Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has passed a new measure that supports stem cell research - including that on human embryonic stem cells - but prohibits human cloning. Blagojevich established the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute in 2005, which has since spent $15 million on research. The new law will aid the development of the Institute, and whilst not directly funding stem cell research, it will provide for the possibility of further funding incorporated into state legislation. The bill also sets up an oversight committee to monitor the Institute's research grants.
In a statement, the Governor defended his decision. 'Stem-cell research has limitless potential to help cure devastating diseases - from Parkinson's to diabetes and even many forms of cancer', he said, adding, 'Since the federal government continues to stall the medical advancements that will come with stem-cell research, it is up to Illinois to take action'.
Meanwhile in Missouri, the proposals made by Cures Without Cloning to amend the language of the current constitution to prohibit the creation of human embryos using SCNT has been criticised by opponents. Cures Without Cloning suggested last week a revision to the amendment that included a definition of 'human' as being 'a complete set of 46 chromosomes'. This, critic's claim, means that people with chromosomal abnormalities such as Down, Turner or Klinefelter syndromes would be classed outside Cures Without Cloning's definition of 'human', since such individuals have 47 (Down and Klinefelter syndrome) or 45 (Turner syndrome) chromosomes Sessions Cole, of St Louis Children's Hospital said: 'If you're one of the thousands of Missourians with a chromosomal abnormality, this amendment defines you as not being human'.