HOPE OFFERED THROUGH PRINCIPLED AND ETHICAL STEM CELL RESEARCH ACT--Continued -- (Senate - April 11, 2007)
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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today in support of S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, a bill that will expand the number of stem cell lines eligible for federally funded research, ensuring scientists at NIH and laboratories around the country have access to new, uncontaminated stem cell lines.
Many families in America have experienced the tragedy of watching a loved one suffer through a deadly or debilitating illness. Diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's take a terrible toll on families' lives and livelihoods. While we have made great strides in biomedical research in recent years, we still don't have all the keys to unlock the secrets of disease.
That is why the potential of embryonic stem cells is so exciting. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to develop into virtually any cell type in the human body. Scientists tell us that harnessing the power of these cells could one day lead to new treatments, and maybe even cures, for a number of diseases that afflict American families. Important research is being done every day on stem cells. I am proud that some of this research is being done at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells.
We all understand that this research is not without controversy. I respect the concerns that some people have about the use of embryonic stem cells in research, and I agree that we must closely monitor this research to ensure that it is done ethically. However, scientists and disease advocates are warning us that the current limits on Federal funding for stem cell research are seriously inhibiting our potential to find new cures. Without expanded Federal support, we risk slowing down the tremendous progress that could be made to alleviate human suffering.
It would be unconscionable for the Federal Government to turn its back on the discoveries that expanding stem cell research promises. Now more than ever, it is important to grasp this opportunity in an ethical manner by making sure that potentially lifesaving research keeps moving forward.