Wednesday, August 25, 2010

International Stem cell Corporation Chairman Discusses Recent Stem Cell Research Funding Decision

This is Ken Aldrich and I am Chairman of International Stem Cell Corporation and I thought I should comment briefly on the recent decision of the federal district court of the District of Columbia concerning stem cell research.

What the court did was to announce that it was prohibiting the use of federal funding by the NIH for embryonic stem cell research which is a major blow if the decision is upheld for the stem cell industry. It’s interesting because it actually does not affect International Stem Cell Corporation in any direct negative manner.

The truth of the matter is we have not been able to use federal funding since the very beginning of the company because of a particular provision in the Dickey Wicker amendment that specifically calls out parthenogenic stem cells as a form of embryo, in spite of the fact that they genuinely are not an embryo in fact cannot ever become any living human being and don’t involve the destruction of anything that could become human being. Nevertheless, we have always been caught up in the Dickey Wicker amendment. So we haven’t been hurt by this decision, if anything it has perhaps leveled the playing field for us a bit with the embryonic stem cell group.

But the bottom line is we don’t really think it is good for the country and we hope there will be a change. But we do hope is that perhaps this will open the political debate and as people begin to look at the broader spectrum and realize that parthenogenic stem cell, which is our stock and trade, do not involve the destruction of any embryos, it may be that the specific language of the Dickey Wicker amendment can ultimately be removed and we would then become eligible along with everyone else for federal funding through the NIH and other government programs. If so, it would be a wonderful result. In the meantime, it is a difficult time for everyone in the industry. We’ll keep you informed. Thank you

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