President Faust issues statement supporting federal funding of stem cell research

first_imgA temporary restraining order last month that blocked federalfunding for certain kinds of stem cell research was viewed by many as ablow to cutting-edge science that already is yielding clues to cures for a number of fatal illnesses and chronic diseases. Harvard has been inthe vanguard of such research, and the University, as a member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, supported an amicusbrief filed last Friday (Sept. 3), urging the court to lift therestraining order imposed in Sherley v. Sebelius. The day before thatbrief was filed, Harvard President Drew Faust visited one of theUniversity’s stem cell labs, and today (Sept. 7) she issued thefollowing:In a recent visit to the laboratory of Doug Melton, co-director ofthe Harvard Stem Cell Institute, I was reminded of the remarkableingenuity and commitment by this extraordinary team of scientists, andtheir dedication to improving lives. Stem cell research has emerged asone of the most important new areas of human biology. Although theeffort is still young, it promises to help us treat and someday evenfind cures for diseases such as diabetes, ALS, Parkinson’s, andleukemia.This vital work is now in jeopardy because of a recent courtinjunction halting the use of federal funds to pursue embryonic stemcell research. We hope that the temporary injunction will soon be lifted and that Congress will take the steps necessary to ensure that stemcell scientists can carry on their work vigorously and responsibly, inthe interests of the millions of people who may someday enjoy itsbenefits.Harvard strongly supports its stem cell researchers, and we aredeeply grateful for the generosity of the many private donors who willremain critical to sustaining our efforts. But without the flow ofessential federal funds, the promise of stem cell science is at risk ofbecoming a dream deferred — and, for some, a dream undone.last_img