News Releases

Senator Murray Urges Support for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Jul 18 2001

Calls on Bush Administration to stand up for patients, provide federal investment

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today called on the Bush Administration to stand up for patients and medical researchers by providing federal support for embryonic stem cell research. For patients living with diseases such as Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and Diabetes, stem cell research holds promising potential in providing the tools by which to understand, treat, and someday cure, these devastating illnesses.

"Stem cell research is about improving medicine, and in many cases, saving lives," said Senator Murray. "We can not shortchange patients and their families by eliminating one of the most promising fields in medical research. I urge this Administration to do the right thing, to remove politics from this debate, and to back federal support for stem cell research."

Senator Murray is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Act of 2001 (S. 723), which would amend the Public Health Service Act to give permanent authority to conduct, support, and fund research on human stem cells. The bill would ensure that embryonic stem cells obtained under the Stem Cell Research Act would only be derived from embryos donated from in-vitro fertilization clinics.

The legislation also mandates the bioethical guidelines, including informed consent and bans on using fetal tissue for profit, set forward by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be implemented.

While most cells fulfill a single function in an organ like the skin or heart, stem cells are not so specialized. Since they retain the ability to become many or all of the different cell types in the body, they play a critical role in repairing organs and body tissue. Research has proven that embryonic cells have a greater ability to become different types of body cells than do adult stem cells.

Stem cell research provides the opportunity to study the growth and differentiation of individual cells. Understanding these processes could provide insights into the causes of birth defects, genetic abnormalities, and other diseases.

"Stem cell research offers real hope for patients in Washington state and across the country. We can not delay this hope by continuing to delay federal support for embryonic stem cell research."