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informed debate regarding stem cell tourism 1Health Law Institute, Law Centre, University of effects of state-funded stem cell research is
and for protecting potentially vulnerable Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 2School both timely and useful.
individuals. of Communication, American University, The database that forms the basis for the
Washington, DC, USA3. Faculty of Law and analysis described here contains the title,
Note: Supplementary information is available on the School of Public Health, Law Centre, University
Nature Biotechnology website. principal investigator, institution, abstract
of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
and amount for each grant awarded by
Acknowledgments e-mail: tcaulfld@law.ualberta.ca
We would like to thank Canada’s Stem Cell Network the agency overseeing stem cell research
for funding and the University of Alberta’s Health Law 1. Qui, J. Nat. Biotechnol. 27, 790–792 (2009) funding in these six states (Supplementary
2. Lindvall, O. & Hyun, I. Science 324, 1664–1665
Institute for administrative support. We also gratefully
(2009).
Methods). In all, between December 2005
acknowledge C. Scott, J. McCormick, T. Bubela and 3. Lau, D. et al. Cell Stem Cell 3, 591–594 (2008). when New Jersey awarded the first state stem
C. Murdoch for their helpful suggestions regarding data 4. Regenberg, A., Hutchinson, L., Schanker, B. & Matthews, D.
collection. Finally, we thank C. Toole for her research
cell grants and the end of 2009, the six stem
Stem Cells 27, 2312–2319 (2009).
support, and G. Barr and T. Adido for their assistance in 5. Ryan, K., Sanders, A., Wang, D. & Levine, A. cell states awarded nearly 750 grants totaling
coding the data. Regenerative Med. 5, 27–33 (2010). just over $1.25 billion. The scale of these
6. Amariglio, N. et al. PLoS Med 6, e1000029 (2009).
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS 7. http://www.isscr.org/clinical_trans/pdfs/ISSCRGL
programs varies substantially, ranging from
All authors contributed to this work. T.C., C.R. and ClinicalTrans.pdf the roughly $15 million awarded by Illinois
A.Z. conceived the research concept. C.R. collected the 8. MacReady, N. Lancet Oncol. 10, 317–318 (2009). and New Jersey to the $1.02 billion awarded
data. C.R. and A.Z. coordinated the coding of the data. 9. Kiatpongsan, S. & Sipp, D. Nat. Rep. Stem Cells
published online 3 December, 2008, doi:10.1038/
by California. On a per capita basis, funding
A.Z. and T.C. prepared the draft manuscript and M.N.
stemcells.2008.151 (2008). awarded through the end of 2009 ranges
helped with interpretation and with theoretical analysis. 10. Zarzeczny, A. & Caulfield, T. Am. J. Bioeth. 10, 1–13
All authors discussed the results and implications and from just over $1 in Illinois to nearly $28 in
© 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

