AACR supports NIH stem cell research

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s oldest and largest cancer research organization, reiterates its support for the responsible conduct of human embryonic stem cell research that, up until this week, was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and expresses concern that the recent Federal District Court injunction to block federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research is a setback for scientific discovery.

“As stated in our 2005 policy statement on stem cell research, we believe that reasonable, ethical stem cell exploration is a crucial component of scientific discovery,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Human embryonic stem cell research may lead to new biological insights that offer avenues for the development of promising new therapies for cancer patients. This decision will slow the important research that has the potential to save lives from cancer and will significantly affect the ability of the United States to be a leader in this cutting-edge field of science.”

“We believe the NIH’s human embryonic stem cell research policies are sound, ethical, and responsible,” said Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel laureate and president of the AACR. “Stem cell research is part of a multifaceted approach to understand the biology of cancer and develop new ways to combat the 200 diseases collectively called ‘cancer.’ It is disconcerting that the scientists who were given the opportunity to pursue important research questions through the investigation of stem cells, not their creation, have now been stopped in their tracks.”

Human embryonic stem cell research is an exciting area of science, and the AACR is grateful to the NIH for its significant efforts to ensure that this promising research, like all NIH research, is conducted in a manner consistent with established ethical principles.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 32,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special focused conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and prevention. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

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