Bipartisan Support for Embryonic Stem Cell Legislation

Jul 11, 2011   

On June 24, 2011, United States Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Advancement Act of 2011 (the “Bill”). The Bill would give legislative backing to President Obamas 2009 Executive Order allowing federal funding for medical research using discarded embryos from fertility clinics. Critics of the Bill argue, based on religious and moral grounds, that the research destroys viable embryos to harvest the stem cells. However, Representative Dent stressed that the Bill establishes important ethical criteria for stem cell research.

The Bill provides that in order to be eligible for federal funding, research must exclusively involve leftover embryos that would otherwise be discarded. Donors would also have to sign written consent forms and would be barred from receiving financial compensation. In addition, the Bill codifies the National Institutes of Health Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for carrying out both embryonic and adult stem cell research.

Supporters of the Bill want to ensure that critical research can be conducted unimpeded by political interference. Currently, there are two human trials already underway for the treatment of spinal cord injuries and degenerative eye diseases using embryonic stem cells. See our previous reports here and here for more information on the embryonic stem cell trials.

Fuerst Ittleman will continue to monitor the Bill as it is up for vote in the House. For more information on Fuerst Ittlemans experience handling the FDA regulatory framework regarding stem cells, drugs, and biologics, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.