US cancer group AACR supports NIH stem cell research

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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s oldest and largest cancer research organization, reiterates its support for the responsible conduct of human embryonic stem cell research that, up until this week, was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and expresses concern that the recent Federal District Court injunction to block federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research is a setback for scientific discovery.

“As stated in our 2005 policy statement on stem cell research, we believe that reasonable, ethical stem cell exploration is a crucial component of scientific discovery,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR.

“Human embryonic stem cell research may lead to new biological insights that offer avenues for the development of promising new therapies for cancer patients. This decision will slow the important research that has the potential to save lives from cancer and will significantly affect the ability of the United States to be a leader in this cutting-edge field of science.”

“We believe the NIH’s human embryonic stem cell research policies are sound, ethical, and responsible,” said Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel laureate and president of the AACR. “Stem cell research is part of a multifaceted approach to understand the biology of cancer and develop new ways to combat the 200 diseases collectively called ‘cancer.’ It is disconcerting that the scientists who were given the opportunity to pursue important research questions through the investigation of stem cells, not their creation, have now been stopped in their tracks.”

Human embryonic stem cell research is an exciting area of science, and the AACR is grateful to the NIH for its significant efforts to ensure that this promising research, like all NIH research, is conducted in a manner consistent with established ethical principles.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research, USA

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