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Three years later California thumbed its nose at the ban by starting its own multi-billion dollar stem cell program, and several states followed suit. Even though the restrictions were lifted in 2009, the insurgent movement survived and grew. Today at least seven states offer stem cell research  funding or other incentives to local scientists and industry.

These initiatives have not yet produced the eagerly anticipated “cures” for conditions such as melanoma or Parkinson’s disease. But early public disappointment has yielded to the realization that years of research lie ahead before treatments can routinely enter the marketplace.

Still, as an engine for generating economic development and jobs, and as a mechanism for enhancing local scientific prestige, stem cell research for many states appears to be worth the investment.

“We want to show what we have,” said Dan Gincel, executive director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund. He pointed to a sophisticated science community and easy access to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

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Kaiser Health News

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