AAAS study calls for federal funding for stem cell research but sees no need for new oversight mechanisms

Says funding should be withheld for the isolation of stem cells

Washington, DC (August 18, 1999)-- A preliminary study released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute for Civil Society (ICS) supports federal funding for research involving existing human stem cells, but says the derivation of human stem cells should not at present receive federal funding because of public anxiety surrounding it. The study also says no new mechanism is needed to regulate stem cell research because adequate systems and policies are already in place for governing such research.

The study states that federal funding should be used for research on human stem cells-- including embryonic stem cells that have already been isolated in laboratories-- but that there is enough public concern about the process of deriving stem cells that it should not receive federal funding.

According to Mark Frankel, director of AAAS's Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program , "The problem arises regarding the source of stem cells" such as aborted fetuses or embryos frozen for fertility purposes, which are viewed by some as potential human life." Nevertheless, there is already sufficient material gathered by researchers not using federal funding that this exclusion will not have a negative impact on research, the study says.

The study was conducted over the last several months with the advice of a working group, composed of scientists, lawyers, ethicists and representatives from several religious faiths. From this effort, a number of draft recommendations were developed for conducting stem cell research, covering such issues as public education, p

Contact: Lynn Fleetwood
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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