President Obama today, March 9, 2009, increased hope throughout the medical community for future treatments of diabetes and many other disorders, as he reversed the misguided policy of the previous President, to allow much more flexibility in stem cell research, stating "scientists believe these tiny cells may have the potential to help us understand, and possibly cure, some of our most devastating diseases and conditions. To regenerate a severed spinal cord and lift someone from a wheelchair. To spur insulin production and spare a child from a lifetime of needles." (The President's complete remarks are available on-line at the White House website.)
In 2005, the NIH had issued a report about stem cells for diabetes; it concluded "However, most researchers agree that until a therapeutically useful source of human islet cells is developed, all avenues of research should be exhaustively investigated, including both adult and embryonic sources of tissue."
But as I had written on March 22, 2008, "US policy [throughout the Bush years] doesn't allow Federal funding for most embryonic stem cell research. Some states, and many other countries, are highly supportive of stem cell research, and I'd expect that the US government will reverse its present policy restricting use of embryonic stem cells, as all three major candidates for President say they are in favor of Federal funding." That was despite pleas from people such as Nancy Reagan, Ron Reagan, Mary Tyler Moore, the JDRF and the ADA, and more than 200 Members of Congress to expand stem cell research.
The ADA hailed today's signing, saying:
The JDRF also praised the decision:
And let me add my personal statement: Thank you, President Obama.