Wisconsin Stem Cell Now: Wisconsin stem cell leaders release new report on medical research

Contact: Sachin Chheda, 414-412-6099

Ed Fallone, 414-412-5772

Stem cell “primer” meant to define parameters for policy and political debate

MILWAUKEE- The state’s leading advocacy group dedicated solely to support for all forms of medical research released a report today outlining the continuing need for embryonic stem cell research. The report, entitled “Stem Cell Research in Wisconsin: A Primer on Science, Funding, Ethics and Advocacy,” will be posted on their website at http://www.wistemcellnow.org and distributed publicly in advance of the World Stem Cell Summit to be held this weekend and next week in Madison.

“Recent advances in stem cell research have excited researchers and given renewed hope to families facing chronic disease,” said Ed Fallone, President of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now. “But these advances should not come at the cost of abandoning embryonic stem cell research – rather, we must invest at every level in the fight to cure Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a host of other diseases faced by tens of millions of American families.”

The “Stem Cell Primer” released today by Wisconsin Stem Cell Now addresses the scientific underpinnings of, and the ethical case for, the various forms of stem cell research, as well as the case for increased investment in the research and the advocacy necessary to move it to the next level.

“The research avenues that are pursued should be determined by scientists, not those seeking to impose their religious and political views on scientific inquiry,” said Fallone. “All current forms of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research, are ethical and should be funded.”

In recent months, stem cell pioneer Dr. Jamie Thomson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison-based researcher, successfully “reprogrammed” skin cells to mimic the qualities of embryonic stem cells. However, Dr. Thomson and other top researchers have repeatedly insisted that his discovery does not reduce the need to invest in traditional embryonic stem cell research, as well as other forms of stem cell research.

Wisconsin Stem Cell Now is an all-volunteer effort, and includes medical doctors, business leaders and academics. Prominent members of the Wisconsin Stem Cell Now board include both Republicans and Democrats, and many of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now’s members are affected by, or have family members affected by, chronic disease, such as diabetes, paralysis, cancer and heart disease.

“This week, Wisconsin is proud to host the World Stem Cell Summit,” said Fallone. “We must meet the challenge posed to us as a people, and commit more resources to finding the cures of disease, with the science taking us where we need to go.”