Governor Schwarzenegger Highlights California-Canada Partnership on Life-saving Stem Cell Research

Governor Schwarzenegger Highlights California-Canada Partnership on Life-saving Stem Cell Research

Continuing California's leadership in potentially life-saving stem cell research, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with Canada's Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, together highlighted the depth of collaboration between Californian and Canadian stem cell research scientists.

During a press conference at MaRS Discovery District, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced collaboration between UC Berkeley's Stem Cell Center and Canada's International Regulome Consortium to coordinate research and take advantage of each institution's expertise.

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the creation of the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, which will coordinate and fund cancer stem cell research of both Canada and California researchers, universities and private industry. In addition, the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR) will donate the first $30 million (Canadian) to fund the Consortium, benefiting both Canadian and Californian researchers.

"These initiatives unite some of the best scientists in the world and it shows what we can do when we work together to solve big problems," said Gov. Schwarzenegger. "I also want to offer my deepest gratitude to the scientists and doctors in California and Canada who are using our resources to find new therapies and cures. These innovators are adding new rays of hope for the millions of people around the world who suffer from diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer and multiple sclerosis."

Gov. Schwarzenegger, along with Premier Dalton McGuinty, toured Dr. John Dick's cancer stem cell research lab, where Dr. Dick is working to understand how stem cells can be manipulated. Dr. Dick will be the OICR Program Director for Cancer Stem Cell Research and is planning collaborations with California stem cell biologists in the context of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership.

The Cancer Stem Cell Consortium is a project initiated by the stem cell and regenerative medicine working group of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership, a unique collaboration between California and Canada stakeholders from universities, private sector and government.

MaRS CEO, Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, also announced she is joining the steering committee of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership. Attendees at today's news conference included: Dr. Robert Dynes, University of California President; Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director, OICR; Robert Klein, chairman Independent Citizen Oversight Committee, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM); Dr. James Till, Ontario Cancer Institute; Dr. Ernest McCulloch, Ontario Cancer Institute and Dr. Robert Tjian, UC Berkeley.

in 2004, California voters approved Proposition 71 to devote $3 billion to stem cell research and create CIRM. So far, CIRM has approved research grants totaling $158 million. The California Supreme Court recently upheld a lower court's ruling which frees up the $3 billion in funding from legal challenges. While this court ruling was pending, Gov. Schwarzenegger authorized loans of up to $150 million to keep California on the forefront of stem cell research.

California's investment in embryonic stem cell research is three times higher than the National Institutes of Health's funding. Compared internationally, China's Ministry of Science and Technology will put up to $132 million into research over the next five years, and the British government put $72.7 million into public funds for stem cell research between 2004 and 2006.