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For Researchers Seeking Cures, ASBMB Urges Uniform Federal Policy on Embryonic Stem Cells

stem cell marker

July 12, 2011 – The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology this week called for passage of federal legislation to establish a uniform regulatory landscape for the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cells.

Calling existing legislation “ambiguous” and citing and “the constant specter of judicial challenges” that researchers face, the society representing thousands of biomedical researchers insisted that the promises of embryonic stem cell research are in peril and the development of much-needed therapies and cures is being delayed.

The statement said the lack “of a cogent, unified federal policy … has resulted in a discouraging and obstructionist research environment that has dissuaded many scientists from entering the field while driving others to work abroad.”

Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for ASBMB, emphasized that a recent poll by the advocacy group Research!America showed that almost 70 percent of Americans approve of embryonic stem cell research.

Also, he said, there have been two bipartisan congressional efforts in the past decade advancing legislation to boost federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which paved the way for the Obama administration to issue a 2009 executive order increasing the number of stem cell lines eligible for federal funding.

ASBMB also recommended nullifying what is known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, saying: “This onerous law, which prohibits federal funding for any research ‘in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed,’ places ambiguous and unreasonable restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research, stifling progress and delaying the development of cures and treatments.”

Read the full statement from ASBMB. 

For more information about ASBMB’s advocacy efforts, contact Corb at bcorb@asbmb.org or 240-283-6625.