Thursday, 18 October 2007

Zerhouni again urges more stem cell research

NIH director Zerhouni again urges more stem cell research Thursday, 18 October 2007 In a magazine interview in Medline Plus this week, National Institutes of Health Director Elias Zerhouni says that human embryonic stem cell research should be expanded. "All avenues of research need to be pursued," Zerhouni says. “Unfortunately, the scientific foundation of stem cell research is sometimes lost in the societal, moral, and ethical battle between hype and hope. But our job at NIH is to push the science forward to serve our patients.” He adds: "We must continue the research at all levels, or there will be no progress." “So I think it’s a multi-pronged attack, both from the point of basic understanding and continually improving what we do. Finally, it’s important to emphasize that science evolves with strong ethics.” “Good science is good ethics.” Zerhouni in March during a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing on NIH funding for fiscal year 2008 said that he supports lifting restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research A Congressional Quarterly health-care reporter wrote at the time that Zerhouni "perhaps put himself on a path toward unemployment." Those views put Zerhouni, who serves at the pleasure of President Bush, at odds with his boss. Bush has twice vetoed legislation to do what Zerhouni wants. Bush "has to draw the line in a different place than Dr. Zerhouni" and come from a "broader" view than that of a scientist, White House spokesperson Tony Fratto said in a comment. He added that Bush's policy accounts for "moral and religious views." Zerhouni spokesperson John Burklow commented this controversy: "As the director of the country's primary biomedical research agency, Dr. Zerhouni believes that he serves the president, and the American people, best by providing candid scientific expertise and perspective" ......... ZenMaster

For more on stem cells and cloning, go to CellNEWS at

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