The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Is Working

     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

TIME Magazine: "The 'presidential lines' were of limited value; there were not nearly as many as scientists initially thought would be available - more like 21 than 62, and they were old, in some cases damaged and most likely contaminated with the mouse feeder cells and calf serum used to grow them." (Nancy Gibbs, Alice Park, Mike Allen, and Massimo Calabresi, "What A Bush Veto Would Mean For Stem Cells," TIME, 7/24/06)

The Washington Post: "When Mr. Bush announced that he would permit the use of existing stem cell lines almost five years ago, that compromise made sense. But instead of the 78 lines originally foreseen by the administration, only 22 are available, and some of those are deteriorating or contaminated." (Editorial, "Stem Cell Showdown," The Washington Post, 7/17/06)

President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Is Significantly Advancing Research In An Ethical Way

President Bush Is The First President To Ever Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Over $90 million in Federal funding has been devoted to research on approved lines since 2001.

President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Has Made Federally Funded Stem Cell Lines Widely Available To Scientists. The NIH has sent more than 700 shipments of cells to researchers, and has thousands more available upon request.

85 Percent Of All The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Science Done In The World Has Been Done With The Lines Now Approved For Funding By The NIH. (Jason Owen-Smith and Jennifer McCormick, "An International Gap In Human ES Cell Research," Nature Biotechnology, April 2006)

The Eligible Lines Are Not Contaminated, And Are Very Widely Used By Researchers. The use of mouse cells is standard scientific practice. As the FDA has indicated, the resulting stem cell lines can be carefully screened to ensure they are safe for use in any future clinical trials. Drug and biological products are routinely co-cultured with animal cells with no adverse consequences for the millions of people who have benefited from them. The FDA has proven itself time and again to be fully capable of ensuring the safety and efficacy of such products.

Several Scientific Publications Have Now Demonstrated Techniques For Removing All Animal Materials From The Existing Cell Cultures. This helps further alleviate concerns about animal material issues. (James Thomson et al., "Derivation Of Human Embryonic Stem Cells In Defined Conditions," Nature Biotechnology, February 2006)

Even TIME Magazine Says The "Science Has Outrun The Politics" And Adult Stem Cells May Be More Valuable Than Previously Thought. "The good news for all sides is that over the course of this long argument, researchers have learned more about how stem cells work, and the science has outrun the politics. Adult cells, such as those found in bone marrow, were thought to be less valuable than embryonic cells, which are 'pluripotent' master cells that can turn into anything from a brain cell to a toenail. But adult cells may be more elastic than scientists thought, and could offer shortcuts to treatment that embryonic cells can't match." (Nancy Gibbs, Alice Park, Mike Allen, and Massimo Calabresi, "What A Bush Veto Would Mean For Stem Cells," TIME, 7/24/06)

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