Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement today concerning the passage of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act:

“I was pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives took the initiative and passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. This is a step in the right direction that will allow the United States to maintain its scientific and technical edge. Increasing the number of stem cell lines available to scientists is vital to realize the full potential of embryonic stem cell research. It is important that people realize that the bill that was passed today implements strong ethical guidelines to ensure federal oversight of the research. These guidelines include using embryos that were created for fertility treatment purposes only and are in excess of clinical needs.  Another requirement is that the individuals choosing to donate excess embryos must provide written consent and cannot receive any financial compensation.”

The 22 stem cell lines currently in existence are aged, contaminated with mouse cells and were developed with outdated techniques. With passage of this bill, the United States will be able to do advanced medical research that could lead to cures for numerous diseases and afflictions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, which affect millions throughout the world.

I will be hosting a Life Sciences Forum at the Renton City Hall on Wednesday, June 1st from 1:00-4:30 p.m. that will be focusing on the role that local, state and federal governments can play in encouraging research and development in the life sciences arena. Embryonic stem cell research is fundamental in ensuring that the United States remains the home of the latest advances in medicine and science.”