Advocates Push Stem Cell Research Funding

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With New York state leaders slashing the budget to shrink the deficit, many programs are in jeopardy. Here’s what it could mean for the $600 million fund for stem cell research.

REPORTER: President Elect Obama’s transition chief, John Podesta, said the new administration would likely reverse President Bush’s ban on new stem cell research.

Even if that step is taken, it won’t be clear what it would mean for federal funding of research, until the first Obama budget is submitted in 2009. New York has committed 600 million dollars over 11 years, but if money were forthcoming from Washington, it would be a logical area for Albany to consider cutting.

A spokeswoman for the state Health Department says no cuts are currently being considered and that the state will react to changed circumstances in federal funding as they arise.

Already, more than half of the 17 million dollars pledged to stem cell research for this fiscal year has been deferred until the next.