Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stem Cell Awareness Day

Tomorrow – September 23 – is Stem Cell Awareness Day, and researchers are celebrating around the globe. Many research organizations are recognizing this day by taking part in The World Stem Cell Summit, being held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland from September 21-23. This event has gathered leading innovators to discuss a wide range of stem cell-related topics, including the latest in research, medical applications, the role of business in stem cell therapy, and issues of law, ethics, and advocacy surrounding stem cell applications.

The clinical potential for stem cells is still unknown, but science suggests that these cells might aid in treating many diseases afflicting the population. The new administration’s relaxation of funding restrictions on stem cell research earlier this year will help to uncover what potential these cells truly hold. NIH estimates that grants receiving funding for research incorporating stem cells from the National Institute of Health in 2009 will total $2.1 billion. This has important implications for understanding the physiology of these cells and their clinical applications.

In June 2009, Research!America asked Americans if they would like an expansion of funding for embryonic stem cell research; 73% responded favorably. So, if you’d like to lend your voice to the cause, and celebrate Stem Cell Awareness Day, here are some activities for you to consider.
  1. Look for local events in which to participate, or plan your own. A great place to start is http://www.stemcellday.com/, but also check with local universities and science organizations.
  2. Contact your local paper and let them know why you support stem cell research.
  3. Find out if your local representatives support stem cell research. If they do, send them a note to thank them; if not, then send them a letter to tell them why they should.
  4. If you’re unsure of what stem cells are and how they work, then educate yourself. Here are some websites to get you started:

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