"Protecting life and promoting scientific progress are not mutually exclusive, and the Patients First Act proves that. While we must work to advance medical research that can treat and cure diseases afflicting many Americans, it is equally important that we pay attention to the moral concerns raised by human embryonic stem cell research," Forbes said. "Instead of spending time in gridlock over divisive political battles, we need to focus on prioritizing research with proven clinical success, and that is what this legislation accomplishes."
In recent years, significant progress has been made in adult stem cell research, including the successful treatment of diseases such as spinal cord injury, breast cancer, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Advances of this nature provide clear evidence that stem cells can provide benefits to patients, while being ethically obtained. To focus funding on similar promising research, the Patients First Act would specifically:
- Promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos, or the destruction, discarding of, or risk of injury to human embryos;
- Intensify stem cell research that may result in an improved understanding of, or treatments for, diseases and other adverse health conditions;
- Promote research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing clinical benefit for human patients; and,
- Direct the National Institutes of Health to prioritize stem cell research that has the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefits, by directing both basic and clinical research towards what is currently showing benefits in treating patients.