Thursday, March 24, 2005

NY Reps Israel and Crowley plan stem-call challenge -- good! This is about LIFE, not death.

Long Island Business News:

Reps. Israel, Crowley plan stem-cell challenge
Mar. 24 2005 -- 4:02:07 PM EST


FARMINGDALE - In a bid to bolster stem-cell research in New York State and elsewhere, two congressmen held a roundtable discussion with academics and biotech executives to unveil a draft resolution that urges Washington not to interfere with state and private initiatives.

Reps. Steve Israel, D-Hauppauge, and Joseph Crowley, D-Queens, solicited ideas on how to coordinate state and private research initiatives nationwide.

Scientists say stem cells eventually could yield therapies for spinal injuries, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and other ailments.

Among those addressing the meeting at Farmingdale State University of New York was Brooke Ellison, a wheelchair-bound doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University. Ellison was paralyzed from the neck down in 1990 at age 11 after she was hit by a car as she crossed Nichols Road.
Despite the injury, she earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Harvard University. Her struggles were chronicled in a book, "Miracles Happen," which was made into a TV movie by the late actor Christopher Reeve.

She denounced limits on federal funding and lines of research imposed by President Bush in 2001.

The draft version of the "sense of Congress" resolution calls on the federal government "not to infringe upon state or private programs that fund embryonic stem-cell research." Participants said federal limitations had a chilling effect on the willingness of venture capitalists to fund research and young scientists to pursue careers in the field.

"We're just trying to move the ball down the field another couple of yards," Israel said.
At the meeting, Dr. Ira Cohen, a professor in Stony Brook University's department of physiology and biophysics, noted that the university has won a grant involving the study of adult stem cells.
The harvesting of embryonic stem cells from aborted fetuses has stirred controversy.

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