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University of Minnesota's Internationally Recognized Stem Cell Experts Available for Interviews on What Lifting the Federal Funding Restrictions Will Mean to Stem Cell Research and to Patients Who Stand to Benefit
Date:1/29/2009

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to support removing federal funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cells (hESC) research and is looking to Congress to introduce legislation to act on the issue. On Aug. 9, 2001, the Bush administration cut off federal research support for hESC except for those hESC lines derived before that date.

Jonathan Slack, director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (the nation's first established stem cell institute)

Slack can speak about how eliminating the restrictions will impact stem cell research. "A lift on the stem cell restrictions will be great for science." Slack says the change will prompt more researchers to get into the study of embryonic stem cells, more researchers will be able to study the stem cells and that means that possible treatments will get to patients more quickly. Embryonic stem cells can be studied with federal funding now, if they were developed before the August 2001 date set by the Bush administration. Stem cells developed after that date can only be studied using private funding which raises an issue, he says. Companies doing such research "don't have to tell people what they are doing - they don't have to. They don't have to meet the standards of transparency and disclosure that federally-funded workers have to meet." Slack can also speak about the importance of embryonic stem cells and about adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Dan Kaufman, associate professor of medicine and associate director of the institute

"When Bush made that policy, it was estimated that 60 to 70 lines were eligible," Kauman says. But, the number of lines actually available and usable hovers closer to 12-15; meanwhile, the number of hESC lines available worldwide has grown to about 1,000, he says. Until now, Kaufman says, "people us
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SOURCE University of Minnesota
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