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LT. GOV. ELIZABETH ROBERTS LEADS CHARGE TO DISCOVER RHODE ISLAND’S STEM CELL FUTURE

Roberts releases report highlighting the potential human and economic benefits that stem cell research holds for Rhode Islanders

PROVIDENCE—On the same day that the United States Senate debated federal legislation to support expanding federally funded stem cell research, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts launched Rhode Island’s action, outlining the potential that stem cell research holds for reducing human suffering and supporting economic growth here in the Ocean State. In a new report she released this afternoon with Congressman James Langevin, an advocate on the national level for stem cell research, Roberts called on Rhode Island to take immediate action to define what form stem cell research should take in the state.

“Rhode Island stands at a crossroads for biotech research, and we must take advantage of the historic opportunity we have to decide what role we want stem cell research to play in this state’s future,” Roberts said. “I believe strongly that the potential human and economic benefits of stem cell research for Rhode Islanders are too great to be ignored. I am confident that this report will serve as a foundation for Rhode Island decision-makers to answer the essential policy questions and develop a blueprint for action.”

Roberts’ report, entitled “Discovering Rhode Island’s Stem Cell Future: Charting the Course Toward Health and Prosperity” is available electronically on Roberts’ website at www.ltgov.ri.gov.

In the coming months, Roberts plans to work closely with the House Regenerative Medicine and Research Advisory Study Commission, scientists, researchers, doctors, members of the business community, faculty from Rhode Island’s colleges and universities and concerned members of the public to develop answers to these essential policy questions, undertake a thoughtful and deliberate discussion of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and develop a blueprint for action.

Roberts’ report also educates readers about the basics of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, what other states are doing, and both the human and economic stem cell research opportunities in Rhode Island. Policy questions identified by Roberts include whether Rhode Island should publicly or privately fund direct grants to researchers, if Rhode Island should establish and fund a statewide stem cell institute, and if Rhode Island should offer financial incentives to stem cell researchers.

As a candidate for lieutenant governor, Roberts pledged that within the first 100 days in office she would start the process to expand stem cell research in Rhode Island and this week’s report release coincides with her 100th day in office. Tuesday’s report release also coincided with the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare’s consideration of H. 5672, the resolution creating the Rhode Island House of Representatives’ Regenerative Medicine and Research Advisory Study Commission sponsored by Representatives Handy, Naughton and Sullivan.

In addition to Congressman Langevin, Roberts was also joined today by officials from the Rhode Island chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Rhode Island chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Reverend David Ames, professor of medical ethics at Brown University, Dr. Peter Quesenberry, a leading expert in adult stem cell research, and Warren Wollschlager, chief of the Office of Research and Development at the Department of Public Health in Connecticut. Individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes were also in attendance.

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Related links

Department or agency: Elizabeth Roberts, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Online: http://www.ltgov.state.ri.us/

Release date: 04-10-2007

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