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Senate bill raises hopes of stem cell research proponents/New York state bill

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    Senate bill raises hopes of stem cell research proponents/New York state bill

    Senate bill raises hopes of stem cell research proponents

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    Associated Press Writer

    June 19, 2004, 12:18 PM EDT

    ALBANY, N.Y. -- A state Senate bill drafted in response to former First Lady Nancy Reagan's plea for more stem cell research has raised hopes that New York will validate the scientific exploration into what advocates say holds promise for victims of Alzheimer's disease and other conditions.

    Sen. Nicholas Spano said more than 100 million Americans suffer from cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and other conditions that some scientists think could be alleviated by advances in stem cell research. He said Nancy Reagan's renewed call for such research in May, just before former President Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's after a decade-long battle, inspired his legislation.

    "Human stem cell research and therapeutic cloning offer immense promise for developing new treatment and prevention methods for these debilitating diseases," said Spano, a Westchester County Republican.

    The Senate bill does not go far enough, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, but it may signal the willingness of the Republican-controlled chamber to embrace stem cell research. The Assembly is again pushing a bill it passed in 2003 to validate such research, as Silver said California, New Jersey and other states have done.

    Republican President George Bush opposes an expansion of stem cell research because of its potential to lead to human cloning, which is anathema to conservatives and religious fundamentalists. Both the Senate and Assembly bills in New York would permit stem cell research in New York but prohibit cloning.

    Silver said many of the same objections to stem cell research were voiced in the 1970s when DNA research was emerging, with much of the best work being done by New York scientists. The understanding of DNA has led to several medical breakthroughs, he said.

    "Our challenge is to break down the walls of ignorant fears," Silver said.

    Stem cells from human embryos have been found to form all types of cells. Medical researchers say stem cells hold the promise of being able to serve as replacements to cells damaged by diseases like Alzheimer's or in traumatic injuries.

    Mike Discipio, who was made a quadriplegic by a swimming pool accident in suburban Albany, said spinal cord injury victims are desperate for the advances possible in stem cell research. In 2003, actor Christopher Reeve appeared in Albany to promote the Assembly's stem cell research bill. Reeve was paralyzed in a horse riding accident in 1995.

    "All eyes are on us right now," Discipio said

    Max, thanks. This is good news. Wise.


      Originally posted by Wise Young:

      Max, thanks. This is good news. Wise.
      You welcome Wise!

      On unrelated topic What you & Jeff think about making UBB & HTML Tags/Banners of different sizes and logos/design so mebmers could proudly post them on their Websites? And bring more attention to our cause

      Could you collaborate/comment on other ideas (leaflets, email signatures, etc..) expressed in Chris topic?

      Thank you, kindly in advance , Wise & Jeff, also Dogger, SueP, Steven-even[img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img] and other members...


        Max, i think thats a great idea!

        "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
        Gandolf the Gray

        2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

        "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

        .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."


          great idea, I will start a topic in the next few days that will contain carecure logos that people can link with the URL of this site. Wise.


            POWERFUL WORDS:

            Remarks by Speaker Sheldon Silver

            Press Conference Announcing the
            Reproductive Cloning Prohibition and Research Protection Act

            Capitol, Speaker's Conference Room
            Thursday, June 17, 2004

            Today, 58 million Americans suffer with heart disease.

            Four million are battling Alzheimer's - a disease which claimed the life of President Reagan.

            One million children have juvenile diabetes, and a quarter of a million Americans are paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries.

            According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one in three women in the United States will develop cancer in her lifetime.

            All told, some 128 million Americans suffer from crippling, chronic, degenerative and acute diseases that in addition to the terrible pain they cause, cost this country billions of dollars in treatment expenses and lost productivity.

            As medical science advances toward a cure for these diseases, it is becoming increasingly clear that the solution may be found in therapeutic cloning and stem cell research.

            Today, the Assembly - represented by the numerous members of the Majority Conference standing with me intend to take action on Assembly 6249-A, The Reproductive Cloning Prohibition and Research Protection Act, which makes it unlawful for any person or entity to knowingly perform or attempt to perform reproductive cloning.

            More important, our legislation authorizes scientific activities relating to:

            Therapeutic cloning;
            Stem cell research and the related applications of such research.
            As well as in vitro fertilization.
            Our legislation also creates the "Legislative Commission on Human Cloning" to examine, evaluate and advise the Legislature on issues relating to human cloning, genetic engineering and stem cell research, so that the voice of science can be an integral part of biotech policymaking in the State of New York.

