BIO Commends Senate for Passage of Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 18, 2006) -- Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement on H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which was passed in the U.S. Senate today by a vote of 63-37.  The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 810 by a vote of 238-194 on May 24, 2005.

“I commend the Senate for the passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and thank Majority Leader Bill Frist as well as the original cosponsors of the Senate companion to H.R. 810, Senators Arlen Specter, Tom Harkin, Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein, Gordon Smith and Ted Kennedy, for their leadership and support of this critical legislation.

“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 the research and explore all avenues of therapeutic possibilities to their fullest.  This bill allows important research to advance and creates an ethical framework that will ensure it is done appropriately.

“The bipartisan passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act by both the House and Senate reflects the strong support of the vast majority of Americans for this very promising research.”

H.R. 810 would expand the limited number of stem cell lines currently available for federally-funded research by allowing individuals to donate excess embryos from in-vitro fertilization clinics which would otherwise be discarded as medical waste.  Individuals who choose to donate these excess embryos would have to give written consent and would not receive any monetary compensation for the donation.

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