Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Stem Cell Battle Continues

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Stem Cell Battle Continues

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Sensing an opening made larger by President Ronald Reagan's death, stem cell research advocates have stepped up their campaign to overturn or loosen the Bush Administration strictures on the field.

By early summer, the effort seemed to be gathering momentum when a diverse group of 142 scientific, academic, and patient organizations sent a letter to the White House urging expanded use of embryonic stem cells.

On the same day, several House members introduced legislation to require the government to finance such research.

Led by the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR), the group held a press conference on Capitol Hill just days after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said that if he were elected president, he would end the restrictions imposed by President Bush in August 2001. In late April, 206 House members wrote Bush asking for expanded research; this was followed by a similar plea from 28 senators, including Sen. Kerry, in early June.

Currently, government funds can only be used to support research on existing embryonic stem cell lines. In 2001, the National Institutes of Health estimated that 60 lines were available, but Daniel Perry, president of CAMR, said that the number was actually closer to 19. …

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