Call for President Bush to lift restrictions on embryonic stem cell research

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, along with more than 140 patient groups, universities, and scientific societies, sent a letter today to President Bush urging an expansion of the regulations governing federal embryonic stem cell research.

“Embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for the development of new treatments and therapies--and perhaps one day a cure--for a host of diseases including type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s,” said JDRF President and CEO Peter Van Etten. “The voices of over 100 million people who are touched by these diseases was reflected in today’s letter to President Bush, urging an expansion of the current policy that has limited this research. Our hope, for all those families, is that the President quickly heeds their call and expands his policy so that the current restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research don’t continue to slow the progress of research in America.”

At today’s press conference, two Members of Congress introduced legislation calling for an expansion of the federal embryonic stem cell policy. U.S. Representatives Michael Castle (R-DE) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) made public their new bill, which would expand the current policy to allow for federally-funded research on additional embryonic stem cell lines that meet clear ethical guidelines.

In addition, twelve-year old Svati Narula of Gaithersburg, Maryland, who has type 1 or juvenile diabetes, spoke candidly about why the federal policy needs to be changed. “The decision to expand the stem cell policy must be made now, not tomorrow, so that kids just like me can benefit from its full potential as soon as possible. We should not have to wait to explore a science that shows promise. I strongly urge President Bush to lift restrictions on embryonic stem cell lines so that research can move forward, in order to help kids like me and give us hope for a cure.”

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