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US stem cell news

28 November 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 336

Human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) researchers participating in a state-wide conference in the US state of New Jersey have warned that 'lip service' to the research and the provision of adequate state funds is not good enough, and that researchers could shift to other states that offer better incentives. Both the acting State Governor Richard Codey and Jon Corzine, the Governor-elect, have declared funding for ES cell research to be a top priority. But, said Wise Young, one of the founding directors of the New Brunswick-based Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, 'if politicians don't do something in the next year, they should kiss the effort goodbye'.

In January, Codey pledged to invest $380 million in ES cell research in the state, and in July, the New Jersey Senate approved, by 21-14 votes, a bill which would allocate $150 million to the construction of a dedicated ES cell research centre. The rest would come from a $230 million bond referendum for research grants, in a similar way to the way the state of California granted ES cell research funding last November. Voters in the state will be asked to cast the decision on this issue in the 6 November ballot this year. Codey, who steps down in less than two months, has said that passing these two initiatives will be one of his main efforts in the time he has left. However, Corzine, who made ES cell research one of the focuses of his electoral campaign, says that he would prefer to pass his own plan for a stem-cell bond referendum of $250 million or more, although he supports Codey's efforts.

Meanwhile, in the state of Illinois, grants for ES cell researchers will begin to be issued next month, after $10 million was allocated in the state budget for the research. In July, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich used an executive order to circumvent the legislature and allocate the funds to ES cell research. Illinois became the fourth state to devote public money to the controversial research after California, New Jersey and Connecticut. In September, an executive committee of the Illinois House of Representatives approved by ten votes to three a proposal to use the state funds in ES cell research and establish the 'Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute'. The Institute, which is supervised by the Department of Public Health, is in control of the state funding and will issue the grants. Jennifer Williams, a state health spokesperson, said that an advisory panel of state experts will determine who receives the grants so there are no conflicts of interest.

In Missouri, a campaign against ES cell research is being led by Catholic bishops in response to a campaign launched last week in favour of ES cell research in the state. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures launched a state-wide advertising campaign asking voters to sign petitions which will enable it to put a measure in favour of ES cell research on next year's ballot. The group needs 145,000 signatures and, if it gets them, the pro-research proposal will be seen on the November 2006 ballot. The petitions were a response to efforts in the state legislature designed to restrict the research in the state.

Now, the Catholic Church has said that 'the state's four Roman Catholic dioceses will use the first Sunday of Advent to launch a campaign aimed at keeping Catholics from signing the petition, and to teach them the Catholic view of the issue', which opposes ES cell research because it involves the destruction of human embryos. The Church has also asked every Catholic parish in the state to hold an educational event to discuss the topic. Writing in the press, Archbishop Raymond Burke said that 'to sign a petition favoring the initiative is to promote the culture of death which tragically besets our nation and constitutes a cooperation in the destruction of human lives at their very beginning'.

Bishops preach against stem-cell research
Seattle PI |  25 November 2005
Catholic clergy will oppose embryonic cell research from pulpit
St. Louis Post-Dispatch |  24 November 2005
Stem-cell researchers urge funding
The Philadelphia Enquirer |  22 November 2005
2 May 2006 - by BioNews 
The Senate Health Care Committee in the US state of Florida voted 7-1 last week in favour of a bill that would provide state funding for embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Senate Bill 468, sponsored by Democrat Senator Ron Klein, would provide $15 million of state funds for ES...
18 April 2006 - by BioNews 
Eliot Spitzer, New York's Attorney General and candidate for Governor, says that if he is elected state Governor in Autumn, his administration would push for a referendum to pay for embryonic stem (ES) cell research in the state, in a similar way to the state of California. He says he...
27 March 2006 - by BioNews 
The House of Representatives in the US state of Kansas has approved a bill promoting adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research, while voting against a bill that would have allowed scientists to create chimeras. The members of the House voted 121-4 in favour of the bill that...
23 January 2006 - by BioNews 
The House of Representatives in the US state of Delaware has voted 32-3 in favour of legislation banning human cloning but making no mention of embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The bill (called SB 80) was the result of a compromise, having had language regulating ES cell research removed...
19 December 2005 - by BioNews 
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill (HR2520) by 413 votes to zero that would authorise $79 million of federal funds for the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood. The new Cord Blood Stem Cell Act 2005 was previously passed by the Senate and now goes to...
21 November 2005 - by BioNews 
The state Senate of Ohio has approved legislation that would limit the use of state funds for 'therapeutic' cloning and human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. It would also prevent people in the state benefiting from therapies developed in other states or countries that had been developed using cloning techniques...
23 September 2005 - by BioNews 
Florida may be the next US state to fund embryonic stem (ES) cell research, under a proposed constitutional amendment put forward by the group Floridians for Stem Cell Research and Cures (FSCRC). The proposal would allocate $200 million over ten years to the research and its backers say the language...
15 July 2005 - by BioNews 
Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich said he was ready for a 'firestorm of criticism' after he used an executive order on Tuesday to circumvent the legislature and allocate $10 million in state funds to embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Illinois becomes the fourth state to devote public money to the controversial...
11 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A new poll reveals that 63 per cent of Americans think the US should adopt a national policy for medical research using human embryonic stem (ES) cells, while 57 per cent support the use of federal funds for such work. The survey, carried out by Research!America, also found that...
4 July 2005 - by BioNews 
Supporters of a US bill to extend federal funding of research on human embryonic stem (ES) cells are predicting a victory when it is debated by Senators later this month. More than 60 are expected to vote in favour of the legislation, say its proponents - although President Bush has pledged...
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