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The Truth About Stem Cell Science
Date:10/27/2008

ommittees to ensure that their research passes muster with the FDA.

Together, these mechanisms mean regulation of embryonic stem cell research, both at universities and at private companies, is extensive and comprehensive. Note as well that additional laws bearing restrictions on stem cell research are pending before Congress.

4. Current embryonic stem cell lines do not mirror the diversity in our society.

Currently, only certain embryonic stem cell lines, which were created on or before August 9, 2001, can be used for federally funded research. These embryonic stem cell lines do not reflect the diversity in American society. In fact, a surprisingly high fraction of the embryonic stem cell lines approved for use with federal funding arose from embryos obtained from a fertility clinic in Haifa, Israel.

This is key because one of the fundamental principles of clinical trials is that we test new medicines in a diverse patient population that mirrors the diversity in our society. For example, if we test new medicines only on people of a certain ethnic or racial makeup, there would be a risk that the medicines developed would not be as effective in other racial groups. This is because efficacy and side effects sometimes vary between racial or ethnic groups.

Another reason why diversity in clinical research is key is that some inherited diseases are more prevalent in some populations. Examples of such genetic illnesses include Tay-Sachs among Ashkenazi Jews and sickle cell anemia, which is found more often among people of African descent.

It is critical to enroll a diverse patient population so we have an opportunity to detect drugs that work for all ethnic groups. If embryonic stem cell research changes the future of medicine, we may be at risk of leaving certain groups out of that future by not studying embryonic stem cells from all ethnic backgrounds.

5. It is not true that stem cell research is unregulated or that uneth
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System and News andInformation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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