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Posted on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

University of Michigan stem cell backers disappointed as State Senate passes restrictions

By Tina Reed

University of Michigan officials reacted with disappointment Wednesday afternoon after the State Senate passed a bill in a package of bills they say would create "unnecessary and burdensome regulations" on embryonic stem cell research in the state.

According to the Associated Press, Michigan embryonic stem cell researchers would have to submit annual reports to the state under the terms of the legislation. That bill passed by a 25-12 vote and will move on to the Democrat-controlled House. The measures backed mainly by conservative Republicans and groups including the Michigan Catholic Conference will likely die there, AP said.

The bills are the first attempt by state lawmakers to further define a voter-approved measure that changed the state Constitution in 2008. The measure loosened state restrictions on embryonic stem cell research by allowing people to donate embryos left over from fertility treatments.

"The proposed regulations would undermine the expressed will of Michigan voters and would discourage our scientists from pursuing research that promises to improve the treatment of deadly diseases," said Cynthia Wilbanks, U-M's vice president for government relations. "Embryonic stem cell research is already one of the most highly regulated areas of U.S. biomedical science."

It took the university more than a year to create a framework "for the conduct of embryonic stem cell research" to meet requirements for state and federals laws.

Sean Morrison, the director of the U-M Life Sciences Institute's Center for Stem Cell Biology said the package of bills approved by the Senate have a chilling effect on research.

"Proposal 2 created great momentum for research in Michigan. No longer could people color the state as being a hostile environment (for embryonic stem cell research)," Morrison said.

Recruits from states like California, Massachusetts and New York often question why researchers would try to do stem cell research in MIchigan when other states are more stem cell research friendly, he said.

"You can't imagine the chilling effect this would have on stem cell research and how frustrating this is after the people have spoken that the legislature still has the ability to block main stream research," Morrison said. "People talk about diversifying the economy and having a more diverse science sector, as long as the state government is trying to send stem cell biologists to jail, we can't do that," Morrison said.

Tina Reed covers health and the environment for You can reach her at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.



Fri, Apr 23, 2010 : 6:48 a.m.

Great, another nail in Michigan's economic coffin..."Hey! Using archaic, ridiculous metrics of so-called morality, let's drive out any chance biotech or medical research companies might want to relocate to Michigan!" Disgusting. The GOP never fail to sink to new lows.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 11:58 p.m.

I find it interesting that the Republican Party continuously cries that the President is not listening to the people. But when the issue involves something that is important to Republicans, it doesn't matter that voters have already voted overwhelmingly against their wishes, they will still interfere and try to get what they want. I am also sick of the Council of Catholic Bishops, the Michigan Catholic Council and all sorts of other Catholic groups believing that the American government is Catholic, to be run for and by Catholics, according to their beliefs only. They have enough problems policing their own without trying to run everyone else's lives. Enough already!.

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 10:09 p.m.

macabre, their main virtue seems to be hypocrisy. You Betcha!

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

They stand for a lot of good things. But every once in a while, they see the need to remind us why we shouldn't vote for them. This is a reminder.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

Good to be reminded (as if I really needed it) of yet another reason for my utter and complete contempt for the Republican party, state and national, and everything conservatives seem to stand for today.

Jake C

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

How exactly would this proposed Senate legislation be restrictive? The only thing the article mentions is that researchers would need to submit "annual reports". Surely there's more to it than that. I voted for prop 2, but I'm don't quite understand what's Any more info, journalists? Any links to the text of the legislation, or even a slightly broader summary than one sentence, and the reaction to the passage? This seems to be the best objection to the legislation that I can find so far:

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

The flat earth society wins another one for the neanderthals! But if you believe in the tooth fairy, easter bunny and santa claus you are qualified to lead! Progressive indeed? Mythology!! If only they cared about the living!!