Joe was super prompt in getting back to me about stem cell research. Well done m’boy. Here’s a snippet: “I share your support for expanding this research, which may have the potential to treat or mitigate many diseases.”
July 18, 2006
Mr. Gary Ploski
PO BOX 7245
Prospect, CT Â 06712
Dear Mr. Ploski:
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for embyronic stem cell (ESC) research. Â I share your support for expanding this research, which may have the potential to treat or mitigate many diseases.
I am pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on May 24, 2005, that would reverse President Bush’s ban on federally funded ESC research. Â The House voted 238-194 to pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810), introduced by Representative Michael Castle (R-DE), which authorizes federally funded research on ESC lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics, provided that the donors give consent and are not paid for the embryos.
As you may know, on May 12, I cosponsored companion Senate legislation (S. 471), introduced by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). Â Currently, President Bush’s executive order restricts federally funded ESC research to 78 stem cell lines that existed before August 9, 2001. Â The President recently issued a threat to veto H.R. 810 if it passes Congress.
In voting to overturn the President’s stem cell research ban, the House took a courageous step to give new hope and new life to the afflicted. ESC research is still in its infancy, but these cells represent potential miracles for millions of Americans who suffer horrible diseases that have no cure. Â The Senate should follow suit and act immediately to pass our companion legislation and urge the President to sign it into law. Currently, this is scheduled to happen before the August congressional recess.
It is believed that the 78 stem cell lines currently available to federally funded researchers have been contaminated by mouse proteins and are therefore not useful for human research. Â New stem cell lines can be created utilizing extra embryos, currently housed in fertility clinics, that would otherwise be discarded. Â Scientists believe uncontaminated stem cells may help find cures to diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, spinal cord injury, and other diseases.
In related action, the House also passed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act (H.R. 2520), sponsored by Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) by a vote of 431-1. Â This bill promotes research on another type of stem cell which is taken from the umbilical cord blood of babies. Â I
understand that the President favors this legislation, but I am opposed to it if it is a substitute for a more substantive ESC bill. Â To be clear on this issue, umbilical cord stem cells are not the same as ESCs. Â They do not have the same regenerative potential, and research in this area is unlikely to yield much fruitfulness.
Please be assured that I very much share your views regarding the potential applications of human ESC research. Â Those of us who personally know people who are suffering with chronic or incurable diseases understand that stem cell research offers them hope for the discovery of treatments and cures.
My official Senate web site is designed to be an on-line office that provides access to constituent services, Connecticut-specific information, and an abundance of information about what I am working on in the Senate on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. Â I am also pleased to let you
know that I have launched an email news update service through my web site. Â You can sign up for that service by visiting http://lieberman.senate.gov and clicking on the “Subscribe Email News Updates” button at the bottom of the home page. Â I hope these are informative and useful.
Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns. Â Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.