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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Language of H.R. 810

Had President Bush not vetoed it, H.R. 810 would have released hundreds of new lines of in-vitro stem cells to be used for research regardless of the date they were cultured. This would have given researchers an unlimited number of lines to use rather than having to work with the lines fertilized prior to August 9, 2001.

What is so significant about a date? If the U.S. is willing to fund research on a limited number of IVF-created blastocysts, then why not fund research on all of them? The technology used for harvesting blastocyst stem cells has improved greatly since 2001. As you may know, many of the “Bush-approved” lines have been contaminated with mouse feeder cells and cannot be used for research on humans.

While the stem cell research bill that President Bush vetoed in 2006 was not a “be all, do all, end all” solution to the funding situation, it had great potential to at least get the ball rolling. Here is the actual language of H.R. 810 also known as Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. [1]

One Hundred Ninth Congress of the United States of America AT THE SECOND SESSION held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the third day of January, two thousand and six An Act To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled

This Act may be cited as the “Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005”.

Part H of title IV of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC. 289 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 498C the following:

(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (including any regulation or guidance), the Secretary shall conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells in accordance with this section (regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo).
(b) Ethical Requirements- Human embryonic stem cells shall be eligible for use in any research conducted or supported by the Secretary if the cells meet each of the following:
(1) The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment.
(2) Prior to the consideration of embryo donation and through consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.
(3) The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation.
(c) Guidelines- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary, in consultation with the Director of NIH, shall issue final guidelines to carry out this section.
(d) Reporting Requirements- The Secretary shall annually prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of the Congress a report describing the activities carried out under this section during the preceding fiscal year, and including a description of whether and to what extent research under subsection (a) has been conducted in accordance with this section.[

1]“Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate) H.R.810.” The Library of Congress.

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