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CaliforniaCalifornia Overwhelmingly Passes Proposition 71
Stem Cell Research. Funding. Bonds
State of California

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New JeresyN.J. PASSES S1909
"Stem Cell Research Bill"


New York

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Governor David A. Paterson
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Senator Joesph L. Bruno's Telephone Number:
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Speaker Sheldon Silver
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NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2005

Comptroller Hevesi issues report on economic impact
 

Silver Introduces Bill to ‘Realize Great Potential’ of Stem Cell Research

Proposal seeks to encourage life-saving medical advances;
promote economic development strengths


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Assembly Speaker Silver announced the introduction of legislation aimed at helping New York realize the great potential of stem cell research. "As medical science advances toward a cure for some of the most debilitating diseases facing our communities, it is becoming increasingly clear that the solution may be found in therapeutic cloning and stem cell research," said Silver, who has been a staunch supporter of the potential of this promising new medical technology and has sponsored legislation to ensure its appropriate use since 2003.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today introduced legislation aimed at keeping New York State at the forefront of biotechnology advances and medical care by creating the New York State Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine. The not-for-profit entity will foster and support vital explorations in the treatment of chronic degenerative diseases.

Standing with Silver at a Capitol news conference in support of the legislation were Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, Insurance Committee Chair Pete Grannis, Assembly Legislative Commission on Science and Technology Chair Adele Cohen and Amy Paulin, who chairs the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities.

New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who also supports the legislation, was represented by Deputy Comptroller Kenneth Bleiwas who highlighted a report released earlier today on the economic impact of biotechnology. The Comptroller’s report 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.

Also participating were representatives from the New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research (NYAMR), a coalition of public-interest groups representing the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from diseases whose potential treatment and cure could come from stem cell research.

According to Silver, the New York State Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine would provide financial and other support for stem cell research and other initiatives related to regenerative medicine. The landmark bill will promote the development of life-saving and life-enhancing regenerative medical treatments, therapies and cures.

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Fifteen-year-old Michelle DeVito spoke eloquently at a news conference called by Assembly Speaker Silver announcing the introduction of legislation aimed at encouraging life-saving medical advances in biotechnology. "I am one of the millions of American children and adults that suffer from Juvenile Diabetes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and every minute of my life. Stem cell research will not only hopefully yield a cure for juvenile diabetes but will also put an end to what is a life-changing disease," said DeVito.
The not-for-profit agency established by Silver’s legislation would also:

  • make grants and loans to further stem cell research and regenerative medicine and to 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.

Funding would come from a new Health Care Reform Act (HCRA), which is expected to begin July 1, 2005. For this year, $100 million would be allocated and this would grow to $200 million in the second year of the two-year HCRA cycle.

"As medical science advances toward a cure for some of the most debilitating diseases facing our communities, it is becoming increasingly clear that the solution may be found in therapeutic cloning and stem cell research," said Silver, who has been a staunch supporter of the potential of this promising new medical technology and has sponsored legislation to ensure its appropriate use since 2003.

"When I first introduced legislation in 2003, I was honored to stand with Christopher Reeve who dedicated his life to advancing stem cell research," said Silver. "With his death last year, the world lost a truly inspiring crusader who fought not only on his own behalf but for the countless millions who suffer debilitating, life-threatening diseases that may be addressed through this type of critical research. We must seek to further the potential of these lifesaving efforts by tapping into the world-class scientific resources in which New York has already made investments such as the biotech research corridors around the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, and in the Lower Manhattan Bioscience Corridor."

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Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried noted the federal government’s failure to fund stem cell research for political and ideological reasons that have nothing to do with science, has forced states to step in.
"Ordinarily, Americans rely on the federal government to fund biomedical research. But Washington is failing to fund stem cell research for political and ideological reasons that have nothing to do with science. The states have to step in, and New York should be in the lead," said Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

"New York State is world-renowned for the excellence of its academic medical institutions," said Grannis (D-Manhattan). "This bill will put New York at the forefront of exciting new research to develop cures for diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer and other diseases."

"Stem cell research, now in its infancy, gives us hope that doctors can replace diseased or dysfunctional cells with healthy functioning ones. That means preventing, alleviating, even curing a host of serious illnesses and injuries so costly in terms of both human suffering and of money. New York, with all its intellectual resources, should be a leader in this vital research. For all these reasons, I am glad to support Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver," said Paulin (D-Scarsdale).

"We need to draw upon the strengths of New York State’s research institutions to help advance medical science. This legislation recognizes New York as a leading center for biotechnology with great accomplishments in cutting edge research and with great promise for further scientific achievement as well as economic growth. This initiative will take the next steps," said Cohen (D-Brooklyn).

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New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who also supports the legislation, was represented by Deputy Comptroller Kenneth Bleiwas, who highlighted a report released on the economic impact of biotechnology.
The Hevesi report notes that by supporting and encouraging growth in these industries, New York State could gain 7,000 jobs in these areas over the next seven years. An estimated 5,000 of these jobs would be in manufacturing and could buoy the economies of Albany, Buffalo and Rochester, where biotech already has a presence and manufacturing employment has been in decline for years.

"Biotechnology is already an important element of New York State’s economy, and it is clearly in our economic interest to continue to nurture and support biotech and related industries," Hevesi said. "If we don’t provide the level of support available in other states, research and development and all the jobs and opportunities that accompany it, will happen elsewhere."

The legislators, who noted the Assembly had over the past two years overwhelmingly passed legislation supporting stem cell research and therapeutic cloning, again called for a ban on human cloning. The bill being advanced by Silver would, as in the past, prohibit the use of reproductive cloning, while allowing critical scientific activities concerning both therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, as well as the related applications of such research, and in-vitro fertilization. Violations of the reproductive cloning prohibition would include prosecution as a Class D felony and civil penalties of up to $1 million.

"Reproductive cloning holds many ethical and moral taboos. It is a practice we want to ensure does not take place in New York State," said Silver. "However, stem cell research is a valuable tool for scientists in the quest to solve the mysteries of some of our most terrible illnesses. Stem cell research holds promise for the legions of people who are stricken with conditions ranging from spinal cord injuries to infertility."

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.

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Dr. Maria Mitchell, president of AMDeC, a statewide consortium of institutions concerned with advancing medical science, called the Silver bill "an essential step to maintain and expand a competitive biomedical research enterprise in New York. Even before California’s initiative, Speaker Silver had introduced legislation promoting stem cell research in New York State. He knows that effective partnerships between New York’s world-class academic medical institutions, biotech companies and government are critical to building the new structures that will advance our state’s biomedical research enterprise."
Organizations in support of the bill include New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research (NYAMR), which consists of: Academic Medicine Development Company (AMDeC), a biotechnology advocacy organization; American Diabetes Association; Biotechnology Association of New York; Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation; Columbia University Medical Center; Community Health Charities of New York; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Lupus Foundation; Parkinson’s Action Network; Parkinson’s Alliance; Parkinson’s Disease Foundation; Project ALS; and the Tourette’s Syndrome Association.

"The legislation introduced today by Assembly Speaker Silver is an essential step to maintain and expand a competitive biomedical research enterprise in New York," said Dr. Maria Mitchell, president of AMDeC, a statewide consortium of institutions concerned with advancing medical science. "Speaker Silver’s great leadership is vital to New York on this issue, especially as other states are moving aggressively to pursue the promising opportunities created by stem cell research. Even before California’s initiative, Speaker Silver had introduced legislation promoting stem cell research in New York State. He knows that effective partnerships between New York’s world-class academic medical institutions, biotech companies and government are critical to building the new structures that will advance our state’s biomedical research enterprise.

"We also applaud Comptroller Hevesi’s initiative in documenting the importance of biomedical research and biotech companies to New York’s economic vitality," said Dr. Mitchell.

"I am one of the millions of American children and adults that suffer from Juvenile Diabetes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and every minute of my life. Stem cell research will not only hopefully yield a cure for juvenile diabetes but will also put an end to what is a life changing disease. With a cure the thousands of Americans who have juvenile diabetes will finally be able to say that they once "had" juvenile diabetes and no longer have to deal with everyday events that go along with the disease. Support and funding for stem cell research will not only help millions of people with juvenile diabetes, but countless others who suffer from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s, and spinal chord injuries. This research has the power to change the lives of thousands of Americans and in doing so also change mine," said Michelle DeVito, a 15-year old from Guilderland who lives with juvenile diabetes.

