BIO Commends the House of Representatives for Passing Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 11, 2007) -- Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement on the bipartisan passage of H.R. 3, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 253-174.

“I commend Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), Representative DeGette (D-CO), Representative Castle (R-DE) and the members of both parties who voted for H.R. 3. More Members voted for this legislation than identical legislation last session, which demonstrates the progress we are making in educating Members and the people they represent about the great potential of embryonic stem cell research and the need to greatly enhance the ability of scientists to receive federal funding for this research.

“While embryonic stem cell research is still at an early stage, the nation’s top scientists agree that this technology has the greatest potential to provide new, groundbreaking therapies for diabetes, heart disease, spinal cord injuries and a host of other disabling and deadly conditions. We must do all we can to accelerate research and explore all avenues of therapeutic possibilities to their fullest. This bill allows important research to advance and creates an ethical framework to ensure that it is done appropriately.

“H.R. 3 would expand the limited number of stem cell lines currently available for federally-funded research by allowing funds to be used for research on cell lines created from excess embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics, regardless of when the cell lines were derived. These embryos are in excess of clinical need and would otherwise be discarded as medical waste. Individuals who choose to donate these embryos must give written consent and would not receive any monetary compensation for the donation.

“I encourage Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) to move quickly to pass S. 5, the Senate companion to this legislation.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.