Forbes: Approval Of Use Of New Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Promotes Outdated Science
In light of the Administration's approval today of new human embryonic stem cell lines for federally funded experiments, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) called on Congress to consider his Patients First Act, H.R. 877. Forbes' bipartisan bill would intensify research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and that show evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for human patients. Congressman Forbes' statement follows:
"We have an opportunity in front of us with advances in adult stem cell research to offer hope for millions of Americans who live everyday with disease. Unfortunately, the decision made today to use embryonic stem cell lines throws those scientific advances in reverse and shifts the focus to science that is outdated and politically charged. Leaders in the scientific community, including the father of embryonic stem cell research, have emphatically said that the future of stem cell research lies in adult stem cells, including those from human skin cells, wisdom teeth, and umbilical cord blood. These adult stem cells are being used to successfully treat individuals for Parkinson's disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Leukemia, and cancer, are safer for patients, and are ethically obtained and supported by most Americans.
"Instead of investing federal dollars in outdated science, it just makes commonsense to direct our dollars towards research that will provide the most benefit to patients in the shortest amount of time. I urge my colleagues to put patients ahead of the political debate and consider the Patients First Act, a pragmatic approach to scientific advancement in the stem cell debate."
The Patients First Act would promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation, destruction, or discarding of human embryos. Specifically, the Patients First Act would:
* Promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation, destruction and discarding of, or risk of injury to human embryos;
* Intensify stem cell research that may result in an improved understanding of, or treatment for, diseases and other adverse health conditions;
* Promote research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing clinical benefit for human patients; and,
* Direct the National Institutes of Health to prioritize stem cell research that has the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefits, by directing both basic and clinical research towards what is currently showing benefits in treating patients now.
The Patients First Act was originally introduced in the 110th Congress as H.R. 2807. The bill currently has 44 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where it awaits further action.