Sen. Carper: More Stem Cell Research Will Save More Lives

Senator Votes To Increase Number of Embryonic Stem Cells For Federally Funded Research

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today voted in support of stem cell legislation that would greatly expand scientists’ access to embryonic stem cells lines and allow more and better medical research into cures that save lives.

"We have made amazing strides in medical research with the creation of new medicine and mapping the human genome, but more can be done. We know stem cell research holds real promise to save lives," Sen. Carper said on the Senate floor this week. "This critical legislation takes the next step to find treatments and cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, juvenile diabetes, heart disease and even cancer."

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (S. 5) directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct and support research on stems cells from embryos in fertility clinics, some 400,000 today, that would otherwise be destroyed. This legislation allows frozen embryo to be donated for embryonic stem cell research and to be eligible for federal research funds.

"The choice seems clear, rather than allowing these embryos to be discarded, scientists can use them to further life-saving research," Sen. Carper said. "If we focus our resources and attention to find cures today, our children and our grandchildren will benefit tomorrow."

Sen. Carper stressed the stem cell research established by the Bush Administration in 2001 impedes promising research.

"Under the Administration’s current policy, the number of stem lines available for federally funded research has continued to shrink, and many of the current lines are contaminated or have reached the end of their usefulness," the senator said.

This Senate bill imposes ethical rules for stem cell research that are stricter than the Bush Administration policy and supports all ethical alternatives for stem cell research.

The legislation is endorsed by major medical and scientific associations, research universities and institutions, and dozens of patient advocacy organizations representing millions of Americans.

Embryonic stem cell research has been the focus of numerous Senate hearings. This past January, the House of Representatives passed its own stem cell legislation, H.R. 3, and Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del) was a lead sponsor. Sen. Carper urged President Bush not to veto this important legislation.