            Speaking on our legislation today are:

            The Chair of our Committee on Health, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried;

            The Chair of the Legislative Task Force on People with Disabilities, Assembly Member Kevin Cahill;

            As well as, Assembly Member Scott Stringer who has been a long time advocate of stem cell research.

            Joining us today are:

            Paul Richter, a retired New York State Trooper - who is representing the Spinal Cord Society;

            Mike Discipio, who will be speaking on our bill, represents the Capital District Chapter of the Spinal Cord Society;

            Ross Frommer, Deputy Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, representing New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research;

            Marilyn Castaldi, Chief Communications Officer for Columbia University Medical Center;

            Renee Albert, who will be speaking on the bill, represents the National Board of Directors of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America;

            Herb Gordon, also speaking on the bill, is the National Volunteer Consultant for State Legislative Issues for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation;

            And, representing Family Planning Advocates are:

            Lois Uttley, Vice President of the Education Fund;

            Carol Blowers, Director of Governmental Affairs;

            And Susan Pedo, Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

            As a Jew and as a legislator, I understand the conflict between religious law and secular law.

            I have traveled to Washington and argued the case for the reasonable accommodation of religious principles.

            I have met with religious leaders and debated "Choice," and the inclusion of infertility treatments and contraceptives in health insurance policies.

            I have the utmost respect for religious freedom, but it is unreasonable to deny suffering and disabled New Yorkers the benefits of stem cell research, because reasonable people differ in their view of when life begins.

            While I agree that we should not be cloning human beings, I have serious objections to a total ban on therapeutic cloning and somatic cell nuclear transfer.

            It is - and has always been - my position, that it is ethically and morally correct to alleviate and to prevent suffering to the extent that we can.

            To those who support a total ban on cloning, let me suggest that you visit a badly burned child at Albany Medical Center, then ask yourself whether an enucleated egg is more important than relieving the suffering of that child.

            Visit the mother of a child who will die from spinal muscular atrophy before the age of two and ask yourself whether it is better to run the risk that one disreputable scientist will engage in reproductive cloning or to allow medical science the opportunity to save her child's life.

            If you've followed the debate in Congress over stem cell research, you've encountered fearful references to embryo farms, the exploitation of poor women, and concerns that America will not be able to police biotech entities and doctors in order to prevent reproductive cloning.

            I remember similar reactions back in the 1970s over DNA research and gene splicing.

            That research lead to the creation of Insulin and a plethora of medicines, including one that prevents childhood deaths from cystic fibrosis.

            Just a decade ago we were hotly debating in-vitro fertilization. The successes of that technology are growing up healthy all around us.

            Look at what America has accomplished already: victories over tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, cholera and so many other diseases.

            Today, Americans are surviving AIDS, and winning battles with some forms of cancer.

            I'm not suggesting that the fears being expressed about stem cell research are always and completely without merit, but we cannot stymie human progress and hope with "what if" thinking.

            I believe that history shows us that our interests are best served, the quality of our lives are most often enhanced, when doctors and researchers are able to do their work unfettered by the irrational fears and personal beliefs of those in government.

            When it comes to stem cell research, let us follow doctors, not doctrines.

            Equally important, we must not hold New York back on the most promising medical technology of our time.

            And please, let's not make doctors and scientists criminals for striving to heal the physically challenged and the infirmed.

            Let's not force them to go overseas to do their cutting-edge work.

            Let's not give away an industry that generated nearly $30 billion in revenues in the United States in 2001, and that doubled employment in the last ten years.

            We have already made significant investments in building biotech research corridors around the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, and in the Lower Manhattan Bioscience Corridor.

            Keep in mind that it was scientists at New York's Rockefeller Institute - back in the early 1940s, who discovered that DNA is the molecule that carries genetic information.

            Let's not throw away New York's birthright of scientific discovery and medical excellence.

            Our challenge is to break down the walls of ignorance and fear, so that we can reach that place of hope where so much suffering and frustration will become nothing more than historical footnotes in the annals of medicine.

            We are proud to advance this legislation today, and we will work vigorously to gain passage of it in the State Senate, and to get the Governor to sign it into law as quickly as possible.

            "As our cause is new, so must we think anew and act anew" - Lincoln