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[IP] JDRF Washington Advocates Report

JDRF Washington Report
Vol. 4, No. 5
April 11, 2001

TO:    All JDRF Advocates Across the Country
FROM:    Leah J. Mullin, Chair, Government Relations Committee

We need your help!!!  President Bush will make a decision very soon
regarding federal funding of research using stem cells derived from surplus
eggs created for the purpose of in vitro fertilization.  JDRF strongly
supports this area of research because of the potential ability for
scientists to turn these cells into insulin-producing cells. At this time,
pressure is mounting on President Bush to stop the federal funding of this
vital area of research that offers hope to the more than 16 million Americans
who suffer from diabetes.
The stories of patients and their families are vital in providing President
Bush and Members of Congress with the information that they need to make this
decision.  Therefore, we are asking you to contact President Bush and your
Members of Congress today and ask them to support all forms of stem cell
We are asking that you contact them in two ways:
1.    Write a Letter

   Please visit the website of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical
Research, of which JDRF is a founding member, at www.stemcellfunding.org.
Here you will be provided with a sample letter that may be edited and either
faxed directly to President Bush and your Members of Congress or printed out
and mailed to them.
   If you choose to send President Bush a handwritten letter, please address
it to:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

When writing your letters, you can use the talking points listed at the end
of this article to assist you.  Don't forget to tell your personal story
about living with diabetes and why a cure is so important to you and your

2.    Make a Phone Call

After your letter has been faxed or printed from the website,
www.stemcellfunding.org, you will be provided with the contact information
for the White House's Office of Public Liaison and your Members of Congress. 
Please take a moment to follow up your letter with a phone call to restate
your support of stem cell research.
    When calling your Members of Congress, ask for the Legislative Assistant
who handles health issues.  When you reach that person, please use the
talking points listed below.  If the individual is not available, please
leave a voicemail message.  Of course, remember to be polite, brief, and
respectful of his/her time.
  When calling the Office of Public Liaison at the White House
(202-456-2380), be prepared to leave a brief voice mail message using the
talking points listed below.  If your call is answered, ask to leave a
message for Lezlee Westine, the Director of Public Liaison and make the
following points:

Talking Points for Letters and Phone Calls
    Please tell your personal story about living with diabetes and why the
federal funding of stem cell research is important to you and your family.
Your personal stories will make the greatest impact!!
  Stem cells derived from surplus eggs created for the purpose of in vitro
fertilization have the ability to grow into any tissue or organ in the body
(yet cannot develop into a full human being), and therefore hold promise for
major breakthroughs and cures for diseases and conditions such as juvenile
diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, cancer, heart disease, spinal
cord injury, and many others.  This is crucial to juvenile diabetes research
due to the potential ability of scientists to turn these cells into
insulin-producing cells.
   Because the eggs from which stem cells are derived are in excess of
clinical need and would otherwise be frozen indefinitely or discarded, this
should not be viewed as a right-to-life issue.  Rather, this type of research
is analogous to organ and tissue donation.    Some have argued that adult
stem cells offer equal or greater promise to researchers than stem cells
derived from surplus eggs created for the purpose of in vitro fertilization. 
However, experts in this field of research agree that it will take years of
further study to determine the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells and
the early indications of the outcome of such research suggest that
adult-derived stem cells do not have the same capacity for proliferation as
those obtained from in vitro fertilized eggs. Public funding of this research
will allow more oversight and the issuance of regulations to prevent
potentially ethical abuses.  If this research continues only in the private
sector, there will be virtually no oversight.  Moreover, limiting this
research to the private sector alone will slow the pace of the science since,
due to intellectual property protections, less information will be available
to our nation's most prominent academic researchers working in this area.
Thank you for your support of this issue!
To find more information about stem cell research and the promise that it
holds for juvenile diabetes research, please go to www.jdrf.org. If you have
any questions, please contact Kristen Lee in the JDRF Government Relations
office at 800-533-1868 x22 or email @ redacted
We will continue to update you as we learn of further developments.

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