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Republican Senate Leader Frist to back ESC research!

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    Republican Senate Leader Frist to back ESC research!

    "In a break with Bush, Senate Republican leader Bill Frist will support bill to expand fed financing for embryonic stem cell research -- will announce decision in morning with lengthy Senate speech..."
    www.drudereport.com

    This is a key vote, but the religious right is going to up his ass on this, potentially getting him to change his mind. Here's Frist's contact info so you can lend him support:

    Washington, D.C.:
    Office of Senator Bill Frist
    509 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    202-224-3344
    202-228-1264 (fax)

    Nashville:
    Office of Senator Bill Frist
    28 White Bridge Road
    Suite 211
    Nashville, TN 37205
    615-352-9411
    615-352-9985 (fax)

    #2
    YES!!,YES!!,YES!!

    It's TRUE!!!

    Senate's Leader Veers From Bush Over Stem Cells


    By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
    Published: July 29, 2005
    WASHINGTON, July 28

    - In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure.

    Mr. Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon who said last month that he did not back expanding financing "at this juncture," is expected to announce his decision Friday morning in a lengthy Senate speech. In it, he says that while he has reservations about altering Mr. Bush's four-year-old policy, which placed strict limits on taxpayer financing for the work, he supports the bill nonetheless.

    "While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases," Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. "Therefore, I believe the president's policy should be modified."

    Mr. Frist's move will undoubtedly change the political landscape in the debate over embryonic stem cell research, one of the thorniest moral issues to come before Congress. The chief House sponsor of the bill, Representative Michael N. Castle, Republican of Delaware, said, "His support is of huge significance."

    The stem cell bill has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate, where competing measures are also under consideration. Because Mr. Frist's colleagues look to him for advice on medical matters, his support for the bill could break the Senate logjam. It could also give undecided Republicans political license to back the legislation, which is already close to having the votes it needs to pass the Senate.

    The move could also have implications for Mr. Frist's political future. The senator is widely considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2008, and supporting an expansion of the policy will put him at odds not only with the White House but also with Christian conservatives, whose support he will need in the race for the Republican nomination. But the decision could also help him win support among centrists.

    "I am pro-life," Mr. Frist says in the speech, arguing that he can reconcile his support for the science with his own Christian faith. "I believe human life begins at conception."

    But at the same time, he says, "I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported."

    Backers of the research were elated. "This is critically important," said Larry Soler, a lobbyist for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. "The Senate majority leader, who is also a physician, is confirming the real potential of embryonic stem cell research and the need to expand the policy.".....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/po...opwS4h7gLc6uOQ

    Comment


      #3
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N28405931.htm

      Sen. leader breaks with Bush on stem cells -report
      29 Jul 2005 06:35:42 GMT
      Source: Reuters
      By JoAnne Allen

      "Cure today may be just a theory, a hope, a dream," Frist said in a copy of the speech quoted by the Times. "But the promise is powerful enough that I believe this research deserves our increased energy and focus. Embryonic stem cell research must be supported."

      Frist, a potential 2008 presidential contender, outlined in a 2001 speech his belief in the value of embryonic stem-cell research within certain ethical boundaries. The goals he set in that speech closely match the embryonic stem-cell bill.

      Comment


        #4
        Bush is taking one for the team. Frist needs this to appeal to the Centrists, and Bush's guaranteed veto allows him to take this stand on the issue. Bush maintains his appeal with the Right, Frist gains approval from the Centrists, Bush campaigns for Frist in 2008 (if he gets the nod, which is likely) and hands the Right to Frist. This is purely political.

        If Republicans can maintain their hold through the 2008 elections, embryonic stem cell research will still not be allowed and Frist can set forth an "ethical" ESC policy that pacifies all sides. (Assuming we don't know how to reprogram somatic cells into ESCs by then.)

        Don't celebrate too soon.
        ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Steven Edwards
          Bush is taking one for the team. Frist needs this to appeal to the Centrists, and Bush's guaranteed veto allows him to take this stand on the issue. Bush maintains his appeal with the Right, Frist gains approval from the Centrists, Bush campaigns for Frist in 2008 (if he gets the nod, which is likely) and hands the Right to Frist. This is purely political.

