University Presidents Urge Federal Funding of Stem Cell Research

March 27, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Privately financed scientists have culled stem cells from embryos donated by parents, a process that destroys the embryo, and multiplied those cells in laboratories. Now the NIH plans to pay for embryonic stem cell research using only those lab-grown cell lines, as NIH scientists can't touch additional embryos.

An NIH committee will meet in late April to begin evaluating three applications by researchers seeking the first Federal funds to work with embryonic stem cells. The earliest that any money could be allocated is October 30th.

The university presidents wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who is evaluating the NIH plans for Bush. As governor of Wisconsin, Secretary Thompson congratulated state scientists for their research on stem cells.

The signatories to the letter were joined by the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

Last week, 95 members of Congress, mostly Democrats, urged Bush and Thompson to keep the current guidelines for embryonic stem cell research in place. The group was led by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA).


On the Web:

(1) ACE Letter: and click on link to letter;

(2) Rep. McDermott's site:;

(3) NIH: