U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Michael Castle (R-DE), the chief architects of bipartisan stem cell research legislation, released the following joint statement on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) approval of the first batch of stem cell lines in accordance with the Guidelines issued in July:
"We are pleased that the NIH has approved the first batch of embryonic stem cell lines in accordance with its recently issued Guidelines. This will be the first time that lines beyond those approved by former President Bush in 2001 have been eligible for federal funding--marking a new day for stem cell research. We look forward to more lines being approved by the NIH in the coming weeks and to the approval of grants utilizing these new lines.
"We look forward to working with our colleagues in Congress next year in gathering a bipartisan, bicameral consensus for finally signing into law legislation to promote the federal funding of all scientifically worthy stem cell research, so worthwhile research cannot be blocked by a future Administration.
"We also would like to congratulate our friend, Dr. George Daley at Children's Hospital in Boston, as well as researchers at Rockefeller University, who worked tirelessly to develop the lines approved today, even in the face of President Bush's restrictions on the field for the past 8 years."
On July 7, 2009, the NIH issued final Guidelines for human stem cell research. The Guidelines were issued in response to President Barack Obama's Executive Order 13505, issued on March 9, 2009, which called on the NIH to support and conduct scientifically worthy human stem cell research. In his speech, President Obama also called on Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation providing ongoing support for embryonic stem cell research. U.S. Reps. DeGette and Castle plan to introduce legislation in early 2010.