(2010).
commented on the manuscript at all stages. 11. Iyengar, S. & Kinder, D. News that Matters: Television California (Table 1).
and American Public Opinion. (University of Chicago States funding stem cell research
COMPETING FINANCIAL INTERESTS Press, Chicago, IL, USA, 1987).
The authors declare no competing financial interests. 12. Nisbet, M.C. & Mooney, C. Science, 316, 56
can choose to support several different
(2007). activities, ranging from investigator-
Amy Zarzeczny1, Christen Rachul1, 13. Creasy, G. & Scott, C. Nat. Biotechnol. 27, 21–22 initiated research grants to new facilities
Matthew Nisbet2 & Timothy Caulfield1,3 (2009).
to workforce development. To investigate
how states prioritized these various types
of funding, each grant was classified by
its primary purpose (Supplementary
Tracking and assessing the rise of Methods). Research grants and support for
scientific infrastructure were the two largest
state-funded stem cell research categories, accounting for more than 90%
of all state stem cell funding (Table 1). The
infrastructure category was dominated by
To the Editor: these state funding programs. Existing the $271 million California awarded for the
The editorial in your October issue1 work on state stem cell policy has focused construction of 12 major stem cell research
highlights the legal challenges to new on identifying policy differences between facilities, although several other states also
guidelines issued by the US National various jurisdictions3,4, assessing the impact dedicated a substantial portion of their
Institutes of Health (NIH) in July 2009 for the of state decisions to support or restrict hESC funding to infrastructure, such as shared
federal funding of human embryonic stem science5–7 and examining the role of states equipment or core laboratories. In contrast
cell (hESC) research. In the eight-year period in governing controversial science8,9. The to supporting basic investigator-initiated
preceding these most recent NIH guidelines, analysis reported here extends this literature research, spending money on infrastructure
only a small number of cell lines could be though use of a novel data set of the grants is a classic state economic development
studied with federal funds. During this time, these states have awarded. These data provide approach, but, in these cases, spending
six states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, insight into how states have prioritized their was motivated, at least in part, by the need
Maryland, New Jersey and New York—took funding, including the extent to which they to create separate laboratories to facilitate
on a role typically played by the NIH and have supported hESC research generally research on unapproved hESC lines.
created funding programs specifically and hESC research not eligible for federal The restrictions on federal funding for
designed to support stem cell research, funding during the Bush Administration hESC research instituted by former President
including hESC research. These are not the more specifically, as well as the extent to George W. Bush were an important rationale
first state programs to fund scientific research which these states have drawn new scientists behind the adoption of most state stem cell
but their commitment to basic research is into the field. The underlying data have been programs, yet it is not clear to what extent
atypical, as most state science and technology publicly released on a new website (http:// state programs focused on hESC research
programs have focused on science closer to www.stemcellstates.net) designed to facilitate generally or hESC research not eligible for
commercialization2. Although the state stem additional analysis of state-funded stem federal funding more specifically. To address
cell programs differ, they each share at least cell science and improve public awareness these questions, each research grant awarded
two goals: advancing promising science, of these programs. Given ongoing legal through the end of 2009 was analyzed to
including research not eligible for federal uncertainties surrounding federal funding assess if funded research used hESCs and,
funding during the Bush Administration, and of hESC research and the likelihood that if applicable, appeared ineligible for federal
returning economic benefits to their state. voters, at least in California, will be asked to funding under the Bush Administration
In this article, we report an initial approve additional state stem cell funding in rules (Supplementary Methods). The
attempt to track and assess the impact of the future, understanding and evaluating the percentage of grants that supported hESC

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Table 1 The scale and prioritization of state stem cell funding programsa
State program
Grants and funding California Connecticut Illinois Maryland New Jersey New York
Year first grants awarded 2006 2006 2006 2007 2005 2008
Total funding pledged/time period $3 billlion/ $100 million/ N/A N/A N/A $600 million/
10 years 10 years 11 years
Number of grants awarded 329 69 17 140 35 158
Funding awarded ($ millions) 1,024 40 15 54 15 121
Funding per capitab($) 28 11 1 10 2 6
Research prioritizationc
Percentage of funding for research 58% 76% 100% 93% 64% 61%
Percentage of funding for infrastructure 31% 24% 0% 0% 36% 34%
Percentage of grants for hESC research 75% 97% 35% 42% 21% 21%
Percentage of grants clearly not NIH eligible 18% 16% 12% 3% 6% 0%
NIH funding status of state grant recipientsd
Percentage of state PIs without NIH stem cell funding 42% 61% 65% 71% 61% 49%
Percentage of state hESC PIs without NIH hESC funding 77% 91% 67% 79% 100% 66%
aIncludes grants awarded through the end of 2009. bPer capita funding based on state population from US Census Bureau 2009 Population Estimates. chESC prioritization analysis includes
© 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

only grants with a primary purpose of research. dNIH funding was examined from FY2005 to present. PIs, principal investigators.

