The world's science academies were urged yesterday (August 30) to reinforce their support for an international treaty on cloning that does not outlaw cell nuclear replacement for therapeutic purposes.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly is expected to revisit the vexed issue of a convention on human cloning this fall, with a vote tentatively scheduled for October 21-22. Ahead of that meeting, the InterAcademy Panel (IAP), an umbrella body for national science academies, recently called on its member groups to step up pressure on their national governments.
Therapeutic cloning, or SCNT, is a vital to developing the most promising regenerative medicine based on stem cell research. Threats to therapeutic cloning in the US - proposed anti-research federal legislation and existing state restrictions - have caused great damage to the availability of private funding over the past few years.
Attempts by the present US administration to obtain an international ban on therapeutic cloning are particularly galling:
Faced with this opposition at home, the anti-research US administration has been pushing for a global ban at the United Nations. We all dodged a bullet when the ban was defeated by 1 vote in November 2003, and further debate delayed until 2005. Unfortunately, the US administration quickly pushed to overturn this vote in December 2003, and two years of delay become one. The ban will be brought up again in 2004.
Now would be an excellent time to support stem cell research by contacting your elected representatives:
I am writing to urge your support for human therapeutic cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT), a technology vital to embryonic and adult stem cell research, which holds the potential to treat and better understand the deadly and disabling diseases that affect more than 100 million Americans, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and many others.
The threat of a ban on therapeutic cloning on top of existing legislative restrictions has caused great damage to private funding of stem cell research. Billions of dollars are waiting in the wings to help, but will not be invested in a climate of uncertainty.
Why are US ambassadors to the United Nations continuing to push for a global ban on therapeutic cloning? Why do US senators continue to push back a vote on the therapeutic cloning bill postponed from 2003?
If stem cell research - adult or embryonic - is to obtain significant private funding and thus proceed in any meaningful way, the US government must stop attempting and threatening to ban the most vital technology used in this research.
Founder, Longevity Meme
You have a voice: use it.