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Nobel laureates push for stem cell funding

February 22, 2001 8:00 AM UTC

A group of eminent scientists, including 80 Nobel laureates, signed a letter that was sent to President Bush on Thursday supporting federal funding for pluripotent stem cell research. The letter, which was drafted by scientists at Advanced Cell Technology, cites the potential for stem cells to treat a wide range of diseases and states that "the current National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines, which enable scientists to conduct stem cell research within the rigorous constraints of federal oversight and standards, should be permitted to remain in effect." It also refutes the contention that stem cells derived from adult tissues have the same research and therapeutic potential as embryonic stem cells. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is conducting a review of the Clinton administration's decision to allow NIH to fund some research involving embryonic stem cells. "The main reason the letter was written is because many of us are concerned that the Bush administration could block stem cell research," said Robert Lanza, vice president of medical and scientific development at ACT. The letter represents the "largest collection of Nobel laureates to ever send a letter a President. It would be hard for Bush to ignore," Lanza said. ...