          If Republicans can maintain their hold through the 2008 elections, embryonic stem cell research will still not be allowed and Frist can set forth an "ethical" ESC policy that pacifies all sides. (Assuming we don't know how to reprogram somatic cells into ESCs by then.)

          Don't celebrate too soon.
          If the margin of support is high enough, isn't the Bush veto out the window?
          Frist's announcement may just be what was needed to accomplish that 2/3 (?) vote to override a veto.

          Comment


            #6
            You need a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate will likely get the two-thirds majority, while the House won't.

            Frist is speaking now.
            ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

            Comment


              #7
              The first interpretation is that Frist will support the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR810/S471). I wonder if Frist said anywhere that he supports the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR810/S471).

              A second interpretation is that, even though he is now saying that supports embryonic stem cell research, he is supporting one of the alternative bills. The following is according to Roll Call.

              http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medi...p?newsid=28040

              Sen. Coleman Crafting Seventh Embryonic Stem Cell Research-Related Bill; Other Stem Cell Bills Likely Delayed

              26 Jul 2005

              Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn) is working to introduce a seventh piece of legislation relating to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning that the Senate could consider this week before the August recess,... Roll Call reports. Although a Coleman aide declined to give specifics on what might be included in the possible legislation, the fact that alternative stem cell measures are still being crafted makes it increasingly unlikely that the Senate will take action on any of the pieces of stem cell legislation, according to Roll Call (Pierce, Roll Call, 7/25). The House in May approved the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR 810/S 471), which would allow research using stem cells derived from embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients, but President Bush has threatened to veto the bill. Frist is promoting alternative legislation (HR 3144) that would promote new, unproven techniques that might allow scientists to retrieve embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying embryos as a compromise measure between Bush's current policy
              And here is a brief description of some of the alternative bills in USA Today
              http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing...s-senate_x.htm
              One analyst says the different bills offer senators some protection. "It looks like an effort to find cover for Republicans who don't want to vote for the House bill but don't want to be out there opposing something that's very popular with most Americans," said Norman Ornstein, a congressional expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

              Despite the maneuvering, senators who support the Specter bill defended Frist's management of the issue. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a supporter of embryonic stem cell research, called it "a legitimate attempt to try to give everyone something they can be for."

              There were bills for those who want to end all embryonic stem cell research and for those willing to expand research with some limits:

              • Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who equates destroying an embryo for research with abortion, has drafted a bill that would ban all human cloning, including human embryonic stem cell research.

              • Hutchison, R-Texas, usually a reliable Bush vote, offers a compromise that would move the cutoff date for using frozen embryos in research to the day her bill would become law. That would make 400,000 existing embryos eligible to be donated for research. The new deadline "would discourage any possibility of having an industry of creating embryos to destroy them" she said. "It's the best combination of ethical restrictions but one that allows moving forward to do the research."

              Harkin says those opposed to his bill on moral grounds aren't likely to accept Hutchison's. "If (Bush) can accept that, he can accept ours," Harkin says.

              •Frist, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and George Allen of Virginia are among Senate Republicans backing a bill supported by the White House that would fund research that extracted stem cells from human embryos without destroying them. Many scientists, including Harvard's George Daley, a stem cell researcher, say such "alternatives" are unproven and would divert and delay legitimate medical research.

              • Hatch has a bill that would fund research to extract stem cells from umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. A similar House measure passed overwhelmingly.

              White House spokesman Trent Duffy says Bush wants "to balance the science and ethics" of stem cell research "without using taxpayer money to destroy human embryos."

              American University political scientist James Thurber says Bush hasn't built public support for his position on stem cell research and "may get rolled on this one."
              A third possibility is that Frist has heard that George Bush will not veto and Frist does not want to sacrifice his reputation for something that Bush would not veto. After all, on Thursday morning, Frist had objected to bringing HR810/471 onto the floor of the Senate
              A Senate bill that would expand funding for embryonic stem-cell research appears to be dead in the water, at least until the fall.

              Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) denied a request Thursday morning to address a bill that would expand funding of embryonic stem-cell research in the United States.

