DAVID GRANOVSKY

Will Controversial Stem Cell Rider Derail Senate Budget vote?

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Sen. Steve Ogden, a Republican from Texas, has potentially derailed not only government funding for embryonic stem cell research, but also has a attempted to derail President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget

Will Controversial Stem Cell Rider Derail Senate Budget vote?

Thursday, 02 Apr 2009

Jacksonville – Sen. Steve Ogden, a Republican from Texas, has potentially derailed not only government funding for embryonic stem cell research, but also has a attempted to derail President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget. The rider states “No funds appropriated under this act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.”

The rider was passed by the Senate Finance Committee 6-5, with some members absent. The Senate is debating the budget and as of the time of this writing there is not news on whether it has passed with the addition of the stem cell rider.

President Obama had reversed George W. Bush’s executive order banning embryonic stem cell research. The controversial medical research involves using stem cells from embryos donated by parents who had In Vitro Fertilization and has extra embryos which otherwise would be destroyed. For many parents, donating these embryos to science makes them feel good. Others actually pay to have the embryos frozen forever, or allow them to be “adopted” by others for IVF.

Stem cells based medical research, including adult stem cells as well as embryonic stem cells are thought to hold the potential to treat or cure many diseases including Deafness, Paralysis, Diabetes, and Crohn’s Disease. When President Obama reversed Bush’s executive order, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) was given 120 days to come up with a set of guidelines for any Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Since these guidelines are not yet completed, no new embryonic stem cell research is specifically marked for funding in this year’s budget and this budget rider would make it impossible for any of the health agencies to make further determination of with funds allocated in this years budget.

Some of the issues the National Institute of Health will consider when writing guidelines for the use of embryonic stem cells in research are making sure the parents who donate embryos sign informed consent forms to show that they understand and approve of the research methodology. It is speculated that there may be additional language added to the guidelines restricting any embryos used to the products on fertility treatments. As well, it is expected that there be some separation set up between doctors who do fertility treatments and doctors who do stem cell research, to limit any conflict of interest.

Many in the medical and patient advocacy communities are very concerned that the budget will pass with this rider slipped in by a largely absent subcommittee. It is speculated that Sen. Ogden, who is said to be in his last term in office, is attempting to derail the Democrat’s budget vote by adding this controversial rider.

http://www.healthjackal.com/science/2009/04/02/will-controversial-stem-cell-rider-derail-senate-budget-vote/

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