$80 billion stem cell research center opens

LOS ANGELES Two years ago work crews broke ground on the $80 million Eli and Edyth Broad Center, established to break new ground in stem cell research. Friday the center had its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"We've got to do whatever it takes to help people who are suffering," said Broad at the ceremony.

Of the funding for the center, $30 million came from the Broads and an additional $30 million came from California taxpayers after the passage of Proposition 74 in 2004 provided $3 billion for stem cell research.

"There is no state that has put up that much money. And let me remind you there is no nation that has put up that much," bragged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Some of the most promising projects of the center include work on rebuilding heart cells and restoring eyesight.

"Here at USC they are probably within a couple years of a human trial to end a form of blindness - age-related macular degeneration," said Robert Klein, the Chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

But not everyone is celebrating the opening of the center and its embryonic stem cell research.

"We believe that life begins at conception and that to use embryonic stem cell research would be to destroy the human being," said Rachel Molina with the Right to Life organization.

Scientists not only work with human cells at the center, but also animal cells like zebra fish. Scientists say it could aid them in manipulating human cells for increased bone repair and heart repair.

"This is the first time in human history we've been able to rebuild any part of the body," said Klein.

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