              According to Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) made a motion to bring up the bill, and Frist objected.
              Wise.
              Last edited by Wise Young; 29 Jul 2005, 1:48 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                It was actually Senator Reid from Nevada who asked for the unanimous consent vote.
                ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

                Comment


                  #9
                  From the Congressional Record (PDF):

                  Mr. Frist: On H.R. 810, the consent process is inadequate, from my standpoint. There is not an ideal ethical construct. It says informed consent, but it does not specifically talk about the potential for financial incentives between, say, a physician and an in vitro fertilization clinic. That is not addressed specifically in the bill. Instead of voting up or down, I would like to at least discuss those issues.

                  Another issue--there is informed consent and the financial incentives--would be if we pass it, it is passed forever; there is no opportunity to come back and look at it on a periodic basis, say, every 4 or 5 years.

                  I mention those concerns because I am willing to step back and give a clean vote on that if we can take into consideration other people's issues or their particular bills. I am a little surprised my colleagues have not taken me up on that opportunity, but since they have not, we will have to come back and figure the best way to address it when we get back after the recess.
                  ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Senator Kennedy and Senator Feinstein on HR 810!!

                    Mr. KENNEDY: They say there is no time for stem cells, or for the needs of our troops, or our veterans, or working families. There's plenty of time to protect the
                    makers of lethal assault weapons--but no time for lifesaving cures.


                    The bill is right there, Mr. President, right there on that desk in front of you. At any time, the majority leader could walk over, pick it up and have a vote on a bill that would bring new hope to millions of Americans.

                    For years, patients and their families waited for a medical breakthrough to provide new hope for serious illnesses like Parkinson's disease, spinal injury, and Alzheimer's disease.

                    Then at last, dedicated scientists made that breakthrough. They discovered stem cells, which can repair the injuries that cause untold suffering and shorten lives.

                    The cruel irony is that just as medicine was giving patients new hope, the Bush administration snatched it away through needless restrictions on stem cell research,

                    In a few days, on August 9, patients across America will mark the fourth tragic anniversary of that cruel decision.

                    We in the United States Senate had the opportunity--no, we had the responsibility--to see that August 9 of this year did not mark 4 years of failure and 4 years of missed opportunity.

                    But the Republican leadership would not let us meet that responsibility. They let the first week of July slip by, and then the second, and now the last--all with no action on this urgently needed legislation.

                    Every day that we delay is another day of falling behind in the race to cure diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and many other serious illnesses.

                    It is another day for America to lose ground to Korea, Singapore, Britain, and other nations in the competition for global leadership in biotechnology.

                    Most of all, it is another day of shattered hopes for millions of patients and their families across America.

                    Some respond to the failure of the current policy by saying we should explore new ways to develop embryonic stem cells. I agree. Let's explore the potential of new discoveries in genetics and cell science to improve the ways we can tap the potential of stem cells. But let's not restrict essential research while scientists explore speculative and preliminary theories.

                    Some say we should encourage research on stem cells from the blood in umbilical cords or on adult stem cells from bone marrow and other tissues. Again, I agree. We should seek help for patients wherever it may be found. But it makes no sense to limit medical research to one narrow channel when the Nation's leading scientists agree that these alternatives have a more limited potential than embryonic stem cells. As a letter signed by 80 Nobel laureates in February 2001 stated:


                    Current evidence suggests that adult stem cells have markedly restricted differentiation potential. Therefore, for disorders that prove not to be treatable with adult stem cells, impeding human pluripotent stem cell research risks unnecessary delay for millions of patients who may die or endure needless suffering while the effectiveness of adult stem cells is evaluated.


                    The conclusion of an NIH report in June 2001 is clear:

                    Stem cells in adult tissues do not appear to have the same capacity to differentiate as do embryonic stem cells.

                    It would be cruel to base the hopes of millions of patients on an ideological conclusion that these experts are wrong. By all means, let's pursue vigorous research on adult stem cells, but let's not deceive the American public into thinking it's an adequate substitute for embryonic stem cell research.

                    Legislation should be an expression of our values, and our legislation says loud and clear that we value patients and their families--not rigid ideology.

                    It is a travesty that no action has been taken on this lifesaving measure.

                    Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the unanimous consent request offered today by Senator Reid. The Senator has asked unanimous consent for the Senate to take up H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, and S. 1317, the Bone Marrow and Cord Blood Therapy and Research Act.

