Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) released the following statement after a new scientific report showed that skin cells can be converted into embryonic-like stem cells:
"In a new breakthrough, research studies showed that ordinary skin cells can be successfully converted into cells that appear nearly identical to embryonic stem cells. An advancement of this nature is further evidence of why we should move toward research and treatments that focus on benefits to patients, not on furthering the divisive political debate surrounding stem cell research. We have an opportunity in front of us, with the advances in science, to offer hope for millions of American who live everyday with disease."
Today, adult stem cells have successfully treated over 70 diseases and disabilities, including Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and various cancers, compared to zero published successes in human patients with embryonic stem cells.
Congressman Forbes has introduced the Patients First Act (H.R. 877) to promote research and clinical trials using human stem cells that show the most evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for patients and are ethically obtained. The Patients First Act would specifically:
* 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 bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has bipartisan support with 48 cosponsors.