"I would like to again thank Speaker Silver and the other members of the Assembly for acting on this important legislation. I hope that the Senate will pass this through the Senate Health Committee and Majority Leader Bruno will bring it to the Senate floor," said Mike Discipio, who was made a quadriplegic in a swimming accident and lives in the town of Colonie. Discipio came to the Capitol to support the speaker’s legislation, which, he said, "could lead to historic breakthroughs in treatments and, ultimately, cures."

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June Walker, national president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, spoke in support of Silver’s bill that would create the New York State Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine. "We applaud Speaker Silver for his bold leadership in proposing that New York State build an institute devoted entirely to stem cell research and regenerative medicine. We strongly urge the New York State Assembly and Senate to quickly pass this legislation for the benefit of all New Yorkers," said Walker.
"As world leaders in stem cell research at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, Israel, and as patient advocates in the U.S., Hadassah is eager for the realization of the promise of stem cell research. New York State is known for having some of the best medical centers, hospitals and research institutes. New York should not be left behind, while institutions in other states attract the top doctors and researchers in the new century. We applaud Speaker Silver for his bold leadership in proposing that New York State build an institute devoted entirely to stem cell research and regenerative medicine. We strongly urge the New York State Assembly and Senate to quickly pass this legislation for the benefit of all New Yorkers," said June Walker, national president, Hadassah.

"New York’s world-class medical research institutions are encouraged by the leadership of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Comptroller Alan Hevesi," said Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., M.D., Dean and Provost for Medical Affairs of the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Gotto, who also serves as Vice Chair of AMDeC’s Board of Directors, added, "The Speaker’s proposal to advance stem cell research within New York State is vital to our remaining competitive with other states, as well as essential to the more important cause: solving challenging questions of disease and public health, for which research involving stem cells is most promising."

"Stem cell research offers a medical revolution as powerful as the previous revolutions of vaccination and antibiotics. Moreover, stem cell-based therapies will demonstrate their value just as rapidly as did these prior discoveries. This is because, just like vaccination, stem cell therapies are based on enabling the cells of our body to perform the task that is their normal job, the creation and repair of our bodies’ parts. New York State currently has an exceptionally rich base of stem cell scientists. It would be a tragedy if New York were the only state with such an outstanding scientific base not to be actively promoting this next medical revolution. The luring of New York State stem cell biologists to other states already has begun. With this effort, we will not only stop this loss, but reverse it, and bring still more of these individuals to New York State’s outstanding scientific institutions," said Dr. Mark D. Noble, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Genetics at the Department of Biomedical Genetics, University of Rochester Medical Center.

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"I would like to again thank Speaker Silver and the other members of the Assembly for acting on this important legislation. I hope that the Senate will pass this through the Senate Health Committee and Majority Leader Bruno will bring it to the Senate floor," said Mike Discipio, who was made a quadriplegic in a swimming accident and lives in the town of Colonie. Discipio came to the Capitol to support the Speaker’s legislation, which, he said, "could lead to historic breakthroughs in treatments and, ultimately, cures."
"Once again, Speaker Sheldon Silver has demonstrated outstanding leadership in his commitment to opening the doors of science and the work of scientists to hasten the end of diseases that are suffered by millions of New Yorkers. We salute him and in this legislative session, we look forward to a genuinely bipartisan, bicameral initiative in support of stem cell research and other life-enhancing therapies - by any measure, one of the most important issues of our time," said Robin Anthony Elliott, executive director, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

"The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation applauds New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his leadership in initiating landmark legislation authorizing embryonic stem cell research in New York. Speaker Silver has kept hope alive for thousands of New York families and millions of other Americans suffering from chronic or debilitating illnesses. His bill will ensure that New York becomes a leader in this critical area of research," said Herb Gordon of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"Over one million people in New York have diabetes, many suffering from its effects - heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations. It is also a leading cause of death. Stem cell research is an exciting area in modern medicine which holds great hope in our search for a cure," stated Stephen Habbe, Advocacy Director for the American Diabetes Association.

 

 

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