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US stem cell news

7 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 266

Last week, in its monthly magazine, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) announced its support for human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research and called for federal funding to be restored for new studies to fight disease. This may add to the 'pressure' on President Bush to relax his policy on such research, particularly as it is his home state, and is governed by his brother, Jeb Bush. On 9 August, 2001, President Bush announced that the availability of federal funds for ES cell research would be restricted to cell lines already in existence by that date.

The TMA, which with 39,000 members is the largest association of doctors in the US, published its endorsement of ES cell research after its members approved a resolution supporting the use of federal funds for the research, as well as research on adult stem cells. Dr Leo Cigarroa, chair of the TMA's scientific affairs council, said that he hoped the support of the organisation will influence the president. 'Stem cells have the potential to provide cures or treatment', he said, adding 'ethical considerations should be evaluated as research proceeds'.

This week, US Senator Orrin Hatch appeared on national television saying that there is 'wide support' in the Senate for reducing the ES cell funding restrictions. Last month a bill was introduced to Congress, sponsored by Diana DeGette and Michael Castle, which would allow federal funds to be used for ES cell research on embryos left over from fertility treatments and 'slated to be discarded as medical waste'. Senator Hatch told CNN's 'Late Edition' that although it remains unsure whether Congress will act on the issue, there is enough support in the Senate to ensure the legislation was passed. But he also predicted that a compromise would be reached between Bush and supporters of ES cell research, which would meet 'moral and ethical standards set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 'That has to be done, or we're going to have a mess on our hands all over the world', he said, predicting also that any ethical standards set by the NIH would be followed worldwide.

Meanwhile, reports the journal Nature, scientists working on the use of stem cells derived from cloned human embryos have been asked to change their terminology. The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has asked its members to drop the use of the term 'therapeutic cloning' in future publications, and replace it with the term 'nuclear transfer'. This, it says, is a more accurate term for what is actually happening in the research, whereby a nucleus extracted from one cell is transferred to an egg cell that has had its own genetic material removed. The society also says that the new terminology may help to avoid confusion between this type of research, and 'reproductive cloning'.

Don't mention 'therapeutic cloning', society says
Nature |  1 July 2004
Easing restrictions on embryonic stem cell research has 'wide support' in Senate, Sen. Hatch says
Kaiser Network |  6 July 2004
Texas association endorses stem-cell studies
Houston Chronicle |  1 July 2004
26 May 2005 - by BioNews 
The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that would overturn President Bush's current policy on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Members of the House voted 238-194 in favour of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which was sponsored by Michael Castle and Dianne DeGette...
23 May 2005 - by BioNews 
In the wake of cloning and embryonic stem (ES) cell news from scientists in South Korea and the UK, a vote on legislation to extend the provisions of state funding for ES cell research in the US is expected in Congress this week. However, President Bush - who announced his disapproval...
16 May 2005 - by BioNews 
According to a recent poll, approximately 57 per cent of Republican voters in the US support human embryonic stem (ES) cell research, while 40 per cent oppose it. The survey, conducted by pollster David Winston, also showed that despite strong approval among republican voters for President Bush (90 per cent...
11 April 2005 - by BioNews 
Several directors of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) publicly announced last week that they do not support President Bush's policy on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. In a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labour, Health and Human Services and Education, they broke away from 'a...
29 March 2005 - by BioNews 
The US House of Representatives leadership has agreed to allow a floor vote on a bill that would expand federal funding for human embryonic stem (ES) research. The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act, making human ES cells eligible for use in research conducted or supported by government...
16 June 2004 - by BioNews 
Despite calls from members of both political parties in the US House of Representatives and Senate, as well as celebrities and the Reagan family, President Bush has no plans to change his policy on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Recently, cross-party groups - 206 members of Congress and 58 from...
9 June 2004 - by BioNews 
Fifty-eight US Senators, from both political parties and representing a majority of the Senate, have sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to change his policy on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Their action comes only a month after a similar letter to the president was signed by 206...
29 April 2004 - by BioNews 
A letter signed by 206 cross-party members of the US House of Representatives has been sent to President Bush, asking him to change his policy on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. On 9 August 2001, the President issued an executive order limiting the availability of federal funds for ES cell...
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