Stem Cells: A Promise Deferred? - Pharmaceutical Executive


Stem Cells: A Promise Deferred?

Pharmaceutical Executive

Hello Costa Rica

A Romney administration would "be highly likely to reinstate the Bush era restrictions on federal funding, or be even more restrictive."—Hank Greely
It's important, too, to note that in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is more or less legal in every country except Costa Rica, where it is banned entirely, is an indispensible source of embryos for hESC research. Typically, many embryos are developed as part of the IVF process, the healthiest of which is then transferred into the uterus of the patient for gestation. The embryos left over are typically frozen, discarded or used for research. In January of 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), potentially the next vice president of the United States, co-sponsored a bill—along with 63 of his Republican colleagues in the House—titled the Sanctity of Human Life Act, the purpose of which is to "provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization." If this bill were to pass, leftover embryos developed during the IVF process would ostensibly be considered human beings, and off limits to the research community.

Mitt Romney, for his part, would "be highly likely to reinstate the Bush era restrictions on federal funding, or even be more restrictive," says Greely. "I don't think he has strong feelings about it"—several of Romney's grandchildren were conceived via IVF—"but powerful voices in his party do." Asked if a Romney Administration would mean a setback for stem cell research, McGlynn, Stem Cells Inc.'s CEO, declined to enter the political fray, but said that "a critical success factor in other technologies in the healthcare field has been a very active NIH, one that is not only active and knowledgeable, but also able to fund early research, to prime the pump, and to provide funding to academia as well as companies like ours that are engaged in translating scientific discovery into clinical outcomes."


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