Deerfield, IL, March 9, 2009 – The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) applauds 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.
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.”
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.
*** The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)
is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.
Posted March 9, 2009 Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research