Vanderbilt excited about stem cell policy change

Vanderbilt excited about stem cell policy change (Image 1)

President Obama, on Monday, is expected to reverse the Bush Administration's stem cell research restrictions and open Federal funding for more embryonic stem cell research.

Human embryonic stem cells were first derived in 1998, and scientists believed the possibilities of the discovery were endless.

“Since 2001, it had just been three years after this entire new arena of scientific research became an opportunity, there was a lot of excitement,” said Dr. Mark Magnuson, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology. 

The excitement, however, dampened in August 2001 when President George W. Bush put limits on funding to stem cell research.

For Vanderbilt, it meant restrictions on just how much research they could do or risk federal monies. 

Dr. Magnuson said, “We've been really in a wilderness for the last eight years, almost eight years since President Bush restricted the access to human stem cells.”

The university's stem cell lab is the only lab in Tennessee with human embryonic stem cell lines.

They believe their research could one day change the quality of life for people living with Type I Diabetes.

“We're looking forward to the day were well be able to replace those cells in people and have them so they don't have to take insulin injections,” said Dr. Magnuson.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce the reversal of the Bush Administration restrictions on Monday.

Dr. Magnuson says it will be a good day and a new beginning for American science.

Embryonic stem cell research is controversial because embryos are destroyed to extract the cells.

Under the new guidelines, researchers need to receive informed consent from women and couples who want to donate their embryos.

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