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Bush backs alternatives to ES cell research

26 May 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 310

At the same time as the US's Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 was passed through the House of Representatives, another bill on stem cell research was passed. Members of the House also voted in favour of new legislation that would promote the use of adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Chris Smith, a Republican, proposed the legislation, which would provide for the creation of a federally-funded cord blood stem cell research programme. The bill was passed by 434 votes to 1, and now passes to the Senate for approval. It has President Bush's support, as it does not involve the destruction of embryos, unlike the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which he has said he will veto if it passes the Senate. 'Cord blood stem cells, collected from the placenta and umbilical cord after birth without doing harm to the mother or child, have been used in the treatment of thousands of patients', said Bush.

Another alternative to embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research supported by Bush is so-called 'embryo adoption'. Rather than use embryos left over from fertility treatments that have been kept in storage in clinics and donated by patients for research, or discard them once they are no longer required by patients, he proposes that they be put up for 'adoption'. He held a press briefing after meeting with 21 families who had either used donated embryos in order to have children, or donated their embryos to other infertile couples, saying that 'each of them has answered the call to ensure that society's most vulnerable members are protected and defended'.

He went on to say that 'America must pursue the tremendous possibilities of science, but I believe we can do so while still fostering and encouraging respect for human life in all its stages'. He continued: 'Research on stem cells derived from human embryos may offer great promise, but the way those cells are derived today destroys the embryo'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
House Supports Adult Stem Cell Research Bill on Cord Blood
LifeNews.com |  24 May 2005
President Bush Promotes Embryo Adoption Over Destructive Research
LifeNews.com |  24 May 2005
President Discusses Embryo Adoption and Ethical Stem Cell Research
White House Press Release |  24 May 2005
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