                    Both of these bills have been passed by the House and are sitting at the desk waiting to be passed by the Senate and sent to the President for his signature.

                    The month of July has come and is nearly gone. Yet these two House-passed bills, with strong bipartisan support, sit and wait at the desk.

                    The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act has 41 sponsors--Republicans and Democrats alike. This legislation is the result of many years of bipartisan cooperation in both the House and Senate. I am pleased to join my colleagues, Senator ARLEN SPECTER, TOM HARKIN, ORRIN HATCH, TED KENNEDY, and GORDON SMITH, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of patients and their families across this Nation to see that embryonic stem cell research moves forward.

                    This legislation is proof positive that Senators from many different points of view, be they liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-choice, can work together on legislation that will help speed the pace of cures and treatments for more than 110 million Americans.

                    Identical legislation passed the House on May 24 by a vote of 238 to 194. Congressman MIKE CASTLE, Republican, Delaware, and DIANA DEGETTE, Democrat, Colorado, are to be commended for their tireless work in getting this bill passed in the House.

                    It is essential that the Senate move quickly to pass this bill. The clock is ticking. August 9 marks the fourth anniversary of President Bush's policy limiting Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. At the time it was thought there were 78 stem cell lines available to researchers, today that number is 22. And all 22 of the lines available are contaminated by mouse feeder cells and not usable for research in humans.

                    So why has the Senate still not acted? The simple unanimous consent request put forth by Senator Reid would allow the Senate to vote on this bill as early as today. We could send it to the President for his signature tonight.

                    What is going on here is an attempt to obscure what is a very simple issue. What is going on here is an attempt to allow votes on other bills in order to pull votes away from H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

                    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/...Gh3cNG:e19019:
                    Last edited by Faye; 29 Jul 2005, 11:00 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Senastor Frist's Speech Today in the Senate

                      Speeches

                      FRIST COMMENTS ON STEM CELL RESEARCH
                      Floor Statement -- Remarks As Prepared For Delivery


                      July 29th, 2005 - Since 2001 when stem cell research first captured our nation’s attention, I’ve said many times the issue will have to be reviewed on an ongoing basis -- and not just because the science holds tremendous promise, or because it’s developing with breathtaking speed. Indeed, stem cell research presents the first major moral and ethical challenge to biomedical research in the 21st century.

                      In this age of unprecedented discovery, challenges that arise from the nexus of advancing science and ethical considerations will come with increasing frequency. How can they not? Every day we unlock more of the mysteries of human life and more ways to promote and enhance our health. This compels profound questions -- moral questions that we understandably struggle with both as individuals and as a body politic.

                      How we answer these questions today -- and whether, in the end, we get them right -- impacts the promise not only of current research, but of future research, as well. It will define us as a civilized and ethical society forever in the eyes of history. We are, after all, laying the foundation of an age in human history that will touch our individual lives far more intimately than the Information Age and even the Industrial Age before it.

                      Answering fundamental questions about human life is seldom easy. For example, to realize the promise of my own field of heart transplantation and at the same time address moral concerns introduced by new science, we had to ask the question: How do we define “death?” With time, careful thought, and a lot of courage from people who believed in the promise of transplant medicine, but also understood the absolute necessity for a proper ethical framework, we answered that question, allowed the science to advance, and have since saved tens of thousands of lives.

                      So when I remove the human heart from someone who is brain dead, and I place it in the chest of someone whose heart is failing to give them new life, I do so within an ethical construct that honors dignity of life and respect for the individual.

                      Like transplantation, if we can answer the moral and ethical questions about stem cell research, I believe we will have the opportunity to save many lives and make countless other lives more fulfilling. That’s why we must get our stem cell policy right -- scientifically and ethically. And that’s why I stand on the floor of the United States Senate today.

                      *

                      Four years ago, I came to this floor and laid out a comprehensive proposal to promote stem cell research within a thorough framework of ethics. I proposed 10 specific interdependent principles. They dealt with all types of stem cell research, including adult and embryonic stem cells.

                      As we know, adult stem cell research is not controversial on ethical grounds -- while embryonic stem cell research is. Right now, to derive embryonic stem cells, an embryo -- which many, including myself, consider nascent human life -- must be destroyed. But I also strongly believe -- as do countless other scientists, clinicians, and doctors -- that embryonic stem cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells cannot provide.

