Stem cell action again being pushed by advocates

According to the Washington Post earlier today (

proponents of embryonic stem cell research are again pressuring the Senate to approve House Bill 810--or some other bill that will get embryonic stem cell research back into federal funding.

They point to new polling data indicating that a greater majority of Americans than ever, 72 percent, support the research -- a finding that candidates, they say, cannot afford to ignore.

They contend that without the full support of the federal research enterprise, the field of regenerative medicine in the United States will remain stunted and other countries will pull ahead.

And they say that as long as the research is relegated to the private sector, it will remain free of federal oversight and ethics rules.

Under President Bush's restrictions, announced on Aug. 9, 2001, scientists may use federal funds only for stem cell lines derived before that date. The many new stem cell colonies created in private and foreign labs since then cannot be studied using using federal funding.

At least 7 legislative positions are at stake this Fall in which "candidates' positions on stem cells are shaping up as significant political divides." However, according to the Post, "even if the Senate passes a stem cell package, H.R. 810 is unlikely to become law, both sides agree. The president has made clear his intention to veto it if it arrives on his desk, and an override appears out of reach in the House."

I suspect we're once again in a waiting game. I, for one, don't expect anything substantive to happen.

Marie Godfrey, PhD

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