, who administer the NYSTEM program.

To maintain flexibility and allow the Board to respond quickly to new discoveries in stem cell research, the Board will periodically reassess and update the Strategic Plan.