Posted: May 19, 2003
RE-EVALUATE STEM CELL POLICY
Delaware Congressman Michael N. Castle called
on President Bush to revisit the current federal policy regarding
human stem cell research. While speaking Friday to the
Biotechnology Industry Executive Forum at the Delaware Biotechnology
Institute, Congressman Castle detailed a letter he has sent to the
White House regarding his concerns with the current restrictions
placed on this important research.
Congressman Castle said, "It is my belief that
we should do everything in our power to pursue treatments and cures
that hold hope for countless Americans. Stem cells have incredible
potential to treat, cure, and prevent any number of diseases and
disorders. I believe it is time that we reevaluate the current
restrictions placed on the federal stem cell policy."
In April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
testified before Congress that of the 78 stem cell lines originally
identified as eligible for federal funding, only 11 are actually
available to doctors and scientists at this point. The remaining
lines are unavailable or unsuitable for research. These 11 stem
cell lines have all been exposed to mouse feeder cells, which may
pose serious contamination issues in their future transfer to human
cells. Some researchers have indicated that none of the 11 existing
stem cell lines should be used in humans because of the possibility
of spreading infectious agents from mice to humans.
"It is my belief that we must have a national
policy that allows these important research discoveries to move
forward without handcuffing our scientists," said Congressman
Castle. "I am asking the President to review the current federal
stem cell policy to determine whether there are enough stem cell
lines available for the research community, and whether changes
should be made to allow for the creation of new, sterile,
uncontaminated stem cell lines."
Congressman Castle added, "Recent scientific
breakthroughs are too important to the development of this
potentially life-saving research. The federal government should
thoroughly review and assess the current stem cell policy."
The Congressman's letter is cosigned by ten
other Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
RETURN TO MORE NEWS RELEASES
RETURN TO COVER PAGE