U-M welcomes passage of Proposal 2
University executive officers and faculty issued statements Nov. 5 regarding the passage of Proposal 2, the amendment to the Michigan Constitution that allows new embryonic stem cell lines to be derived from embryos that have been created for fertility treatment purposes. The embryos affected by the amendment would otherwise be discarded, unless donated with informed consent.
Proposal 2, approved by voters in the Nov. 4 general election, overturns a 1978 Michigan law that prohibited creation of new stem cell lines from discarded embryos. The amendment will take effect Dec. 19. Prior to passage of Proposal 2, Michigan has been one of the most restrictive states in the country with respect to embryonic stem cell research.
Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University:
“The passage of Proposal 2 by Michigan voters signals an exciting new era for scientific research and innovation in our state. By expanding research with the creation of new embryonic stem cells, University of Michigan scientists can broaden their pursuit of therapies and cures for medical disorders that touch the lives of thousands of Michigan families.
“We will now build on our already strong reputation for adult stem cell research with an equally committed approach to embryonic stem cell research. We are proud to be one of the country’s leading research universities, and this endorsement by voters will strengthen our ability not only to improve the health of our communities, but also to boost the intellectual and economic vitality that is critical to the future of our region.”
Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs:
“By passing Proposal 2, the citizens of Michigan have voiced their hope for the future of biomedical research, their confidence in our scientists’ talents, and their desire for our state to be known as a welcoming environment for life sciences discovery and industry.
“Now, it is up to us in the scientific community to build upon what the voters have given us, and to maintain their trust and respect by carrying out this research with the utmost regard for both ethical and legal boundaries. All of us at the University of Michigan are committed to that goal, no matter what our field of research.
“We do not yet know what our scientists’ stem cell research will find, nor how soon it might impact the way human diseases are diagnosed and treated. But we do know that scientific research is what has brought us to today’s heights of medical achievement. And only through further research, free from undue restrictions, will we realize even greater gains. The voters of Michigan deserve thanks for sharing that vision with us.”
Sean Morrison, director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology:
“The people of Michigan voted to support science, innovation, and potentially life-saving research. They saw through the fear and misinformation from the special interest groups that opposed Proposal 2. This is a great day for the state that allows us to strengthen our life sciences sector and to advance critical medical research with energy and hope.
“Proposal 2 will allow research in Michigan that is already occurring throughout most of the rest of the country, while entrenching restrictions in the state constitution that ensure that the research is performed ethically and under oversight mandated by federal law. The University of Michigan will launch new research programs that we expect to advance the science of stem cell biology and the treatment of patients.”
Dr. Eva Feldman, director the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute:
“It is so gratifying that the people of Michigan understand the critical role that embryonic stem cell research can play in the health and well-being of our state. They recognize its promise to find cures and new treatments for currently intractable diseases. They know that embryonic stem cell research offers the best hope for bringing relief to tens of thousands of Michigan citizens who suffer, daily and terribly, from a wide range of diseases.
“Now, at the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, we are ready to move forward to seek innovations in the laboratory that will lead to cures in hospitals and doctors’ offices across our state. We can continue our fight against diabetes, cancer, and ALS with a new freedom that will lead to new cures. It is truly a historic moment. For our state, it means a healthier community and a healthier economy. For our patients, it means hope. For our children, it means a better future.”
For more information on stem cell research at U-M, go to www.umich.edu/stemcell.