OAKLAND (AP/CBS SF) — A proposition that would keep alive first-of-its-kind stem cell research program in the East Bay was leading after the polls closed on Tuesday.

With about 6 million votes counted, Proposition 14 was ahead 53% to 47%.

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The measure would authorize a $5.5 billion bond sale to bail out the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created by a similar $3 billion bond measure in 2014 but is now nearly broke.

Oakland-based CIRM recruits scientists from all over the world. It funds clinical trials for stem-cell based therapies for incurable diseases. There are currently dozens of on-going trials in such areas as blood cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

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With dozens of stem cell research trials underway, supporters say the money is desperately needed.

Opponents say that in a pandemic-induced economic crisis, California simply can’t afford it.

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