Team 1: Stem Cell Policies

Report
Kevin Austria, Emily Bright, Adam Mills,
John Okerson, Erin Peavy
What are Stem Cells?
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Stem cells are different from other cell
types by three important characteristics.
Capable of dividing and renewing
themselves for long periods.
Unspecialized cells capable of renewing
themselves through cell division
Develop from a generic cell to become
cells with special functions and
properties.
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Types of Stem Cells

Non-embryonic (adult) stem cells
 used in bone marrow transplants for decades
 Active constantly renew old and worn out tissue
 Some remain dormant then become active
under special conditions. (i.e.. Liver or heart)

Embryonic stem cells
 Found in 4-5 day old embryo
 These cells raise much moral and ethical debate
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Research with Stem Cells
Began nearly 30 years ago in
experimenting with animals
 1998-Major breakthrough when
scientists discovered a method to derive
stem cells from human embryos grown
in the laboratory

 Started the moral debate over stem cells.

2006- discovered new way to make cells
behave like embryonic stem cells.
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Moral/ Ethical Controversy

Embryonic Stem Cells:
 Does life begin at fertilization, in the womb,
or at birth?
 Is a human embryo equivalent to a human
child?
 Does a human embryo have any rights?
 Might the destruction of a single embryo be
justified if it provides a cure for a countless
number of patients?
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Current Policies
Federal and State governments both
play a role
 Has not been legislated at the national
level
 Policies vary along party lines

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National Policies

Bush
 Policy Statement to the NIH
 Executive Order in 2007

Obama
 Executive Order

Legislative Efforts
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State Policies
No federal laws
 2010 study on embryonic research
funding
 Ohio laws and regulations

 National Center for Regenerative Medicine
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Federal Governments

Legislative Branch
 Senate and the House of Representatives
 Example:
○ Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of
2005 and 2007
○ Passed in House of Representatives
○ Passed in Senate
○ Bill Vetoed by President George W. Bush both
years.
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Federal Governments

Legislative Problems
 Stem Cell research is a highly controversial
subject
 Bipartisan system causes the senate to be
split by ideologies.
 Congress cannot get the 2/3 votes needed
to override the president’s veto.
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Federal Governments

Executive Branch
 President
○ Example:
 Two vetoes by George W. Bush
 Executive Order by Barack Obama.
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Committee

House Committee on Energy and Commerce
 Allowed bills to pass committee stage
 Research revealed responsibilities of this
committee:
○ Telecommunications
○ Consumer Protection
○ Food and Drug Safety
○ Public Health Research
○ Environmental Quality
○ Affordable Energy
○ Interstate and Foreign Commerce
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Departments Etc.
Department of Human Health Services
 National Institute of Health

 President Obama’s EO allowed less
limitations on federally funded research of
stem cells.
 Should have more of an impact on policy
formation as research progresses and
shows more promise.
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State Governments
States have had the most success in
enacting bills and funding for stem cell
research.
 However,
 States vary greatly in their stem cell
research regulations
 Some allow for all types of embryos to
be used for research whereas some do
not allow it.

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Non-governmental Actors

Against Embryonic Stem-Cell Research
 AmericanCatholic.org
 Do No Harm: Coalition of Americans for
Research Ethics

Support Embryonic Stem-Cell Research
 California Stem Cell Research and Cures
Initiative
 Coalition for the Advancement of Medical
Research

Tactics
 Letters, Visits, Testimony, Media
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Ending Restrictions
The decision to end many restrictions on
embryonic stem cell research has removed
a key barrier to the research and discovery
of stem cell uses.
 Prior to 2009, stem cell research was
funded privately and had many restrictions
on which type of cells could be used.
 President Obama took a new stance and
allowed for research to begin on embryonic
stem cells instead of just pluripotent stem
cells.

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Potential Solutions
The increased amount of allowed research
and federal funding has given rise to
multiple experimental breakthroughs.
 Stem Cells can now be used to treat a wide
range of medical problems such as:

 Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease,
Heart diseases, Strokes, Diabetes, Birth
Defects, replacing and repairing damaged
organs, along with reduced risks of
transplantations.
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Effective?

The new policies enacted by President
Obama have indeed shown to be
medically effective even if they are
viewed as being morally subjective by
some people
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Recommendations



Government involvement in the form of
regulations and funding is essential for
protection and technological advancement
State and Federal government currently share
control of stem cell research policy and this
system should remain in place so that states
can advance the interests and values of their
populations.
Regulations should remain similar to what they
currently are, meaning research on all types of
stem cells is allowable though regulated. The
only change we propose making is prohibiting
the use of aborted embryos
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Alternatives

New discoveries leading to
reprogramming skin cells to replace
embryonic stem cells

Advanced research in reprogramming
cells could essentially end the debate
about using stem cells.
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Works Cited
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"About Us." CAMR. Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www.camradvocacy.org/about_us.cfm>.
"CSCRM - Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine." CSCRM. National Center for Regenerative Medicine. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <http://www.thestemcellcenter.org/>.
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