Take Action: Embryonic Stem Cell Research!

From JDRF Advocacy in Action...

We need you to take action! The NIH has released draft guidelines for embryonic stem cell research and is currently gathering public comments. Please click here or on the link below to review and submit the prepared comments, provided below, in support of these guidelines in three simple steps. Additional background can be found below.

Stem Cell Research Guidelines Comment Form

  1. Click here to be directed to the comment form, provide your name and select ‘Self’ for Affiliation. (JDRF, as an organization, will provide comments directly to the NIH.)
  2. Copy and paste the text in the table below into the Comments sections, provide the security check ID on the form and click ‘Submit Comments’.
  3. Once you have completed steps 1 and 2, please click here to let us know you have completed the action so we can track the number of JDRF advocates participating.

Be sure to pass this message on to your family and friends, we need to generate as many comments as possible to support our efforts for a cure!

Comment Text (please copy and paste into Comments section)

I support the Administration’s expansion of the federal policy on embryonic stem cell research and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) draft guidelines to govern this important research. For those of us with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes, these actions have renewed our hope for a cure.

The Administration’s Executive Order on stem cell research restored scientific decision-making to its rightful place at the NIH. In these guidelines, the NIH has demonstrated its capacity to formulate a research framework that will unleash the potential of embryonic stem cell research while maintaining the highest safety and ethical standards. I would encourage the NIH, however, to grandfather into this policy stem cell lines that currently receive federal funding as well as those derived privately under the prevailing ethical guidelines so that NIH can fund research using these existing lines.

Research should be vigorously pursued on all promising stem cell sources that could potentially lead to a cure for type 1 diabetes. While embryonic stem cell research is still in its early stages, this research has already yielded impressive results in our continuing effort to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Recent research suggests that embryonic stem cells can be differentiated to produce the insulin-producing beta cells that could reverse the course of type 1 diabetes.

We do not yet know which stem cell sources may ultimately lead to a cure or be the most clinically useful or practical for patients with type 1 diabetes. It is clear, however, that the more knowledge we gain about embryonic stem cells, the better we can assess the full therapeutic potential of all stem cell sources. These draft guidelines allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research using excess embryos from fertility clinics will ensure that this research matures and its potential is more fully realized. I commend the NIH for allowing this important research to expand in a scientifically and ethically appropriate manner.

Please let us know if you have any questions. You can send us an email at advocacy@jdrf.org.

Thank you!

JDRF Government Relations


Additional Background: Last month President Obama signed an Executive Order, which lifted previous federal funding restrictions on stem cell research. Although this action was a great victory for those of us in search of a cure for type 1 diabetes, our job is not done!

As part of the Executive Order, President Obama instructed the NIH to issue guidelines governing this research. You can view the NIH’s draft guidelines online by clicking here. The draft guidelines would permit federal funding for research using stem cells derived from embryos created by in-vitro fertilization and no longer needed for reproductive purposes. The draft guidelines also would ensure that embryos utilized for embryonic stem cell research were donated under the highest ethical standards. While JDRF supports these guidelines, we would encourage the NIH to extend funding eligibility to currently-funded stem cell lines and existing lines that were derived according to prevailing ethical guidelines.