Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
March 13, 2014
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer, Kirk Introduce Bill to Support Regenerative Medicine Research
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today introduced legislation to help accelerate the discovery of new cures for traumatic injuries and diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) by establishing a national strategy to support research into regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine has the potential to treat and even cure many serious medical conditions through the regeneration of human cells, tissues, or organs to replace those that are damaged or failing.
“Regenerative medicine gives priceless hope to millions of Americans who are suffering from life-threatening or debilitating conditions,” Senator Boxer said. “This bill will help make the promise of these medical breakthroughs a reality for this generation and generations to come.”
“As a stroke survivor, I know firsthand the importance of medical research and therapy,” Senator Kirk said. “Regenerative medicine would benefit the lives of countless Americans, including those suffering from chronic and life-threatening diseases or injuries, and builds on our success in stem cell research.”
While regenerative medicine is already in use to treat wounds, cartilage defects, and diabetic foot ulcers, these successes are potentially just the beginning. Regenerative medicine holds the promise of treating many costly diseases and injuries, such as those sustained by soldiers in battle, while reducing health spending and promoting economic growth. However, more research into the basic science of regenerative medicine is needed. A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report recommended that the United States develop a national regenerative medicine strategy in order to take full advantage of regenerative medicine’s potential and advance the development of these innovative treatments and cures.
To achieve these objectives, the Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act would require the Government Accountability Office to issue a report identifying all ongoing federal programs and activities regarding regenerative medicine. The bill would also require the Secretary of HHS to establish a Regenerative Medicine Coordinating Council comprised of Cabinet secretaries, agency heads, researchers, experts, and advocates to develop and maintain a national strategy for the promotion of regenerative medicine research and development. The Council would be tasked with identifying priorities and sources of funding for research into regenerative medicine and recommending policies to overcome barriers in research and product development.
One study estimated that regenerative medicine could save the U.S. $250 billion per year in direct costs associated with late-stage Parkinson’s disease, new cases of spinal cord injury, heart failure, stroke, and insulin-dependent diabetes.
The Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act has the support of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, a coalition of 80 advocacy groups, research institutions, and stakeholders including the ALS Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the National Stem Cell Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Parkinson’s Action Network.