Statement of Maria C. Freire, Ph.D.,
Director, National Institutes of Health Office of Technology
Transfer, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies,
January 12, 1999 on benefits of stem cell research.
Pluripotent stem cells provide the research community a springboard
to launch numerous inquiries into the most fundamental processes
of cellular growth and differentiation that underlie human
development. Elucidating these mechanisms provides the foundation
for the next generation of biomedical discovery.
Such discoveries will be directed toward treatment of human
developmental abnormalities, regulation of uncontrolled cellular
growth associated with cancer, a source of differentiated
cells and tissues for transplantation therapy, and a means
to identify new drug targets and test potential therapeutics,
among others. Realizing the fullest potential from this new
stem cell technology for the American people deserves and
requires further inquiry. Stem cells are a research tool today;
hopefully, they will also be developed into therapeutic products
in the future.