Groundbreaking stem cell research requires legal certainty (Other …

By Denver Post Editorial Board

Medical advances come so fast and furious these days, it might be easy to lose perspective as to how transformative these discoveries can be.

Limb and even face transplants are possible, as is tissue regeneration. And joint replacement well, that has become almost routine.

Against this backdrop, its understandable to perhaps have overlooked an announcement last week that researchers found no detectable HIV virus levels in two stem-cell transplant patients who had previously tested positive for HIV.

Its too early to use the word cure, but the implications are breath-taking. At the very least, the findings could be an important stepping stone on the path to a cure for a virus that has led to more than 30 million deaths worldwide.

The life-changing potential of the discovery brings to mind the need for federal lawmakers to pass legislation cementing into law the Obama administrations rules on embryonic stem-cell research. As it stands, these sensible rules could be modified by a successive administration.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., reintroduced such a measure several weeks ago, and we hope it passes. Congress passed similar measures twice before, but they were vetoed by then-President George W. Bush.

To be clear, the type of stem-cell therapy used in the HIV research a bone marrow transplant is different from embryonic stem-cell research and doesnt typically spark the kind of controversy that embryonic stem-cell research engenders. And thank goodness.

But the potential for medical breakthroughs from embryonic stem-cell research that could help people suffering from debilitating diseases and conditions such as Parkinsons Disease and juvenile diabetes is similarly inspiring.

As research institutions consider investing in the human capital and infrastructure necessary to carry out embryonic stem-cell research, having legislative clarity would make those expenditures more palatable.

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Groundbreaking stem cell research requires legal certainty (Other ...

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