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Thread: NIH Agency Chiefs Criticize Federal Policy on Stem Cells

  1. #1
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    NIH Agency Chiefs Criticize Federal Policy on Stem Cells

    Breaking with a tradition of deference to top administration officials, several institute directors at the National Institutes of Health went public yesterday with their distaste for federal restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research.

    Their comments, put to paper at the request of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and disclosed in conjunction with an NIH appropriations hearing yesterday, reflect festering frustration over the policy initiated by President Bush in 2001.

    In their written comments and in testimony before the Appropriations subcommittee on the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, chaired by Specter, several NIH officials warned that the agency and the nation could become stragglers in the field as talented researchers move to places where the rules are less strict and funding is more plentiful.
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    Senior Member chastev8's Avatar
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    More rhetoric? Or will they do anything about it?

  3. #3
    chastev8,

    Are you referring to NIH directors when you say rhetoric? I know several of the NIH directors and it is extremely unusual for them to criticize the President's policy so openly, although many have long chafed under the restrictive policy. A senior Republican senator (Spector) is going after a Republican administration on a key policy issue. Most NIH directors would not want to be caught in the cross-fire in such a situation. It is indicative of how deeply felt the opposition is for NIH directors to come out public like this. All the NIH directors serve at the pleasure of the President (more specifically, the new Secretary of Health). Zerhouni, because he is the Director of NIH, is particularly vulnerable. It is no secret that, when he was at Johns Hopkins, he organized and found funding for the stem cell institute at Johns Hopkins.

    Wise.

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    Senior Member chastev8's Avatar
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    That's what I mean Dr. Young. I think that it is great that they are making a ruckus, but I know that they will have a fight on their hands. Will they have the wear-with-all. Hopefully they see the importance of what they are trying to do and fight for it. From what you have told us, I am optimistic, yet guardedly so.

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    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Any director of an Institute isn't exactly going to starve if the President decides they are no longer a pleasure to have around. I think the top salary for those folks is still around $165,000. Isn't that what secretaries at Novaris haul in?

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

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