"The division among Republicans [over the issue of stem cell research] could have political fallout. Polls show most Americans support the research and Democrats are hoping a voter backlash against Republicans who oppose it will win them enough votes to seize control of Congress at the November mid-term election."
[Reuters | July 19, 2006]
"Despite the impression left by some of its supporters, stem-cell research is not banned. In fact, not only is it legal, it is thriving in the private sector. There are at least 11 private stem-cell research centers at universities and medical centers across the country. In May, Ray Dolby, creator of Dolby Stereo systems, donated $16 million to the University of California at San Francisco to establish a new stem-cell research center. And, just last month, Harvard University announced a privately funded, multimillion-dollar program to create cloned human embryos as sources of medically promising stem cells. Harvard is already home to the nation's largest private research effort, employing more than 100 researchers and housing 17 new stem-cell lines. Harvard now processes as many research requests for its stem-cell lines as does the National Institutes of Health.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are contributing to the research as well. More than 60 U.S. and international companies are pursuing some form of research or therapeutic product development involving stem cells. These include corporate giants such as Johnson & Johnson, General Electric and Novartis. One company alone, Geron Corp., has spent more than twice as much as the federal government on stem-cell research. New companies are entering the field as well. At a meeting this year in San Francisco, it was estimated that as many as 50 U.S. venture-capital firms are prepared to invest in stem-cell research companies. This comes on the heels of $102 million in venture-capital funding for the stem-cell industry in 2005. All this corporate research should not be surprising, given that some estimates suggest that there will be a $10 billion market for stem-cell technologies by 2010."
[San Francisco Chronicle | July 19, 2006]
"The Bush administration's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research are driving scientists to seek out cells from privately funded programs.
Embryonic stem cells created at Harvard University are being used three times more often than those from the National Stem Cell Bank, the largest source of cells that can be studied using U.S. research grants.
Since 2003, 667 stem cell batches were sent to other labs from Harvard, the biggest private supplier in the U.S. That compares with 246 sent by the cell bank, the main distributor of cells approved by President George W. Bush. The U.S. is providing $38 million in 2006 for research that can only be used to study older cells like those stored at the bank.
The numbers, released by Harvard and the cell bank, suggest scientists seeking new therapies against hard-to-treat medical disorders such as Parkinson's disease believe cell lines approved by Bush in 2001 aren't as useful as those created with private research grants The trend may become critical when the Senate votes early next week on a bill to overturn the Bush ban."
[Bloomberg News | July 13, 2006]
'White House spokesman Ken Lisaius on Tuesday could not provide the name of a stem cell researcher who shares Rove’s views on the superior promise of adult stem cells.'
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