Stem cell rules may pressure White House

April 26, 2005 at 6:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- New ethical guidelines for U.S. human stem-cell research could be used by proponents to urge the Bush administration to ease its research restrictions.

The guidelines, released Tuesday and developed by a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences, seek to fill a void left by the federal government, which has not offered any specific regulations for this research.

Although scientists think embryonic stem-cell research has the potential to provide cures and insights about various diseases, the research is controversial because it requires the destruction of human embryos.

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told United Press International he thought the guidelines would be used by proponents of the research to persuade the White House to ease its restrictions.

President George W. Bush, in an August 2001 decision, limited federal funding to lines of stem cells already in existence at that time.

Groups opposed to the research did not see the guidelines as a positive step.

Gene Tarne, communications director of Do No Harm, a group based in Washington, told UPI, "No amount of rules and regulations is going to make (the research) ethical."

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