New York City
March 2003

Governor McGreevey Backs Stem Cell Legislation

Continuing his commitment to make New Jersey a national leader in cancer care and research, Governor James E. McGreevey pledged to support legislation which would authorize stem cell research in the state.

“Stem cell research is the wave of the future in biomedical research,” McGreevey said. “The therapeutic potential of undifferentiated stem cells is remarkable—arguably more remarkable than any previous advance in the history of medical science.”

The Governor urged the Assembly to pass Senate Bill 1909, which would permit stem cell research and provide strict guidelines for the process. The bill has already been approved by the Senate. “Embryonic stem cell research offers real hope to the hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans suffering from cancer, diabetes, damaged heart tissue, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS and spinal cord injuries,” McGreevey said.

“Research with embryonic stem cells has the potential to revolutionize medicine,” said Dr. Frank Castello, Medical Director of Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into cell types with different functions. This may lead to a whole new approach to treating disease by using living cells that can differentiate into blood; skin, heart or brain cells and potentially treat cancers, spinal cord injuries or heart disease.”

The bill would:

Permit research involving the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cells, human embryonic germ cells and human adult stem cells from any source, including somatic cell nuclear transplantation.

Require a review of issues related to this research by a nine-member institutional review board, which will advise me and the Legislature.

Require physicians treating a patient for infertility to provide patients with information to allow them to make an informed and voluntary choice regarding the use of human embryos following infertility treatment.

“It is time we start thinking about the children who are suffering from diseases such as cerebral palsy and juvenile diabetes, which may someday be cured through advances in stem cell research,” added Senator Barbara Buono (D- Middlesex). “Young children who have never experienced a life without physical pain may stand to benefit most from the work we accomplish in this field.”#

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