Crowley Calls For Stem Cell Research Development In NY
Concerned that New York could lose a tremendous economic benefit as well as a chance to provide scientific and life-saving research developments, Congressmember Joseph Crowley called last week for a continuation of critical stem cell research here.
Crowley and colleague Congressmember Steve Israel of Long Island also co-sponsored a resolution that “expresses the sense of Congress that the federal government should not infringe on state and private programs that fund embryonic stem cell research.
Crowley plunged into the fight not only to make New York state competitive with other states in pursuing stem cell research but also simultaneously promoting development of the vast and lucrative biochemical research industry.
At the moment, California, among other states, is actively wooing leading research scientists in the stem cell research field in an attempt to duplicate the previous successes and benefits from leading the country in the development of the computer industry.
Crowley noted, “California voters recently approved $3 billion for stem cell research; if New York fails to act, it’s expected to lose countless biotechnology jobs.”
Putting a different slant on the situation, Israel said, “I don’t think we can afford a brain drain.”
Given the position in which New York presently finds itself, Crowley and Israel last week held a stem cell research roundtable at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island. Participating were nationally recognized stem cell research advocate Brooke Ellison and doctors, scientists and technology firms committed to ensuring that critical research continues in New York.
Besides California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland and New Jersey have similar stem cell research proposals in the works.
Crowley pointed out that embryonic stem cell research offers hope to millions of people afflicted with a number of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, childhood leukemia, heart disease, ALS, several cancers, spinal cord injuries and other diseases, disorders and injuries.
Under President George W. Bush, his administration has strictly limited federal funding for such research.
At the Long Island roundtable, the lawmakers revealed that legislation has been introduced in the state Assembly to create the New York State Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine.
Ellison provided a stark example of the hopes disabled persons have that stem cell research will provide cures for many conditions of infirmity.
Ellison has been paralyzed from the neck down since being struck by a car when she was 11. She is wheelchair bound and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Despite the setback, she graduated with honors from Harvard, where she also got her Masters in Public Policy. She is now pursuing her doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island.
Since becoming disabled, Ellison, 26, has become a staunch advocate for stem cell research. She said that she always held out hope that stem cell research would provide a cure to get her out of the wheelchair. But, she said, President Bush’s limitations on spending for stem cell research have now limited her hopes.
Scientists at the roundtable said that colleagues have lost interest in pursuing research involving stem cells and representatives of biotech firms said that venture capital to fund stem cell research is hard to come by because of the president’s policy.
Another doctor reported that the latest research advance occurred at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan where researchers have developed stem cells into heart cells, thus restoring damaged heart muscles. However, it was said that it could take some time before clinical trials are conducted with human heart patients.