Saturday, May 23, 2009

Texas Senate Initially Approves Bill to Create Adult Stem Cell Research Consortium

The Texas state Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill that would create the Adult Stem Cell Research Consortium, which would encourage collaboration between researchers at Texas universities and cord blood banks.

This body would oversee funding for adult stem cell research received from both public and private sectors.

If the measure becomes law, the bill would move Texas beyond the debate about whether it is appropriate or inappropriate to destroy human embryos into the realm of adult stem cell research and treatments without ethical concerns.

It is estimated that more than 1.2 million Texans are afflicted with chronic degenerative conditions and can benefit from this research that could lead to the discovery of successful treatments and potential cures.

Texas Senator Jane Nelson, a Republican from Lewisville and chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, is the main sponsor of SB 73.

Texas pro-life groups, including the Texas Alliance for Life (TAL), strongly support the legislation.

"This bill puts patients first," says Joe Pojman, executive director of the group.

"We commend Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, Senator Nelson, and the Texas Senate. They are moving the state beyond the ethical and practical problems of using embryonic stem cells into the promising world of adult stem cell treatments that have already saved thousands of lives," he told

"Because adult stem cells treatments are highly effective and do not harm the donor, we strongly support the state's continued investment in this promising medical technology. No treatments are available using embryonic stem cells," Pojman adds.

TAL says the bill will advance and commercialize adult stem cell research and treatments already being performed at more than 30 locations in Texas, helping to create high-paying jobs and attract top researchers to the state.

SB 73 now moves to the House for consideration. If passed, SB 73 will go to pro-life Gov. Rick Perry, who has already expressed strong support and is expected to sign it.

In March, Texas Medical Association physician leader James T.
Willerson, MD, who is President and Medical Director of Cardiology Research and Codirector of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at Texas Heart Institute in Houston, joined with other medical leaders in the state’s adult stem cell field to support the bill.

They testified before senators at the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting in Austin in support of Senate Bill 73.

Source: 20 May 2009

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