Assembly Passes Legislation Committing $300 Million to Stem Cell Research
Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess Counties) announced the Assembly passed legislation he sponsored earmarking $300 million to create the New York State Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine (A.6300-A).
“The Institute would help to keep New York at the forefront of biotechnology and medical care – bringing with it good jobs and economic development opportunities while attracting the top experts in the field,” said Mr. Cahill. A report issued last year by New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi highlighted the importance of the state’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, which employed more than 54,000 New Yorkers and generated more than $18 billion in economic activity in New York in 2003.
“Since there’s been no leadership from Washington on this issue, other states like California, Massachusetts and New Jersey have gotten a head start in advancing this worthy scientific endeavor,” Mr. Cahill said. “It is time that stem cell research and therapeutic cloning become acceptable research techniques so that we can eliminate the tremendous human suffering and the loss of billions of dollars associated with these conditions.”
Each year, the cost of treatment, coupled with the lost productivity from acute, chronic and degenerative diseases reaches hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States. The fiscal implications do not account for the extreme human suffering and loss associated with these conditions.
The Institute created under the bill would be governed by a board of 19 members, to be appointed by the Speaker, the Governor, the temporary president of the Senate, the Attorney General and the Comptroller.
The not-for-profit agency established by the legislation would also:
- make grants and loans to further stem cell research and regenerative medicine and support facilities involved in this work;
- support development of regenerative therapies, from research to clinical trials;
- establish necessary and appropriate regulatory and oversight processes, procedures and structures for research and facilities development; and
- prioritize the use of funds for scientific work that has the greatest potential for producing therapies and cures specifically utilizing stem cell research.
“Human stem cell research has the potential to find new treatments, prevention methods and cures for some of the worst diseases and conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes,” Mr. Cahill said. “Because of the promise of stem cell research, we must provide the support needed to promote vital medical breakthroughs that could save and improve millions of lives” he concluded.