Gov. Doyle: to Address National Stem Cell Symposium

Governor Doyle will give the keynote address at a national stem cell symposium in Washington, D.C. on Friday, August 4, 2006.  The symposium, presented by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research and education institute, is entitled, “Can States Override the Stem Cell Veto: Advancing Stem Cell Research in the Face of Federal Inaction.”  The symposium will bring together top scientists and policy makers from across the country to discuss the impact President Bush’s recent veto of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, will have on the research and the leadership role of states like Wisconsin.

“I am pleased to be representing our state at this important event, which will not only highlight Wisconsin’s unique leadership in stem cell research, but also the devastating effect President Bush’s veto,” Governor Doyle said. “I’ll deliver a simple message: the work our scientists are doing in Wisconsin is even more important now that House Republicans and the President have turned their back on millions of families whose hopes depend on this research.  We will continue to push forward with this research in Wisconsin and we will remain committed to unlocking cures to humanity’s oldest and deadliest diseases.”

In the wake of President Bush’s veto, federal action on stem cell research is delayed for at least a year and states are left to continue to lead in supporting this life-saving research.  The symposium will explore how the research will proceed in the current political climate both nationally and locally. 

Governor Doyle will be joined by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who introduced the companion bill to H.R. 810 in the Senate, to address how states are supporting stem cell research to their best of their abilities, but must have the backing of the federal government to truly advance this research and unlock the cures for diseases once thought to be incurable.

Following the Governor’s remarks will be a panel of distinguished experts, including Dr. John Gearhart, Director of the Stem cell Program at John Hopkins Medicine and Dr. Dave Scadden, Co-Director of the Harvard Stem cell Institute, which will discuss the future scientific and ethical implications of legislative action on stem cell research.  The Center for American Progress will also present a report detailing the importance of federal support for the true advancement of stem cell research.

H.R. 810 sought to lift current barriers on stem cell research, which are stifling the development of treatments and cures for a wide range of debilitating diseases and conditions.  The legislation would have greatly expanded scientists’ access to new, healthy, uncontaminated stem cell lines that are off-limits to federally funded research under the current restrictions.  In addition, this legislation would have imposed new ethical guidelines on the research, stricter than those currently in place.

H.R. 810 had overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress, and was supported by major medical and scientific associations, research universities and institutions, and patient advocacy groups.

For more information on the symposium, or to RSVP go to:

Last year, Governor Doyle vetoed a bill that would have outlawed the most promising techniques used in stem cell research.  He has launched a $750 million public and private investment strategy to maintain Wisconsin’s leadership in the fields of biotechnology and stem cell research.  The centerpiece of his effort is the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, which recently won approval and will become a major center not only for research, but for the commercialization of that research.

The Institutes, with a public and private investment of nearly $400 million, will bring together leading biologists, biochemists, engineers, computer scientists, and medical researchers in an interdisciplinary environment to foster collaboration and innovation. And it will offer space to entrepreneurs and emerging businesses that will convert these discoveries into the jobs of tomorrow.

In April, Governor Doyle signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Commerce to spend at least $5 million to recruit new stem cell companies to Wisconsin. 

Listen to Governor Doyle talk about the stem-cell symposium: