WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 9, 2001) Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President Carl B. Feldbaum issued the following statement regarding President Bush’s position on federal funding for stem cell research:

We appreciate the difficult decision President Bush faced regarding federal funding of stem cell research, and we are pleased that the President determined the need for this research to continue. This was a good, clear, balanced outcome.

“As the President pointed out, advances in stem cell research could impact
the lives of millions of desperately ill Americans who suffer from conditions for which there are no treatments, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, various cancers, diabetes and spinal cord injuries. The President’s decision is a major step forward for patients and the biotechnology industry.

“Among all the conditions that President Bush placed on this research with which we wholeheartedly agree, we have one reservation, which we believe will be worked out in time.

“Placing a limit on the number of cell lines available for this research may place roadblocks to medical progress, some of which may take years to overcome. This is a relatively new area of medical research and to pre-emptively limit the pathways in which researchers are able to work so early in this process may well be detrimental, may cost years, even lives.

“It may take five to ten years for researchers to develop the full potential of stem cell research. In the meantime, we must not allow the discussion of ethical issues or this valuable research to come to a halt.

Again, we are very pleased with President Bush’s concern for both the need for this critical research to continue, and for the ethical questions involved to be continuously and thoughtfully considered.”

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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