Federal Stem Cell Research Bill Faulted in California
Bob Klein, chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, on Monday criticized a bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate as a "Trojan horse" with underlying restrictions for stem cell research, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bill, proposed by Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), would permit federal funding for research on stem cells taken from human embryos that are not viable for development into fetuses. The bill would apply to embryos created in fertility clinics.
The legislation would not directly affect California's stem cell agency.
Some researchers said the measure would not provide sufficient federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and could pose challenges, saying that the approved embryos are low quality and difficult to use in research (Downing, Sacramento Bee, 4/10).
USA Today on Tuesday published an editorial and an opinion piece regarding the two stem-cell related bills. Summaries appear below.
- USA Today: Bush "should listen" to NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, who last month "changed his mind" on embryonic stem cell research and "now argues overwhelmingly that the federal government should fund and direct research," a USA Today editorial states, adding that "the evolution" of Zerhouni's "views is a telling measure of how much has changed as the issue rises again in Washington." According to the editorial, the Senate should pass legislation to permit federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research despite a "promise of another veto." If Zerhouni "can change his mind, so might Bush," the editorial states, adding that new "facts have demolished the reasoning behind the president's compromise" (USA Today, 4/10).
- Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), USA Today: "Will the federal government maintain high ethical standards in [stem cell] research, or will we sanction the destruction" of human embryos "to further speculative research that might or might not eventually help patients?" Brownback (R-Kan.) writes in an opinion piece. He adds, "[S]hould we fund the research that holds the most promise to bring treatments to patients soonest, or should we fund speculative and unethical research, the benefits of which are unclear and may never come?" Brownback writes that the government "should fund adult stem cell research to the exclusion of unethical embryonic stem cell research," adding that patients "should have the peace of mind that their treatment did not come at the expense of another's destruction" (Brownback, USA Today, 4/10).