The people who bring you advances in medical research have an urgent message for Congress: Pass the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act … while you still can.
In a letter sent Friday to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the deans of American medical schools, chief executives of U.S. hospitals and heads of organizations with names like the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Society of Human Genetics said that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research “is essential” if scientists are to succeed in turning the cells into usable treatments.
“The therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells is remarkable and could well prove to be one of the most significant paradigm-shifting advances in the history of medical science,” they wrote. “These cells have the unique potential to differentiate into any human cell type and offer real hope of life-affirming treatments for diabetes, damaged heart tissue, arthritis, Parkinson's, ALS and spinal cord injuries, to name but a few examples.”
The law would reiterate that no federal money can be used to destroy embryos or create cell lines. One of the pluses of passage is that it would ensure that the controversial research be conducted according to strict ethical rules.