Biggest day for CIRM in years: Board approves bold one-year experiment

I attended the CIRM Board meeting yesterday in Berkeley in which they discussed what actions to take in response to a review of CIRM by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

After having a bit of time now to digest all that happened, I think this is the biggest development for CIRM in many years.

The CIRM Board voted to approve in bulk a series of changes to CIRM including most dramatically to drop the voting rights of the 13 Board members from UC institutions. Through this action it would seem to have eliminated most even hypothetical conflicts of interests such as those discussed by the IOM, which reviewed CIRM recently.

I made a public comment at yesterday’s meeting, making the case that the Board should wait to vote to give people (including the public) more time to consider the proposed major changes in CIRM  since the CIRM proposal was literally available for the first time right then at the meeting.

However, I understand why the Board felt it important to take action yesterday. My sense is that they felt it was crucial to quickly make a bold statement showing CIRM responsiveness. That they did.

Importantly, there will be a second vote in March on the proposal again. In the interim there will be more discussion including reportedly getting input from patient advocates and others.

I’m still not sure I’m a fan of all of the proposed changes, but I would say the plan is bold and creative.