CONTACT THE N.I.H. TODAY! A personal request from Don C. Reed

Action asked: Click on the following to contact National Institutes of Health:

Dear Stem Cell Research Advocate:

The next 14 days are crucial in the stem cell research struggle.

Here’s why.

Remember when President Obama signed that document removing the Bush stem cell restrictions? That same day he called upon the National Institutes of Health to draft a new set of guidelines for scientists wanting federal funding.

Those guidelines have just been issued. (

The next 14 days are the comment period for the new guidelines for stem cell research, which American scientists will have to live with if they want federal funding. This is the public’s only chance to shape those guidelines: which can be improved—or made worse.

Unfortunately, there are problems!

Not only are the guidelines far more conservative than we had hoped, but opponents of the research are systematically flooding the comment process.

Led by the Catholic Church and other conservative religious bodies, a national campaign has begun: to attack early stem cell research by mass emails to the NIH.
*”The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a new “Oppose Destructive Stem Cell Research” campaign today, equipping citizens to contact Congress and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to oppose embryonic stem cell research …” — WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
Is their anti-research campaign having an effect?

Dr. Wise Young of Rutgers University , “… of the 6000 plus comments that NIH has received concerning the draft guidelines, 99% were from people who opposed embryonic stem cell research.”—Carecure Forum

Imagine what the enemies of research will do with a statistic like that! Think of the State Senators and Representatives who have to fight for stem cell funding—they will be hammered—no politician ever wants to stand alone.

Supporters of stem cell research must be heard.

To prevail, we need to do three things: inform ourselves, act individually, and reach out to our networks.

First, read this message all the way through; it contains background information from the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR), and other sources.

Second, send your message to the government. Click on the comment box you will find at the following url:

Third, SHARE THIS LETTER—or write your own– email all your contacts.

Any statement of support has impact. One sentence can make a difference.

Something like: “I support embryonic stem cell research, and am glad some of the restrictions are being loosened.” That matters.

Anyone who clicks on the comment box, and writes in a sentence—that message will be tallied as one citizen in support. Of course, you may say more if you want. If you are a long-term research supporter, your letter will be put in the expert witness category.

(If you want to get more involved in shaping the guidelines, that would be helpful. The guidelines are politically very timid, and must be strengthened. Problems:
a “grandfather clause” is needed to insure that every stem cell line already approved under the previous stringent guidelines will be eligible; that alternate sources of stem cell lines such as SCNT and parthenogenesis will not be excluded from funding, and more. (see CAMR comments below.)

But every patient advocate in America must at least click on the comment box, and make a statement in support of early stem cell research. This affects everyone in America, and the world. MORE THAN ONE PERSON IN A FAMILY MAY COMMENT. Every adult friend or family member should click and make a comment– as well as every scientist, medical student, every teacher, every parent—everyone who has a reason to want stem cell therapies and cures.

Here it is, one more time:

Or, send a letter (ideally on letterhead) to: NIH Stem Cell Guidelines, MSC 7997, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda , Maryland , 20892-7997

But whatever you are going to do, do it now. There is very little time before the May 26th deadline.

We have worked hard, many years. We are so close. We must not falter now.

Click on the button, send your comments in—do it today, please.

And thanks. You make the difference: you are one of the overworked few who change the world.

P.S. Here is a letter from Amy Comstock-Rick, President of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR); I copied it from CAMR’s website, where much more information can be found:

Help Ensure Strong Federal Support for Embryonic Stem Cell Research –
Submit Comments to the NIH on its Draft Guidelines
As you know, President Obama recently issued an Executive Order instructing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop guidelines to establish a framework for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. NIH has released its draft guidelines, and the public has the opportunity to comment on the draft over the next few weeks. NIH will analyze the content, as well as volume, of the comments as it finalizes the guidelines.
It will be critical for NIH to hear from the public during the comment period. Please follow the instructions below to submit your comments to ensure that the final guidelines are crafted in a way that ensures that this science advances as quickly as possible. And, please share the link to this page with your friends, family, and anyone you know who supports embryonic stem cell research.
How to submit your comments:
· Click to be connected to the NIH comment form;
· Provide your name, and select ‘self’ for Affiliation; and
· Copy and paste the text below into the comment box, provide the security check ID on the form, and click ‘submit comments.’
Suggested comment text (copy and paste into Comment section of NIH comment form and edit as appropriate for you):
Embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for millions of Americans suffering from many diseases and disorders. I am not a scientist, but I have been following progress in this field with great interest. Significant strides have been made over the past decade, and the final guidelines issued by NIH must build on this progress so that cures and new therapies can get to patients as quickly as possible. The final guidelines should not create new bureaucratic hurdles that will slow the pace of progress.
I am pleased that these draft guidelines — in Section II B — would appear to permit federal funding of stem cell lines previously not eligible for federal funding and for new lines created in the future from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. However, as drafted, Section II B does not ensure that any current stem cell line will meet the criteria outlined and thus be eligible for federal funding. It will be important for the final guidelines to allow federal funds for research using all stem cell lines created by following ethical practices at the time they were derived. This will ensure that the final guidelines build on progress that has already been made.
I also believe that the final guidelines should permit federal funding for stem cell lines derived from sources other than excess IVF embryos, such as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Sections II B and IV of the draft guidelines do not permit such federal funding and I recommend that the final guidelines provide federal funding using stem cell lines derived in other ways. If not, it is essential that the NIH continue to monitor developments in this exciting research area and to update these guidelines as the research progresses.
Thank you!
Amy Comstock Rick, president
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research

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