Monday, March 19, 2007

Zerhouni to Bush: Nation Better Served Without Research Restrictions

The head of the National Institutes of Health, an appointee of President Bush, today defied his boss and said the president's policy on embryonic stem cell research was ill-serving the nation.

The statement came from Elias Zerhouni and was reported by Angela Zimm and Neil Roland on Bloomberg.com. They covered a Senate hearing on funding for the NIH. They wrote that Zerhouni said:
"The current lines will not be sufficient. It's not possible for me to see how we can sustain the momentum of research."
Zerhouni continued:
"It's clear that American science and the nation will be better served if we have access to more cell lines."
According to Bloomberg, this is the context of the remarks.
"Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, asked Zerhouni, whether lifting the restrictions would have an effect on finding new cures.

"'The answer is yes,' Zerhouni said. The exchange came at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education."
Zerhouni could have said the same thing several years ago. But Bush is now a clearly a lame duck and on the ropes with the American public. And Zerhouni has his own future to consider. Being a handmaiden to Bush's stem cell policy is not the best position for someone who may be casting about for a new line of work. Sphere: Related Content

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