Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research

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The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) is the nation's leading bipartisan pro-cures coalition. Comprised of more than 100 nationally recognized patient organizations, universities, scientific societies, and foundations, CAMR’s advocacy and education outreach focuses on developing better treatments and cures for individuals with life-threatening illnesses and disorders.

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Letter from the CAMR President

CAMR members,

While all of us on the CAMR Board are still very much enjoying the fact that the prior administration’s restrictive policy on human embryonic stem cell research has been reversed and research benefiting from federal funding will soon be a reality, it also remains true that the work in Washington on this issue is not over.  While the legislative front remains quiet for the moment (especially given August recess and the focus on the broader issue of health insurance reform) we continue to monitor for activity on Capitol Hill.  But, in addition to this, CAMR members should be aware of other stem cell activity in and around Washington DC.

First, NIH is making progress towards being able to designate appropriate existing stem cell lines as eligible for use in research receiving federal funds.  A draft of the approval form to be used for existing lines, along with some explanation, is available at www.stemcells.nih.gov.  This may be helpful information to researchers within your organizations.

Second, HHS and NIH have been sued in US District of the District of Columbia.  The plaintiffs are individuals who have joined with Nightlife Christian Adoptions and the Christian Medical Association.  The basis of the suit, filed on August 19, 2009, is that the Dickey-Wicker amendment prohibits all federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, not just line derivation.  The basis of the lawsuit, therefore, is that the NIH Guidelines issued in July are against the law.  As you may recall, a 1999 opinion by the General Counsel of HHS determined that the Dickey-Wicker amendment should not be read this broadly and it is our understanding that this legal interpretation has been accepted by the government for ten years as correct.  We are very hopeful, therefore, that the Department of Justice will be successful in defending against this lawsuit.  But, as a coalition, it is important that we keep an eye on this lawsuit and any possible implications.

Finally, the Genetics Policy Institute is hosting the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland on September 21-23. The Summit is presented by fellow CAMR member, genetics Policy Institute (GPI) and hosted by Johns Hopkins University, the University System of Maryland and the State of Maryland.  GPI has extended CAMR community the special opportunity to provide its members discounted registration passes to attend the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit.  The program covers advanced science, commercial perspectives, disease progress reports and in-depth reviews of policy, law, ethics, regulatory issues and global economic development. Join 130 presenting experts, attendees from 25 countries and representatives from more 160 sponsors, supporting organizations and media partners, at this preeminent international networking event.  And, as part of the Summit,  the annual Stem Cell Action Awards will be presented at a dinner at the Hilton Baltimore on September 22. The honorees include Governor Martin O’Malley, JDRF, Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell research and Cures, Cure Michigan, John Kellermann and Margaret Himelfarb.  Please visit www.worldstemcellsummit.com for more information.   

Use code GHW to register at the nonprofit rate of $595 ($200 off) at www.worldstemcellsummit.com
Use code RHN to register at the industry rate of $1395 ($200 off) at www.worldstemcellsummit.com

I hope that, as a valued member of CAMR, that you find this information helpful.  We have come a long way towards achieving our collective goal of research freedom for human embryonic stem cell research.  It is important that we continued to stay focused until we are there.

 Amy

 Amy Comstock Rick, JD
President
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
Chief Executive Officer
Parkinson's Action Network
1025 Vermont Avenue, Suite 1120
Washington D.C.  20005
202.638.4101, ext. 106

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