New scientific white paper outlines why the current policy on stem cell research must be expanded

On the third anniversary of the establishment of federal support for stem cell research, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, released a new scientific white paper today that outlines why the current policy must be expanded.

“The white paper was put together to enumerate, in a concise way, the gaps in the current policy that restrict the potential promise of stem cell research,” said Larry Soler, Vice President of Government Relations for JDRF. “The National Institutes of Health even recognizes how an expanded policy could propel the field, stating more cell lines may well speed some areas of human embryonic stem cell research.”

The new document provides insight into the critical lack of stem cell lines available under the 2001 policy, the lack of genetic diversity in the existing lines, and the possible contamination of these lines, among other topics.

Embryonic stem cell research offers one of the most promising avenues to JDRF’s ultimate goal of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications. “Embryonic stem cells have qualities that give them the potential to treat a range of diseases and conditions that other areas of scientific investigation simply do not,” said Dr. Robert Goldstein, Chief Scientific Officer at JDRF. “A policy limiting the number of stem cell lines potentially limits the opportunity for scientific discovery that can lead to cures.”

The white paper noted that when the policy was initially introduced, JDRF had hoped that the allotted lines would help in reaching that goal. However, since 2001, scientists have gained tremendous knowledge in this area and have come to a shared conclusion that, while the policy was well intentioned, it has slowed the pace of scientific progress. The white paper notes that scientists agree that “the current policy is actually slowing progress and, as such, must be changed so that it accurately represents the latest scientific understanding and allows for the accelerated development of potential breakthroughs required to cure not only diabetes, but also a range of diseases that afflict millions of Americans,” said Dr. Goldstein.


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