Legislature could boost U stem cell research

The future of the University of Minnesotas regenerative medicine research program is looking brighter than ever.

State and federal leaders in the past have denied funding for the Universitys Office of Regenerative Medicine, which includes the Stem Cell Institute, because some had ethical disagreements with stem cell research.

But this legislative session, with a DFL majority and an overall shift in public opinion, researchers and legislators are confident funding will come through this year.

The current House bill sets aside $450,000 for the Office of Regenerative Medicine, while the Senate version outlines a $5 million increase each year from 2015-17. The bills texts dont specify how funds should be used and how they would be divided between the University and the Mayo Clinic, its research partner.

The Senates bill mandates that anadvisory task force comprised of members from the University, the Mayo Clinic and private industry, as well as two other regenerative medicine experts, recommend how to spend the state funding.

Dayton didnt include funds for the research in his original budget proposal this year, but Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, said there seems to be a general consensus among legislators to work together and decide on a funding amount.

I have not heard many naysayers, she said.

Changing perceptions

The state plays a major role in moving the institutes research forward.

These days, legislators are more open to it than they were in the past, said Dr. Andre Terzic, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine.

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Legislature could boost U stem cell research

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