Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2002) - Christopher Reeve, the actor, director and patients’ rights advocate, will participate in a panel discussion on stem cells and human cloning issues on February 20 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, as part of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s CEO & Investor Conference 2002.
The panel, titled “Cloning and Stem Cells: Public Policy and the Promise of Regenerative Medicine,” will address the therapeutic potential of these techniques, the public policy issues surrounding the field, and how legislation pending in Congress would affect the companies developing stem cell technologies.
Also appearing on the panel will be former U.S. Senator Connie Mack (R-Fla.); Carl B. Feldbaum, president of BIO; Thomas B. Okarma, CEO of Geron Corp.; Ron Cohen, MD, CEO of Acorda Therapeutics; Jonathan L. Kravetz, chair of the securities practice group and member of the biotechnology group at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; and Michael J. Werner, vice president of bioethics at BIO.
The U.S. Senate is currently debating legislation that would prohibit human reproductive cloning but would allow the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to create highly adaptive stem cells - a process often called therapeutic cloning. That position was endorsed last month by a National Academy of Sciences report. The Senate is also considering a complete cloning ban similar to one passed last summer by the House of Representatives. President Bush has expressed support for such a ban, which would criminalize both reproductive and therapeutic applications of cloning.
Reeve, who was paralyzed in a 1995 equestrian accident, chairs the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports research to develop a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. Reeve has also been active in the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, which supports the use of regenerative medicine to cure disease and alleviate suffering, including stem cell research and therapeutic cloning.
For more information on the CEO & Investor Conference 2002, please visit www.investinbio.com. Press registration is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. Advance press registration closes on Feb. 14. Press releases, conference updates and registration information are posted in the “Media” section of the conference Web site. Contact Carrie Housman at BIO (202-962-9200) with any questions.
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, please visit our Web site, www.bio.org.