The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) again seems to realize that adult stem cells have a distinct advantage over embryonic stem cells, including the best opportunity of helping patients. CIRM is spending $3 billion of California taxpayers money (a $6 billion payback with the interest) on stem cell research. Their reason for existence originally was to fund embryonic stem cell and cloning research.

This week they approved funding for 19 grants worth $67 million; the funding is "its second round of awards designed to move good ideas out of the lab and into the clinic." (A complete list of applications including those not funded is posted.)

Only 5 of the 19 funded grants involve embryonic stem cells. Zero grants on cloned embryos.

Last year the CIRM funded 14 "Disease Research Team" grants designed to move to the clinic, with only 4 of the 14 grants used embryonic stem cells, and zero grants on cloned embryos.

The funding continues to emphasize the pragmatism noted by CIRM president Alan Trounson:

"If we went 10 years and had no clinical treatments, it would be a failure."

Trounson has recently said that CIRM provides the "most significant source" of dollars available for hESC research in the U.S.

More funds for adult stem cells is welcome news, since adult stem cells are saving lives and improving health of thousands of patients now.