Stem cell research gets Chamber boost
By Robert MullinsThe Silicon Valley San Jose Chamber of Commerce Thursday came out in favor of a voter initiative on the November ballot to make stem cell research constitutional in California.
Proposition 71 would amend the state constitution and authorize state funding of stem cell research. The Chamber of Commerce endorses the initiative as a way to create research jobs
"The initiative provides billions of dollars in critically needed funding to support life-saving stem cell research," says Jim Cunneen, president and CEO of the chamber, in a prepared statement. "The initiative sets a new model for advancing scientific research and ... attracting jobs."
Stem cells can be used to create different types of cells in the human body. They are regarded as a way to cure many serious diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease.
But stem cells can only be harvested from unused human embryonic cells and pro-life advocates oppose the practice. President George W. Bush in August 2001 signed an executive order limiting research to about a half-dozen stem cell "lines" identified by that time.
The expansion of stem cell research gained momentum in June following the death of former President and former California Governor Ronald Reagan of Alzheimer's. Although Reagan was pro-life, his widow, Nancy Reagan, has become an advocate for expanded research.
Prop. 71, to be included on the Nov. 2 ballot, would authorize up to $3 billion in state bonding authority over 30 years, but no more than $350 million each year, for stem cell research in California.