Monday, 9 March 2009

Obama Reverses Bush’s Stem Cell Policy

Ceremony in the White House overturns the 8-year-old Bush ban on federal support for stem cell research Monday, 09 March 2009 President Barack Obama, at a ceremony in the East Room at White House today, overturned the 8-year-old Bush ban on federal support of human embryonic stem cell research. In an Executive Order, the Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is overturned. Barack Obama at the ceremony.“Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident,” the President said. "They result from painstaking and costly research — from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit — and from a government willing to support that work." This research should be pursued, but with strict guidelines and ethics oversight. The President would also support research on iPS cell research. "The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research," said Obama. "That the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.” He clearly stated that cloning for human reproductive purposes would never be allowed. Obama's move is part of a broader effort to separate science and politics, sending a clear signal, that science — not political ideology — will guide his administration. Therefore, Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Independence from politics and beliefs. The presidential memorandum will establish greater independence for federal science policies and programs in an effort to separate science and politics and "restore scientific integrity in governmental decision-making”. "This order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let's be clear: promoting science isn't just about providing resources — it is also about protecting free and open inquiry," the President said . Dr. Harold Varmus."It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient — especially when it's inconvenient." Dr. Harold Varmus, the Nobel Prize winner and president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and now co-chairman of Obama's science advisory council, said that Obama will "endorse the notion that public policy must be guided by sound, scientific advice." Obama's order will direct the National Institutes of Health to develop revised guidelines on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research within 120 days. Rockefeller University president applauds new US policy on stem cells Sir Paul Nurse.“Today's executive order making federal money once again available for research on human embryonic stem cells will accelerate biomedical research and hopefully bring us closer to cures for some of our most devastating diseases,” said Nobel Prize winner and Rockefeller University president Sir Paul Nurse. "The new policy, which reverses eight years of restrictions on how biomedical research scientists interested in understanding stem cells can spend federal grant money, will have an important impact on the pace of this type of research," Nurse said. "It will also help many scientists make better use of limited research dollars by freeing them from the need to carefully separate privately funded experiments on non-Registry cell lines from those that are publicly funded." Under the old policy, scientists wishing to work on certain lines of stem cells were not permitted to use supplies or equipment paid for by federal grant money. Several labs at Rockefeller work with human embryonic stem cells, including a line that was derived using funds exclusively from private sources under the old policy. "When you're dealing with research that may take years to fully mature, it's important to have consistent policies in place that allow scientists to work without fear of political restrictions," Nurse said. "In addition to making money available to scientists studying embryonic stem cells, President Obama's executive order today will help encourage researchers to invest their efforts in this important area of research." ISSCR Scientists Elated for Future of Stem Cell Research The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) applauded President Barack Obama’s decision to expand federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research by rescinding the policy of Aug. 9, 2001, which restricted federally-funded researchers to using only the small number of cell lines created before that date. The President’s executive order demonstrates his enthusiastic endorsement of stem cell research and its potential to relieve suffering caused by diseases and conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injuries. Today’s executive order calls on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the primary federal agency for funding medical research, to develop revised policies on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Dr. Irving Weissman.The new policy empowers scientists to utilize the many hundreds of valuable lines created since 2001, and relieves them from the substantial hurdles in duplicating equipment and other resources in order to separate privately- or state-funded stem cell research from federal government-funded efforts. “Today’s announcement restores integrity to the relationship between politics and science that has been traditional in the U.S.,” said Irving Weissman, President-Elect of the ISSCR. “We anticipate increased collaborative efforts amongst the scientific community and across disciplines, which will drive the entire field forward.” Dr. George Daley.As the principal international organization of stem cell research professionals, the ISSCR is eager to offer its broad expertise to the NIH to support development of policies for research funding and oversight. The ISSCR believes that research using all types of stem cells should be selected for funding based on scientific merit and conducted under transparent ethical oversight. “Policies governing stem cell research should embrace the rigorous ethical standards laid out in the National Academy of Sciences’ guidelines and the ISSCR’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research,” said George Q. Daley, ISSCR immediate past president, and chair of the task force that developed the ISSCR guidelines. The ISSCR is confident that under the new administration policy embryonic stem cell research will thrive and ultimately lead to a better understanding and treatment of many diseases, which today are untreatable. See also: Obama to Reverse Embryonic Stem Cell Ban CellNEWS - Saturday, 07 March 2009 Barack Obama on Stem Cell Research CellNEWS - Tuesday, 02 September 2008 ......... ZenMaster

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

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