Sunday, September 05, 2010

Time to Let Lawmakers Know What They Need to Do

A UC Davis stem cell researcher has joined in the campaign to change the law that resulted in the court order temporarily halting federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. He is looking for more than a few good supporters.

Paul Knoepfler has posted on his blog a tool that makes it easy for others to join him and write their Washington representatives seeking immediate repeal of the law. It allows readers in any state to look up their elected officials and let them know what needs to be done.

Knoepfler and Don Reed, a longtime patient advocate in California, should get together. Reed also has a blog in which he seeks to create a stem-cell friendly environment nationally and in California. Reed has not yet posted a similar pitch but may well do so.

Reed has been lobbying elected officials for years. His efforts were key to passage in California of a 1990 measure that funded research linked to Geron's spinal cord clinical trials.

That law, however, is in danger of fading from the books. The law is named after his son, Roman, who was paralyzed some years ago in a football accident. Roman also has lobbied for stem cell support and came up with the slogan of the California stem cell agency – “Turning stem cells into cures.”

On his blog, the elder Reed is appealing for folks to write the governor supporting the legislation, which is now on his desk.

Reed writes,
"This law paid for the first state-funded embryonic stem cell research in America, re-insulating damaged spinal nerves. Laboratory rats so badly paralyzed they could only drag themselves are scampering now; that study goes to human trials with Geron. The same research may help cure spinal muscular atrophy, (SMA, a vicious condition which kills children, often before the age of two), multiple sclerosis (MS), and other disorders.

"'Roman’s Law' has helped train new scientists with fellowship grants, and assisted veterans to develop new approaches, from a variation of the petri dish to pioneering new methods of rehabilitation and repair. In addition to 175 published scientific papers, two patents pending which may advance the biomedical industry, and several major scientific breakthroughs, our research brought new money to California."
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