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AACR Favors 'full spectrum of stem cell research biology'

Stem cell research ?including research involving human embryonic stem cells ?is essential to the advancement of cancer research, according to a position statement adopted by the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"As the community of scientists on the front lines of the battle against cancer, we are firm in our belief that continued experimentation with human stem cells is necessary to improve evaluation of anti-cancer drugs, to identify markers for early detection of cancer, and to illuminate the path to novel, targeted treatments," said Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D., AACR past president and Ingram Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

"Our belief is based on the results of peer-reviewed research, the strength of professional integrity and long-standing ethical principles, and profound respect for human life," added Matrisian, who also is professor and chair of the department of cancer biology at Vanderbilt.

The association's statement is equally vehement in its rejection of any technology, including stem cell technology, used in human reproductive cloning, noting that, "such attempts have no beneficial goal and can be reasonably assumed to cause harm." At the same time, the AACR position supports the "ethical use of somatic cell nuclear transfer," noting that the technique, "promises to reveal the role of specific genetic alterations in tumorigenesis and further refine evaluations of drug activity, as well as generate immune-compatible material for transplant therapies."

The primary points of the AACR position on stem cell biology are:

# Human stem cell research will elucidate critical aspects of cell growth and differentiation that are altered during the formation and growth of tumors.

# Research on tissue-specific stem cells from adults may reveal the body's innate maintenance and repair mechanisms.

# Embryonic stem cells have the
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Source:American Association for Cancer Research


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