AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner Sees "Opportunity" in Bipartisan Stem Cell Bill
Alan I. Leshner
In a letter sent Thursday (19 May) to members of Congress, AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner welcomed a bipartisan measure that would shift the current federal policy to give researchers greater access to new embryonic stem cell lines.
The bill, introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Castle, (R-Del.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), would ease President Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell lines created after 9 August 2001. It would allow federal funds to be used on stem cell lines derived after that date from frozen embryos now stored at fertility clinics that would otherwise be discarded.
The new measure includes ethical and oversight elements which AAAS has backed since at least 1999, and which parallel the guidelines offered earlier this month by the National Academy of Science.
Leshner, who also serves as executive publisher of the journal Science, urged members of Congress "to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the bill.
"As we have stated in the past and continue to believe," he wrote, "it is only through federal support of research on both adult and embryonic stem cells that we may better understand the potential value and limitations of each type. We owe all those who may be helped by such research in the future to pursue all avenues of potential treatments and cures for serious diseases."
The Castle-DeGette bill, with 199 co-sponsors, is tentatively scheduled to go to the House floor on Tuesday.
Read Alan Leshner's letter here.
20 May 2005