U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Michael Castle (R-DE), chief architects of bipartisan legislation overturning former President George W. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, today led a group of 139 bipartisan Members of Congress in submitting comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the draft guidelines for human stem cell research.
U.S. Reps. DeGette and Castle, along with 137 other Members of Congress, wrote:
"We believe that any responsibly derived stem cell lines should be eligible for federal funding, regardless of the date on which they were derived. In order to maximize the scientific research already underway, the NIH must adopt an inclusive policy that would expand and not limit stem cell research; the NIH should develop criteria for determining whether or not lines that are currently in use should continue to be eligible for federal funding.
"We support periodic updates to the guidelines by NIH, so that the guidelines will reflect scientific needs and advances for all forms of ethical stem cell research, and encourage the NIH to expressly state that scientifically worthy advances will be addressed in future updates to the guidelines. Important research tools will likely be discovered in the coming years, necessitating that the guidelines be adapted accordingly. Similarly, we believe that the guidelines should specify only which types of stem cell research are currently eligible to receive federal funding."