research varied substantially among these unable to access the raw materials or acquire cell research could complement their existing
states (Table 1). Large majorities of the the intellectual property rights required to do research programs.
research grants awarded in Connecticut so. Alternatively, these findings could simply These data also permit a more nuanced
and California supported studies involving reflect scientific interest. The discovery of comparison between state stem cell funding
hESCs, whereas only a minority of grants induced pluripotent stem cells11 may, for and NIH stem cell funding than has
supported hESC research in the other states. instance, have reduced scientific interest in previously been available (Fig. 1). Total state
These disparities likely reflect differences the derivation of new hESC lines. Finally, funding for all types of stem cell research has
in the types of stem cell scientists present in these findings may reflect a preference on the risen rapidly since grants were first awarded
these states as well as priorities of the various part of scientists to use well-established and in 2005, but states still spend less than half of
state funding bodies. well-studied hESC lines. This last explanation what the NIH spends each year on stem cell
Only a subset of grants for hESC may be particularly relevant for new scientists research. The situation is different for hESC
research supported science that was entering the field of hESC research, as using research, as state funding for hESC research
clearly ineligible for NIH funding during recognized cell lines may give their initial grants first exceeded comparable NIH
the Bush Administration. California and research efforts greater credibility. funding in 2007 and equaled or exceeded it in
Connecticut focused the most on this sort In addition to supporting research not 2008 and 2009.
of research—which typically involved the eligible for federal funding, focused state Considered together, these data and
derivation of new hESC lines or the use programs might serve to draw new scientists analyses indicate that state funding for stem
of newer unapproved cell lines—but even into the field of stem cell research. To cell research has grown into a substantial
in these states fewer than a fifth of grants evaluate this potential impact, the recent NIH enterprise that has provided funding on a
went to clearly ineligible research. Many funding portfolio of each scientist receiving a scale comparable to the NIH. Although states
scientists indicated plans to use existing state stem cell grant with a primary purpose vary in the degree to which they have focused
hESC lines but did not specify which lines of research was examined (Supplementary on hESC research, as a whole, state funding
they planned to use. Given evidence that a Methods). Although most scientists had for hESC research has been substantial,
handful of approved cell lines account for a received NIH funding, a substantial number exceeding, in cumulative terms, NIH funding
large proportion of the hESC lines actually (ranging from 42% in California to 71% in for this research between 2005 and 2009.
distributed to scientists and an even larger Maryland) had not received NIH funding Most state hESC funding appears to have
share of published literature10, most of these for stem cell research (Table 1). Similar, supported research also eligible for federal
projects probably used approved hESC lines. but more pronounced, results are observed funding during the Bush Administration.
In some cases, however, scientists may have when the NIH funding portfolio of scientists This finding is surprising, given the
chosen to use ineligible cell lines but not receiving state funding for hESC research is explicit intent of several state programs to
clearly indicated these plans. Thus, the share examined, as only a small minority of these preferentially support science not eligible for
of grants reported here as clearly ineligible scientists also had NIH grants supporting federal funding, but likely reflects the nature
for NIH funding should be viewed as a lower hESC research. Given the importance of of the grant proposals state agencies received,
bound on the amount of research each state NIH funding for biomedical research in the particularly given the number of grants states
funded that was ineligible for federal funding. United States, these results suggest that the awarded to scientists relatively new to the
Several factors could explain the relatively existence of state funding programs for stem field of hESC research.
small share of grants that went toward clearly cell research has drawn many new scientists In the light of the recent change in
ineligible research. Some scientists who into the field of stem cell research, or at least federal stem cell policy and the ongoing
wished to pursue this research may have been encouraged scientists to consider how stem economic downturn, the future of state

nature biotechnology volume 28 number 12 DECEMBER 2010 1247


correspondence

a 1,250
1,231 b 180
COMPETING FINANCIAL INTERESTS
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
155
Funding awarded

Funding awarded
150 144
1,000 938 125
($ millions)

($ millions)
750
609 643 657
120
Ruchir N Karmali1, Natalie M Jones1 &
90
500 426
519 76 76
Aaron D Levine1,2
60
246 33 31 35
250 30 21 1School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of
73 1
5
0 0 Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 2Institute of

05

06

07

08

09
05

06

07

08

09
Bioengineering & Bioscience, Georgia Institute

20

20

20

20

20
20

20

20

20

20
NIH grants State grants of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
e-mail: aaron.levine@pubpolicy.gatech.edu
Figure 1 Comparing state and NIH stem cell funding. (a) Total amount of all NIH stem cell grants and
all stem cell grants awarded by the six states. (b) Total amount of all NIH and state hESC research 1. Anonymous. Nat. Biotechnol. 28, 987 (2010).
grants. Only grants with a primary purpose of research are included. State funding is by calendar year. 2. Plosila, W.H. Econ. Dev. Q. 18, 113–126 (2004).
NIH funding is by fiscal year. 3. Stayn, S. BNA Med. Law Pol. Rep. 5, 718–725
(2006).
4. Lomax, G. & Stayn, S. BNA Med. Law Pol. Rep. 7,
695–698 (2008).
5. Levine, A.D. Public Adm. Rev. 68, 681–694 (2008).
stem cell programs, as well as similar state Foundation and the Georgia Research Alliance, 6. Levine, A.D. Nat. Biotechnol. 24, 865–866 (2006).
programs supporting other areas of science, and Georgia Tech. They thank J. Walsh at Georgia 7. McCormick, J.B., Owen-Smith, J. & Scott, C.T. Cell
Tech for helpful comments on an earlier version of Stem Cell 4, 107–110 (2009).
is uncertain. The analysis here suggests 8. Fossett, J.W., Ouellette, A.R., Philpott, S., Magnus, D.
this manuscript. They also appreciate the assistance
that state stem cell funding programs they received with data collection from officials & Mcgee, G. Hastings Cent. Rep. 37, 24–35 (2007).
© 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