                      I’ll come back to that later. Right now, though, let me say this: I believe today -- as I believed and stated in 2001, prior to the establishment of current policy -- that the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research. And as I said four years ago, we should federally fund research only on embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts leftover from fertility therapy, which will not be implanted or adopted but instead are otherwise destined by the parents with absolute certainty to be discarded and destroyed.

                      Let me read to you my 5th principle as I presented it on this floor four years ago:

                      No. 5. Provide funding for embryonic stem cell research only from blastocysts that would otherwise be discarded. We need to allow Federal funding for research using only those embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts that are left over after in vitro fertilization and would otherwise be discarded (Cong. Rec. 18 July 2001: S7847).

                      I made it clear at the time, and do so again today, that such funding should only be provided within a system of comprehensive ethical oversight. Federally funded embryonic research should be allowed only with transparent and fully informed consent of the parents. And that consent should be granted under a careful and thorough federal regulatory system, which considers both science and ethics. Such a comprehensive ethical system, I believe, is absolutely essential. Only with strict safeguards, public accountability, and complete transparency will we ensure that this new, evolving research unfolds within accepted ethical bounds.

                      My comprehensive set of 10 principles, as outlined in 2001 (Cong. Rec. 18 July 2001: S7846-S7851) are as follows:

                      1. Ban Embryo Creation for Research;
                      2. Continue Funding Ban on Derivation;
                      3. Ban Human Cloning;
                      4. Increase Adult Stem Cell Research Funding;
                      5. Provide Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research Only From Blastocysts That Would Otherwise Be Discarded;
                      6. Require a Rigorous Informed Consent Process;
                      7. Limit Number of Stem Cell Lines;
                      8. Establish A Strong Public Research Oversight System;
                      9. Require Ongoing, Independent Scientific and Ethical Review;
                      10. Strengthen and Harmonize Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions.

                      That is what I said four years ago, and that is what I believe today. After all, principles are meant to stand the test of time -- even when applied to a field changing as rapidly as stem cell research.

                      *

                      I’m a physician. My profession is healing. I’ve devoted my life to attending to the needs of the sick and suffering and to promoting health and well being. For the past several years, I’ve temporarily set aside the profession of medicine to participate in public policy with a continued commitment to heal.

                      In all forms of stem cell research, I see today, just as I saw in 2001, great promise to heal. Whether it’s diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or spinal cord injuries, stem cells offer hope for treatment that other lines of research cannot offer.

                      Embryonic stem cells have specific properties that make them uniquely powerful and deserving of special attention in the realm of medical science. These special properties explain why scientists and physicians feel so strongly about support of embryonic as well as adult stem cell research.

                      Unlike other stem cells, embryonic stem cells are “pluripotent.” That means they have the capacity to become any type of tissue in the human body. Moreover, they are capable of renewing themselves and replicating themselves over and over again -- indefinitely.

                      Adult stem cells meet certain medical needs. But embryonic stem cells -- because of these unique characteristics -- meet other medical needs that simply cannot be met today by adult stem cells. They especially offer hope for treating a range of diseases that require tissue to regenerate or restore function.

                      *

                      On August 9, 2001, shortly after I outlined my principles (Cong. Rec. 18 July 2001: S7846-S7851), President Bush announced his policy on embryonic stem cell research. His policy was fully consistent with my ten principles, so I strongly supported it. It federally funded embryonic stem cell research for the first time. It did so within an ethical framework. And it showed respect for human life.

                      But this policy restricted embryonic stem cell funding only to those cell lines that had been derived from embryos before the date of his announcement. In my policy I, too, proposed restricting number of cell lines, but I did not propose a specific cutoff date. Over time, with a limited number of cell lines, would we be able to realize the full promise of embryonic stem cell research?

                      When the President announced his policy, it was widely believed that 78 embryonic stem cell lines would be available for federal funding. That has proven not to be the case. Today only 22 lines are eligible. Moreover, those lines unexpectedly after several generations are starting to become less stable and less replicative than initially thought (they are acquiring and losing chromosomes, losing the normal karyotype, and potentially losing growth control). They also were grown on mouse feeder cells, which we have learned since, will likely limit their future potential for clinical therapy in humans (e.g., potential of viral contamination).

