Magazine article The Christian Century

Alter Stem Cell Rules, Senators Urge Bush

Magazine article The Christian Century

Alter Stem Cell Rules, Senators Urge Bush

Article excerpt

Fifty-eight senators have asked President Bush to ease restrictions on stem cell research, with some noting that the late President Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's disease could have been aided by expanded research.

In a letter to Bush, 42 Democrats, one independent and 15 Republican senators said the president's policy adopted in 2001 is no longer adequate. A similar letter was sent in May' by 206 House members.

The 2001 White House policy allowed research on 78 existing lines, or colonies, of stem cells, but banned the creation of new lines. Some scientists believe that stem cells--which can grow into almost any human tissue--hold treatments or cures for a host of debilitating diseases.

The senators, in their June 4 letter, said only 19 of the 78 colonies are still available to researchers. In addition, some of those colonies may no longer be viable because they have been "contaminated" with mouse cells. "We would very much like to work with you to modify the current embryonic stem cell policy so that it provides this area of research the greatest opportunity, to lead to the treatments and cures for which we are all hoping," said the letter, whose signers included Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. …

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