HHS Review of Stem Cell Research Guidelines Likely By June
Speaking before the Senate Labor, HHS and Education appropriations subcommittee to promote President Bush's health care budget, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said the agency's review of NIH guidelines for federally funded embryonic stem cell research should be complete and on his desk by "the end of the first week of June," Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 4/25). A decision on whether the Bush administration will overturn Clinton regulations allowing for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is "eagerly await[ed]" by the research community. Federal regulations prohibit funding research that destroys embryos, but the Clinton guidelines allow for government funding of embryonic stem cell research as long as the cells were provided by private firms. Abortion opponents have challenged the Clinton interpretation and say that the government should not fund embryonic stem cell research but should focus instead on adult stem cells. HHS cancelled a meeting that was scheduled for this week to "put the finishing touches" on the research guidelines. Thompson told subcommittee Chair Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a "strong proponent" of embryonic stem cell research, that the delay would not affect the two research proposals HHS has already received, noting that they would not have received funding for the current fiscal year in any case (Rovner, CongressDaily/A.M., 4/26). For a copy of Thompson's written testimony, go to http://www.hhs.gov/budget/testify/b20010425.html.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.