The DeGette-Castle stem cell research bill increases the number of lines of stem cells that are eligible to be used in federally-funded research. The bill authorizes Health and Human Services (HHS) to support research involving embryonic stem cells meeting certain criteria, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from an embryo. Current policy allows federal funds to be used for research only on those stem cell lines that existed when President Bush issued an executive order on August 9, 2001. The bill only authorizes the use of stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. The bill includes stronger ethical guidelines than the President's current policy.
The bill only authorizes the use of stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. The bill has strict ethical guidelines, including stipulating that embryos can be used only if the donors give their written consent and receive no money or other inducement in exchange for the embryos.
Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to unlock the doors to treatments and cures to numerous diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
Expanding embryonic stem cell research is supported by 72 percent of Americans. [Opinion Research Corporation]
Embryonic stem cell research is supported by more than 200 organizations, including the American Medical Association, AARP, Association of American Medical Colleges, Parkinson's Action Network, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Few of the stem cell lines authorized by President Bush in 2001 are now useful for research. According to the National Institutes of Health, of the 78 stem cell lines that were declared eligible for federal funding in the President's executive order of August 2001, only about 22 lines are now still available for researchers. And many of these 22 'available' stem cell lines are contaminated with 'mouse feeder' cells, making their therapeutic use for humans uncertain.