Stem-Cell Stance Alarms Scientists
January 31, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- "It would be tragic for many patients who now are looking to this area of work to supply some type of therapy so their lives can be vastly improved," Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University, a co-discoverer of some of the cells, told reporters Yesterday. "If the funding is pulled back, I think it would be devastating for the patients."
The National Institutes of Health is prepared to award this Spring the first Federal Grants for studies with just those lab-grown stem cells. Universities awaiting that money say blocking it could force researchers to work abroad or to find private sources of financing, which would remove government oversight.
"Some of the most promising areas of research may suddenly become out of bounds," said Terry Hartle, a lobbyist for the American Council on Education, a coalition of universities. "Given the huge Federal investment in biomedical research, it would be a terrible mistake to restrict what could be done with proper scientific controls."
In a related development, Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University announced yesterday that it had received a $58.5 million anonymous donation for a new institute to study stem cells but said "Federal funding remains crucial for scientists nationwide."
On the Web:
1. American Council on Education: www.acenet.edu;
2. National Institutes of Health: www.NIH.gov .