News Releases

Murray Stresses Promise of Stem Cell Research at Senate Hearing

Sep 16 2010

Highlights Washington state jobs, hope for millions of patients and families across the country at hearing on moving forward with research opportunities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) attended a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on “The Promise of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research” to push the need to move forward with this critical research that will save lives, ease suffering, and make sure Washington state and the United States remain at the forefront of medical research and technology.

In her statement, Senator Murray told the story of a Seattle family that would benefit from stem cell research. Additional stories from families in communities across the state available upon request.

Below is Senator Murray’s full statement submitted for the record:

“Thank you, Senator Harkin, for holding this hearing. 

“Stem cell research is not just about science—it’s about hope.

“The hope of millions Americans who are suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.  The hope of their friends, families, and loved ones who can’t bear to see them in pain another day. And the hope of a scientific and medical community that is fighting against the clock to save lives and reduce suffering.

“Stem cell research offers this hope because it is one of the most promising fields in medical research today.  And we simply cannot afford to allow potential cures to be slowed down or halted by the political process.

“That’s why I was so glad when President Obama issued an executive order in March of last year to lift the restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research. 

“This action took the handcuffs off of our scientists and made sure we were exploring every option for finding cures to debilitating diseases.

“Because as so many of us know, limiting federal support of this research will continue to push embryonic stem cell research overseas.   And our country will continue to fall behind in a critical, growing, and cutting-edge field.

“Because of the arbitrary limits on stem cell research that were imposed in the past, we are already getting off to a slow start—and we can’t afford to fall any farther behind.

“Because in addition to helping patients—cutting-edge research also creates jobs and boosts the economy.

“My home state of Washington is home to world class research institutions like the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, just to name a few. 

“They want to help patients. They want to do this research to help cure debilitating diseases—but we need to make sure they have the resources they need to succeed.  And that great institutions in Washington state and across the country continue leading the way in science, research, and medical cures.

“Nothing sums this issue up better than a letter I got from a mom named Suzanne, from Seattle, whose 16 year old son has diabetes. 

“She wrote to me and said: ‘For our family, embryonic stem cell research offers the hope that by the time our son finishes graduate school, scientists will be developing new therapies or even a cure for his diabetes.  Every year that researchers are denied full access to the best cellular material, and the funds with which to study it, is a year wasted, and a year denied to my son to live outside the burden of his disease... Please keep hope alive for Charlie, and millions of kids like him.’

“Once again, this is about hope.

“I am going to keep fighting to make sure this hope stay alive for Suzanne and millions of others.  And I am going to keep working to make sure nothing stands in the way of our medical researchers and doctors developing cures and reducing suffering.

“Thank you, again, Senator Harkin, for holding this hearing, and I look forward to continuing to work with you on this issue.”