Embryonic Stem Cell Research

bridges vol. 14, July 2007 / Bills in Brief: S&T Policy News

In January 2007, the House again passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 3 ) with a vote of 253-174. The Senate followed suit in April (S. 5 ) with a vote of 63-34. S. 5 made it through the House on June 7 with a vote of 247-176 - but on June 20 President Bush vetoed the bill.

Unlike H.R. 3 , the Senate bill S.5 contained additional provisions encouraging research into alternative methods of deriving stem cells. This is largely symbolic, as these alternative methods are already eligible for NIH funding.

In the midst of the congressional debates on embryonic stem cell research, on April 18, the US.Supreme Court also upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Act that bans the intact dilation and extraction abortion procedure, most commonly referred to as the "partial birth abortion." This bans some abortions after 12 weeks of fetal gestation. This has provided more fuel to Pro-life protests and their argument that life begins at conception, which means that any tampering after conception should be considered criminal.

The following time line shows that, as the federal government closes its wallet to funding the research, government on the state level embraces the research and, in some cases, races to fund private institutions and universities in their states who may profit from the latest advances.

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick - all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} · January 5, 2007: H.R. 3 (Stem Cell Enhancement Act of 2007), sponsored by Diana DeGette (D-CO), was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill passed in the House on Jan. 11 and will go on to be voted on in the Senate.

· February 28, 2007: The Governor of Iowa, Chet Cluver, signs bill SF 162 , the "Iowa Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative," into law. This legislation lifts the ban on some types of stem cell research. This allows scientists to conduct research in the state; however, medical researchers must create embryonic stem cells through cloning and not by human reproductive cloning.
Source: http://www.governor.iowa.gov/news/2007/02/28_3.php

· March 16, 2007: California's stem cell research agency authorized $75.7 million in funds to accomplish stem cell research for established scientists at 12 non-profit and academic institutions.
Source: www.cirm.ca.gov/pressreleases/pdf/2007/03-16-07icoc.pdf

· April 12, 2007: The US Senate passed a stem cell research bill (S.5 ), introduced by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada; however the vote was not enough to override the veto that President Bush has promised to give stem cell bills that make it to his desk.

· April 13, 2007: President Bush attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and gave a speech stating, "In our day, there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person ... We must continue to work for a culture of life -- where the strong protect the weak, and where we recognize in every human life the image of our Creator."

President Bush attends National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Speech - Washington, DC

· May 8, 2007: A $600 million financing proposal was made by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to help build the first stem cell bank that would shelter all stem lines created in Massachusetts labs. This biotechnology initiative would give grants to scientists, create research centers, and train workers in the field of biotechnology.
Source: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=pressreleases&agId=Agov3&prModName=gov3

· May 14, 2007: Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announces $1 million in support of Stemina Biomaker Discovery, Inc., a stem cell patent-development company in Madison, Wisconsin. The money will help to support Stemina's efforts in developing methods for drug manufacturers to screen drugs for harmful side effects.
Source: http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/journal_media_detail.asp?locid=19&prid=2662

· May 16, 2007: The state of California's stem cell research agency (California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) is now able to begin distributing $3 billion in research grants after the California Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal from a lower court in favor of the California Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee. "Today's action by the California Supreme Court is a victory for our state because potentially life-saving science can continue without a shadow of legal doubt. This decision reaffirms voters' will to keep California at the forefront of embryonic stem cell research. California's leadership gives the best promise of finding a cure for deadly and debilitating diseases," stated California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Source: http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/6248/

· May 17, 2007: After a call for applications, a Maryland state-funded stem cell grant is announced by the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. Out of 86 applicants, 24 stem cell research projects were selected to receive funding.
Source: www.marylandtedco.org/_media/pdf/

·June 6, 2007: The Bush administration issues a statement concerning H.R. 2560 [Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007] stating that, "... if legislation were presented to the President that permitted human embryos to be created, developed, and destroyed simply for research purposes, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

· June 7, 2007: The House passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (Bill number S.5 , vote 247-176). The bill lacked enough votes to override a presidential veto.

· June 20, 2007: President Bush announced his veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (S.5 ). Bush also issued an executive order for expanding Approved Stem Cell Lines in Ethically Responsible Ways.
Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/06/20070620-8.html