Tuesday, May 08, 2007

States right on stem cell research

Two Democrats and one Republican governor are leading the way for stem cell research in the US. The New York Times reports that Massachusetts "Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday unveiled a $1.25 billion proposal intended to help the state maintain its status as a pre-eminent place for stem cell research and other life sciences."

The money would provide grants for university and hospital scientists, establish special research centers to make their work faster and more efficient, and train workers for biotechnology businesses.

It would also establish the first stem cell bank, a repository of all the stem cell lines created in Massachusetts laboratories, which would serve as a kind of stem cell lending library to scientists around the world.

“In many ways the health of this industry and the health of our society are very closely linked,” Mr. Patrick said at an international biotechnology convention here, where he announced the plan, which involves $1 billion in state money over 10 years, some borrowed through bond issues, plus $250 million in matching money from private business. “That’s why we will not rest on our laurels.”

Massachusetts is home to some of the most advanced research in stem cells and other life sciences, including the work of Craig C. Mello, a University of Massachusetts scientist who shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on silencing the effect of certain genes, which could lead to treatment of diabetes, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists at Harvard and other Massachusetts research centers have created more than 30 new lines of embryonic stem cells, more than researchers in other states.

Other states have proposed committing money to the field. Among them are California, which approved a $3 billion program; New Jersey, which has proposed $270 million; and New York, where Gov. Eliot Spitzer has proposed $1 billion for stem cell research.
Bone-head Bush is the reason we must depend on the states to take up this important work. Bush objects to embryonic stem cell research for religious reasons. It seems our president doesn't acknowledge our First Amendment separation of church and state. Someone please ... get him a copy of the Constitution.

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