Fact Sheet: Advancing Stem Cell Research While Respecting Moral Boundaries

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 20, 2007 - Today, President Bush Signed An Executive Order To Strengthen Our Nation's Commitment To Research On Pluripotent Stem Cells. Scientists have recently shown they have the ingenuity and skill to pursue the potential benefits of pluripotent stem cell research - research on cells that have the potential to develop into nearly all the cell types and tissues in the body - without endangering human life in the process. By expanding support for non-destructive research methods, this Executive Order will make it more likely that these exciting advances continue to unfold.

-- President Bush Also Vetoed A Bill That Would Overturn His Careful, Ethical Approach To Stem Cell Research. If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers - for the first time in our history - to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos. The President has made it clear to Congress and the American people that he will not allow the Nation to cross this moral line.

In August 2001, President Bush Announced A Policy To Advance Stem Cell Research In A Way That Is Ambitious, Ethical, And Effective. President Bush was the first president to make Federal funds available for human embryonic stem cell research - and his policy did this in ways that would not encourage the destruction of embryos.

-- The President Believes We Must Pursue The Possibilities Of Science In A Manner That Respects Human Dignity And Upholds Our Moral Values. Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical, and it is not the only option before us. Technical innovation in this difficult area is opening up new possibilities for progress without conflict or ethical controversy.

-- The President's Careful Approach Is Producing Results. Since 2001, the Administration has made $130 million dollars available for research on stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed before the President's policy was announced. It has also provided more than $3 billion in Federal funding for research on all forms of stem cells, including those from adult and other non-embryonic sources. This funding has contributed to proven therapeutic treatments in thousands of patients with many different diseases, and it is opening the prospect of new treatments and cures that could transform countless lives.

Recent Scientific Breakthroughs Are Showing Stem Cell Science Can Progress While Respecting Moral Boundaries

There Have Been Advances In Therapies That Use Stem Cells Drawn From Adults, Children, And The Blood From Umbilical Cords - With No Harm To The Donor.

Researchers Are Now Developing Promising New Techniques That Offer The Potential To Produce Pluripotent Stem Cells - Without Having To Destroy Human Life.

-- This month, several new studies showed the potential of reprogramming adult cells, such as skin cells, to make them function like embryonic stem cells.

-- In January 2007, scientists discovered that cells extracted from amniotic fluid and placentas could also provide stem cells that seem to do what embryonic stem cells can - without creating or destroying embryos.

The Administration Is Taking Immediate Action To Increase Our Support For These Researchers In Their Vital Work

Today, President Bush Issued An Executive Order To Strengthen Our Nation's Commitment To Research On Pluripotent Stem Cells. The Order:

-- Directs the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health to ensure that any human pluripotent stem cell lines produced in ways that do not create, destroy, or harm human embryos will be eligible for federal funding.

-- Expands the NIH's Embryonic Stem Cell registry to include all types of ethically produced human pluripotent stem cells.

-- Renames the registry the Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry - so that it reflects what the stem cells can do, instead of where they come from.

-- Invites scientists to work with the NIH, so we can add new ethically derived stem cell lines to the list of those eligible for Federal funding.

President Bush Calls On Congress To Pass Legislation That Would Authorize Additional Funds For Ethical Stem Cell Research So He Can Sign It Into Law. The Senate recently passed a bill that would authorize additional Federal funding for alternative stem cell research, and the President calls on the House to pass similar legislation.

Contact

White House Press Office
1-202-456-2580

Posted: June 2007

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