Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 7, 2005

Stem cell research

As legislators returned to the Missouri Capitol this week, an issue with national attention is before them – whether or not to criminalize a type of stem cell research called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).

Fearing that banning research with SCNT would undermine Missouri's effort to build a strong life sciences industry and deprive Missouri citizens of access to potential treatments and cures, University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd, along with leaders from three other research institutions, sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to oppose any legislation that would ban or criminalize SCNT. The co-signers of the letter were Dr. William H. Danforth, chairman of the Donald Danforth Plant Life Sciences Center in St. Louis; Dr. William Neaves, president of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City; and Dr. Mark Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.

SCNT is a process used to create early stage stem cells; many scientists believe that because these stem cells are “blank” and have not yet become specialized for a specific function in the human body, that they have the most promise for finding new treatments and cures.

Several states have already passed laws banning reproductive cloning, while still allowing SCNT for medical research. President Floyd and the three research institution leaders also urged lawmakers to pass similar legislation in Missouri that would ban reproductive cloning.

To read a copy of the letter sent to legislators, click here (PDF).

Back to index