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July 13, 2004
Statement on Stem Cell Research Issued by The Johns Hopkins University
One of the greatest discoveries in Medicine is the potential to use a single undifferentiated cell to help address the severe pain and suffering that numerous diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer inflict every day. However, The Johns Hopkins University recognizes that stem cell research raises significant ethical concerns and that public policy on stem cell research must carefully balance the ethical and medical considerations, yet enable researchers to fulfill the promise of stem cell research for providing medical therapies.
Johns Hopkins strongly supports the use of stem cells for legitimate research and therapeutic purposes. Stem cell research promises to have an enormous impact on human health and quality of life, and also on fundamental biomedical understanding. Stem cells can be obtained from embryonic, fetal, and adult tissues. It is essential that all these sources be investigated to determine which is most likely to fulfill the goals of basic research and lead to the development of new medical therapies.
Johns Hopkins supports the use of the somatic cell nuclear transfer technique (popularly known as “therapeutic cloning” or “research cloning”) for the purpose of producing stem cell lines that are genetically identical to the person from whom the nucleus was obtained. These stem cell lines are critical to help researchers better understand the pathogenesis of disease and provide information useful in developing therapies for people with a wide variety of diseases and injuries. In addition, stem cell lines produced using somatic cell nuclear transfer could overcome the rejection of tissues following transplantation.
However, Johns Hopkins strongly opposes the use of stem cell technology and somatic cell nuclear transfer for the purposes of creating a cloned human being (popularly known as “reproductive cloning”).
Stem cell research at Johns Hopkins is conducted under strict scientific and ethical guidelines that meet all federally mandated requirements. Johns Hopkins has long been a leader in the development of new therapies for patients, and stem cells represent a unique and promising approach in the development of new, critically needed treatments. Research at Johns Hopkins on stem cells is supported by the National Institutes of Health, patient-based organizations, partnerships with corporations, and private philanthropy.