Wisconsin is the focal point of stem cell science this week. But is the state falling behind? Madison is hosting the World Stem Cell Summit through Tuesday. Ed Fallone is president of the nonprofit group Wisconsin Stem Cell Now . “It's a great opportunity for us to use the increased public interest in the topic . . . to get the information out to the public, so that people can learn more about stem cell research and participate in the debate in an informed manner,” says Fallone, referring to a primer on stem cell research in Wisconsin, produced by his group. It's aimed at the general public and addresses questions on science, funding, ethics and advocacy.
Fallone fears that Wisconsin, where so many stem cell breakthroughs have occurred, may now be resting on its laurels. “We're relying on some of the best researchers in the world, to really drive this forward,” he says. “Without, in or view, really giving them sufficient state resources.” Fallone notes that ten states have put in place structured state funding for stem cell research, and Wisconsin is not one of them. “We do have a governor who is very committed to stem cell research ,” Fallone says. “But so far, that commitment has taken the form of bricks and mortar and some tax credits for private companies. We are concerned that other states are moving ahead, and that Wisconsin will become less competitive in the future.”