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  Latest News  
  May 30,  2005
Volume 83, Number 22
p. 12
 

GOVERNMENT & POLICY

  Expanding Stem Cell Research
House passes bill to fund expansion of human embryonic stem cell research
 

SUSAN MORRISSEY
   
 
 
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Castle Degette
COURTESY OF MICHAEL CASTLE

COURTESY OF DIANA DEGETTE

After an emotional debate, the House of Representatives last week passed a bill that would lift restrictions on federal funding for development and study of human embryonic stem cell lines derived from excess embryos in fertility clinics. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) would repeal limitations that provide federal support only for embryonic stem cell lines derived before Aug. 9, 2001.

The White House pledged to veto the legislation if it clears both the House and Senate. Passed by a vote of 238 to 194, the measure has strong bipartisan support in the House but currently lacks the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. Bill proponents Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who are hoping to benefit from the momentum generated in the House, have called on the Senate leadership to bring the legislation up for a vote.

By passing the bill, the House is "moving to reassert America's ethical and scientific leadership on embryonic stem cell research," says Rep. Diana L. DeGette (D-Colo.), who, along with Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), cosponsored the bill. "This is a victory for science that is guided by the strict ethical controls that reflect our nation's values," she adds.

The House last week also voted 431 to 1 to pass a bill that would authorize federal funds to collect and store stem cells from umbilical cord blood and to set up a searchable database for use in treatment and research. These cells are taken from the placenta and umbilical cord after birth without harming the child or mother but have only been useful in treating blood diseases. The White House strongly supports this bill as an alternative to expanding federal support of embryonic stem cell research.

 
     
  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2005
 


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