California's Stem Cell Agency Awards Grants

California's $3 billion stem cell agency awarded its first research grants Friday despite legal challenges that put its future in doubt. "This is really a historic and important occasion for us," said Zach Hall, interim president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The recipients of the first 16 grants, totaling $39.7 million over three years, included multimillion dollar awards to Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California and eight campuses of the University of California. Three nonprofit research labs and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles also received grants during the monthly meeting of the 29-member Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, which runs the stem cell agency. But it's unclear when any of the recipients will receive their money. Lawsuits challenging the legality of the stem cell agency have prevented it from borrowing the $3 billion in bond money voters authorized in November.

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