Yale Researcher Testifies in Support of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Yale researcher Diane Krause testified today before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee urging Congress to continue federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Krause, associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at Yale School of Medicine, has done extensive research on adult stem cells. She recently discovered adult stem cells in bone marrow that can create new liver, lung, gastrointestinal and skin cells, and possibly any other organ in the body.

“While I am very excited about this research, it is important that the subcommittee understand that adult stem cell research is not a substitute for embryonic stem cell research,” Krause said in her testimony. “The progress made in studying adult stem cells relies on what has been learned from embryonic stem cell studies.”

Krause stressed the importance of embryonic stem cell research and the need for the administration to allow federally funded embryonic stem cell studies to proceed. “It is my testimony that these two areas of research together will lead to effective and safe treatments for life-threatening diseases,” she said.

Krause told the subcommittee that it is not yet known whether adult stem cells have the same ability as embryonic cells to become all cell types. She also said that in order for scientific discovery to continue rapidly, both adult and embryonic stem cells would need to be studied and compared. She said far more information can be obtained from embryonic stem cells, which are the “experts” in plasticity, than from adult derived cells.

“Work on embryonic stem cells is invaluable and work on adult derived stem cells is just beginning,” Krause said. “To close off one avenue because of premature assumptions about the other is to play the odds with people’s lives. I am speaking not only for myself, but also for other members of the scientific and medical community and specifically on behalf of the American Society of Hematology, which has over 100,000 members united by their commitment to understanding and curing blood disorders.”

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326