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Physician Connection
A Communication Service for Physicians from CHOC and CHOC at Mission. Please Note: Physician Connection is no longer being printed and is now available electronically. Please visit our blog at http://docs.chocchildrens.org for the latest articles for our physician community. You can also receive our electronic Physician Connection newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

Research News
The Stem Cell Debate

Despite all of the media coverage during the past year's presidential campaign and the passage of Proposition 71 in California, there remains a great deal of misunderstanding about stem cells. It is critical that the voting public have accurate and understandable information in order to address the ethical and moral issues entwined with this area of scientific inquiry. Here are some lay answers to a couple of basic questions and remember, not all stem cells are alike. Stem cells from bone marrow and cord blood have been used for years as therapy for many types of cancer and are not part of the current, public debate.

Q. WHAT'S THE CURRENT STATE OF HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH?

Scientists have only been able to do experiments with human embryonic stem cells since 1998 when a group at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to isolate and grow these cells. Federal funds to support human embryonic stem cell research have only been available since August 9, 2001. So, while human embryonic stem cells are thought to offer potential cures and therapies for many devastating diseases, research using them is only in its early stages.

Q. SO, WHAT ABOUT PROPOSITION 71?

Individual states have the authority to pass laws to permit human embryonic stem cell research using state funds and to use state funds for research using human embryonic stem cell lines that are not eligible for federal funding. A new state medical research institute will be created to award grants and loans for human embryonic stem cell research in California. Funding will come from the sale of $3 billion in state bonds. The right to do human embryonic stem cell research will be added to the California State Constitution. California is currently the only state in the Union with legislation that provides state funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Proposition 71 allows for funding of human embryonic stem cell research projects and facilities up to $350 million annually.

Click on the related links below for more information.

For more information about stem cell research at CHOC, please contact the Research and Sponsored Projects office in the CHOC Research Institute at 714-516-4341.

Related Links:
http://stemcells.nih.gov

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