                      While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases. Therefore, I believe the President’s policy should be modified. We should expand federal funding (and thus NIH oversight) and current guidelines governing stem cell research, carefully and thoughtfully staying within ethical bounds.

                      *

                      During the past several weeks, I’ve made considerable effort to bring the debate on stem cell research to the Senate floor, in a way that provided colleagues with an opportunity to express their views on this issue and vote on proposals that reflected those views. While we have not yet reached consensus on how to proceed, the Senate will likely consider the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which passed the House in May by a vote of 238 to 194, at some point this Congress. This bill would allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research for cells derived from human embryos that:

                      1. are created for the purpose of fertility treatments;
                      2. are no longer needed by those who received the treatments;
                      3. would otherwise be discarded and destroyed;
                      4. are donated for research with the written, informed consent of those who received the fertility treatments, but do not receive financial or other incentives for their donations.

                      The bill, as written, has significant shortcomings, which I believe must be addressed.

                      First, it lacks a strong ethical and scientific oversight mechanism. One example we should look to is the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) that oversees DNA research. The RAC was established 25 years ago in response to public concerns about the safety of manipulation of genetic material through recombinant DNA techniques. Compliance with the guidelines (developed and reviewed by this oversight board of scientists, ethicists, and public representatives) is mandatory for investigators receiving NIH funds for research involving recombinant DNA.

                      Because most embryonic stem cell research today is being performed by the private sector (without NIH federal funding), there is today a lack of ethical and scientific oversight that routinely accompanies NIH-(federal) funded research.

                      Second, the bill doesn’t prohibit financial or other incentives between scientists and fertility clinics. Could such incentives, in the end, influence the decisions of parents seeking fertility treatments? This bill could seriously undermine the sanctity of the informed consent process.

                      Third, the bill doesn’t specify whether the patients or clinic staff or anyone else has the final say about whether an embryo will be implanted or will be discarded. Obviously, any decision about the destiny of an embryo must clearly and ultimately rest with the parents.

                      These shortcomings merit a thoughtful and thorough rewrite of the bill. But as insufficient as the bill is, it is fundamentally consistent with the principles I laid out more than four years ago. Thus, with appropriate reservations, I will support the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

                      *

                      I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. It is at this moment that the organism is complete -- yes, immature -- but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It’s genetically distinct. And it’s biologically human. It’s living. This position is consistent with my faith. But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It’s a fact of science.

                      Our development is a continuous process -- gradual and chronological. We were all once embryos. The embryo is human life at its earliest stage of development. And accordingly, the human embryo has moral significance and moral worth. It deserves to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

                      I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported. But, just as I said in 2001, it should advance in a manner that affords all human life dignity and respect -- the same dignity and respect we bring to the table as we work with children and adults to advance the frontiers of medicine and health.

                      *

                      Congress must have the ability to fully exercise its oversight authority on an ongoing basis. And policymakers, I believe, have a responsibility to re-examine stem cell research policy in the future and, if necessary, make adjustments.

                      This is essential, in no small part, because of promising research not even imagined four years ago. Exciting techniques are now emerging that may make it unnecessary to destroy embryos (even those that will be discarded anyway) to obtain cells with the same unique “pluripotential” properties as embryonic stem cells.

                      For example, an adult stem cell could be “reprogrammed” back to an earlier embryonic stage. This, in particular, may prove to be the best way, both scientifically and ethically, to overcome rejection and other barriers to effective stem cell therapies. To me -- and I would hope to every member of this body -- that’s research worth supporting. Shouldn’t we want to discover therapies and cures -- given a choice -- through the most ethical and moral means?

                      So let me make it crystal clear: I strongly support newer, alternative means of deriving, creating, and isolating pluripotent stem cells -- whether they’re true embryonic stem cells or stem cells that have all of the unique properties of embryonic stem cells.

                      With more federal support and emphasis, these newer methods, though still preliminary today, may offer huge scientific and clinical pay-offs. And just as important, they may bridge moral and ethical differences among people who now hold very different views on stem cell research because they totally avoid destruction of any human embryos.

