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Spector Addresses Senate Committee on Stem Cell Research

Aired September 5, 2001 - 09:57   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Want to return you now to Capitol Hill and the Senate committee hearing on the issue of federal funding for stem cell research. Republican Senator Arlen Specter is speaking. Let's listen in.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTOR (R), PENNSYLVANIA: ... health and human services. A key statement by the president related to 60 stem cell lines now expanded to 64. But in the intervening several weeks it has become apparent that many of the lines cited are not really viable or robust or usable.

For example, Goteborg University in Sweden was reputed to have 19 lines and they have at most three. In India, the researchers were supposed to have seven lines, none is ready for research. The San Diego consortium was reputed to have nine; again, none is right for utilization.

It is up to the congressional hearings to make a detailed examination as to the accuracy of the representations by HHS of robust, viable and diverse lines.

Then there are the questions relating to property rights. As to the patents, and our subcommittee has held detailed hearing, and I ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, that my lengthy statement be included in the record which summarizes those hearings. And I am just giving a capsule in the time allotted to me this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be so included.

SPECTOR: Thank you.

Then there are the intricate questions of informed consent. And then perhaps, most fundamentally, is the issue of therapy.

Now, it was not addressed in the president's statement, but it has come to life in the intervening weeks that all of the stem cell lines have had nutrients from mice and have had bovine serum. And under the FDA regulations there cannot be a mixing of the species.

Now, it's a complex matter and there have been some expectations, but I think it is going to be up to Congress in these hearings to make the determination as to what the facts are.

I think it is very important to focus on the need for an independent review of all of these facts. The information given to the president has not been complete. And HHS has insisted, for example, that there are 19 lines from Sweden, when Dr.Lars Hamburger has said he personally advised the secretary to the contrary. So that these are facts which we must determine for ourselves.

I agree totally with what Senator Gregg has said, we should not be precipitous. The issue as to the hope has been documented in a detailed manner...

MCEDWARDS: All right, we're going to leave this committee hearing just for a moment and the remarks from Republican Senator Arlen Spector.

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