Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Obama and Stem Cell Research
There is speculation on the Hill about whether President Obama (love those words) will immediately reverse the ban on stem cell research by executive order, or wait until Congress submits a bill to him that he would sign. I think it is about 50/50.
Either way, these are significant steps in the right direction after 8 years of "anti-science" and suppression of expert research under the Bush administration. Former Surgeon-General under Bush, Dr. Richard Carmona complained he was muzzled in attempts to speak out on stem cell science and other issues.
The fact that Obama is likely to be lifting the restrictions on US federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research speaks volumes about how he will govern.
Stem cell research from public funding will potentially ensure open access to research results and allow easier transition from research to development of new therapies and cures for patients with a wide range of illnesses.
In 2007, Senator Obama co-sponsored the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and said the study of stem cells held enormous promise for the treatment of debilitating and life-threatening diseases, like Alzheimer's, diabetes and spinal cord injury. "Instead of creating roadblocks, we must all work together to expand federal funding of stem cell research and continue moving forward in our fight against disease by advancing our knowledge through science and medicine", then Senator Obama said.
It will be interesting to see what first Executive decisions, President Obama (there it is again!) will make after he recovers from the partying night of the inauguration. He has pledged to start work on Wednesday and get a stimulus recovery bill passed ASAP. Many are hoping he makes good on reversing the Embryonic Stem Cell ban also.
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