are sufficiently large and established that 9. Mintrom, M. Publius 39, 606–631 (2009).
in various state stem cell agencies. A.D.L. would
10. Scott, C.T., McCormick, J.B. & Owen-Smith, J. Nat.
simply ending the programs, at least in also like to thank A. Jakimo, whose comment at Biotechnol. 27, 696–697 (2009).
the absence of substantial investment in a meeting of the Interstate Alliance on Stem Cell 11. Takahashi, K. & Yamanaka, S. Cell 126, 663–676
Research inspired collection of these data. (2006).
the field by other funding sources, could
have deleterious effects. Such action would
fail to capitalize on the initial efforts of
scientists who have been drawn to the field
of stem cell research by state programs and
leave many stem cell scientists suddenly
Towards a knowledge-based Human
searching for funding to continue their
research. Protein Atlas
Large-scale state funding for basic
research is a relatively new phenomenon, To the Editor: lung and prostate cancer. The data in the
and many questions remain about We report on the launch of version 7 of portal were made available freely both for
the impact of these programs on the the Human Protein Atlas with subcellular academia and industry without restrictions or
development of scientific fields and the localization data and expression data password protection. In 2007, the portal was
careers of scientists. The influence of state for all major human tissues and organs. extended to also include subcellular profiling
funding programs on the distribution A milestone has been achieved with the data2 using immunofluorescence-based
of research publications, the acquisition inclusion of expression data for >50% of the confocal microscopy in three human cancer
of future external funding, the creation human protein-coding genes. The main new cell lines of different (glial, mesenchymal and
of new companies and the translation feature of the release is an attempt towards epithelial) origin. More data have been added
of basic research into medical practice, a knowledge-based portal, including an to the portal every year since the first release3
for instance, are important unanswered annotated protein expression feature for and version 6, launched in March 2010,
questions. Similarly, comparing state protein targets analyzed with two or more contained 11,274 antibodies corresponding to
funding programs with federal funding antibodies, and the establishment of the main 8,489 protein-coding genes. This entire effort
programs as well as foundations could offer subcellular localization of protein targets. depends heavily on the availability of good
new insight into the relative priorities of In 2005, the first version of the Human quality antibodies, and recently a community-
different funding bodies and the extent Protein Atlas (http://www.proteinatlas. based portal, Antibodypedia (http://www.
to which their funding portfolios overlap org/) was released with protein profile antibodypedia.org/), has been launched to
or are distinct. We hope the analysis data based on immunohistochemistry on allow antibodies from different providers to
presented here and the public release of the tissue microarrays covering 48 different be listed and compared4,5, although the main
underlying database will inspire additional human tissues and organs, including kidney, source of information so far comes from
analysis of state science funding programs liver, heart, brain and pancreas1. The first the providers’ own validation data, not by
generally and state-funded stem cell science version included data from 718 antibodies independent third-party users. At present,
in particular. corresponding to 650 human protein-coding the Antibodypedia contains close to 100,000
genes. High-resolution images were published antibodies, corresponding to >70% of the
Note: Supplementary information is available on the
along with annotation of the presence or protein-coding genes in humans.
Nature Biotechnology website.
absence of a particular protein target in all An important objective has now been
represented tissues. The 2005 Human Protein reached with the inclusion of 10,118 protein-
Acknowledgements
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial Atlas also contained information regarding coding genes corresponding to >50% of the
support from the Roadmap for an Entrepreneurial protein profiles from 20 different types of 19,559 human entries as defined by UniProt,
Economy Program, funded by the Kauffman human cancer, including breast, colorectal, including only entries with evidence at protein

1248 volume 28 number 12 DECEMBER 2010 nature biotechnology