                      These alternative methods of potentially deriving pluripotent cells include:

                      1. Extraction from embryos that are no longer living;
                      2. Non-lethal and non-harmful extraction from embryos;
                      3. Extraction from artificially created organisms that are not embryos, but embryo-like;
                      4. Reprogramming adult cells to a pluripotent state through fusion with embryonic cell lines.

                      *

                      Now, to date, adult stem cell research is the only type of stem cell research that has resulted in proven treatments for human patients. For example, the multi-organ and multi-tissue transplant center that I founded and directed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center performed scores of life-saving bone marrow transplants every year to treat fatal cancers with adult stem cells.

                      And stem cells taken from cord blood have shown great promise in treating leukemia, myeloproliferative disorders and congenital immune system disorders. Recently, cord blood cells have shown some ability to become neural cells, which could lead to treatments for Parkinson’s disease and heart disease.

                      Thus, we should also strongly support increased funding for adult stem cell research. I’m a cosponsor of a bill that will make it much easier for patients to receive cord blood cell treatments.

                      *

                      Adult stem cells are powerful. They’ve effectively treated many diseases and are theoretically promising for others. But embryonic stem cells -- because they can become almost any human tissue (“pluripotent”) and renew and replicate themselves infinitely -- are uniquely necessary for potentially treating other diseases.

                      No doubt, the ethical questions over embryonic stem cell research are profound. They’re challenging. They merit serious debate. And not just on the Senate floor, but across America -- at our dining room tables, in our community centers, on our town squares.

                      We simply cannot flinch from the need to talk with each other, again and again, as biomedical progress unfolds and breakthroughs are made in the coming years and generations. The promise of the Biomedical Age is too profound for us to fail.

                      *

                      That’s why I believe it’s only fair, on an issue of such magnitude, that senators be given the respect and courtesy of having their ideas in this arena considered separately and cleanly, instead of in a whirl of amendments and complicated parliamentary maneuvers. I’ve been working to bring this about for the last few months. I’ll continue to do so.

                      And when we are able to bring this to the floor, we will certainly have a serious and thoughtful debate in the Senate. There are many conflicting points of view. And I recognize these differing views more than ever in my service as majority leader: I’ve had so many individual and private conversations with my colleagues that reflect the diversity and complexity of thought on this issue.

                      So how do we reconcile these differing views? As individuals, each of us holds views shaped by factors of intellect, of emotion, of spirit. If your daughter has diabetes, if your father has Parkinson’s, if your sister has a spinal cord injury, your views will be swayed more powerfully than you can imagine by the hope that cure will be found in those magnificent cells, recently discovered, that today originate only in an embryo.

                      As a physician, one should give hope -- but never false hope. Policy makers, similarly, should not overpromise and give false hope to those suffering from disease. And we must be careful to always stay within clear and comprehensive ethical and moral guidelines -- the soul of our civilization and the conscience of our nation demand it.

                      Cure today may be just a theory, a hope, a dream. But the promise is powerful enough that I believe this research deserves our increased energy and focus. Embryonic stem cell research must be supported. It’s time for a modified policy -- the right policy for this moment in time.


                      http://frist.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fu...&Speech_id=257
                      Last edited by Faye; 29 Jul 2005, 12:01 PM.

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                        #12
                        Frist

                        Frist's office was where Jim and I went at the Rally! He is on cloud nine today! I read here about the limitations and political manuevering involved, but the feeling that you could have made a difference, no matter how small, is great. Frist's main aide on health is who we spoke with. I'm hoping it will help our cause, especially coming from a doctor, whom people seem to believe in medical issues.

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                          #13
                          I'm wondering why it took so long for this braniac to realise that lots of ebryous discarded/destroyed anyway?


                          But its very positive news for research & cure!

                          Hope he will have balls to fight Bush & his fellow "pro lifers" on this issue
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                            #14
                            lilsister and Jim, I have no doubt your visit and your personal story impacted his view. thanks so much
                            http://justadollarplease.org/

                            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."

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                              #15
                              I was waiting for that announcement that CareCure is responsible for changing Frists's mind. BTW, I thought carecure members were ordered to stay off the topic of stem cells , must have been by immaculate conception
                              Last edited by bigbob; 29 Jul 2005, 3:58 PM.

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