Bioethics Council Split Illustrates Support for Research

WASHINGTON, DC - July 11, 2002 - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today reaffirmed industry support for therapeutic cloning, opposing the call for a moratorium of at least four years on all cloning issued by the President’s Council on Bioethics in a split 10-7 vote:

“The surprising support of seven members of the President’s own Bioethics Council to allow therapeutic cloning to go forward is welcome news to patients who have diseases for which they have little hope for cures or even therapies,” said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. “The recognition of these members of the potential medical benefits from therapeutic research further underscores why even a moratorium will hurt medical research.

“One of the nation’s most respected organizations, the National Academy of Sciences, concluded this past February that reproductive cloning should be banned, but therapeutic cloning research should be allowed to continue,” Feldbaum added. “The recommendations made today by a slim majority of the President’s Bioethics Council could be devastating to those patients who would be forced to wait longer for cures and treatments if a moratorium were adopted. We will urge Congress not to follow suit in compromising science and medical research,” said Feldbaum.

“A moratorium on all cloning research is equivalent to a ban, which will stifle important medical research. An indiscriminate ban on this research ignores the importance of therapeutic cloning to the search for breakthrough treatments for diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury and various cancers,” Feldbaum concluded.

BIO continues to support legislation that would ban reproductive cloning - cloning to create a new human being. However, therapeutic cloning - cloning specific human cells using a method that clearly does not lead to a new human being - has shown enormous scientific potential for medical research.

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.

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