Stem Cells: From DC to CA

Michael J. Shuster, Ph.D., co-chair of the firm's Life Sciences Group was recently interviewed by Lisa Krieger, life science and biotech reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, for her appearance on KQED's "This Week in Northern California." The show, "Stem Cells: From DC to CA," which aired Friday, July 21, discussed potential local implications of President Bush's veto on federally funded stem cell research.

On July 19, President Bush vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which sought to lift rules that in 2001 made federal funds available only for research on a small number of embryonic stem cell lines. Though the legislation was widely supported by the U.S. public, Congress did not have enough votes to override the veto. Just after the veto announcement, there was a nationwide surge in private and State efforts to continue funding stem cell initiatives.

In Shuster's opinion Bush's policy was ill conceived and arguably destroyed the nation's pre-eminence in this important field. Research that could alleviate terrible human suffering, such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, has been significantly delayed, he said.

"While states such as ours have voted with our dollars in passing bond measures that address this issue, and others have similar pending measures, these local measures are arguably less efficient, dislocate scientists, and waste infrastructure dollars because the current federal ban prohibits the use of facilities that are supported by federal funds," Shuster has said in previous news reports.