U.S. Leads World in Stem Cell Research Despite Embryonic Funding Limits

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

U.S. Leads World in Stem Cell Research Despite Embryonic Funding Limits Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 16, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Advocates of embryonic stem cell research have bashed President Bush and pro-life advocates saying the United States is lagging behind in the field of stem cell research because of limits on funding embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer dollars. A new list of the top stem cell research labs in the world shows otherwise.

The Ion Channel Media Group, a private biotechnology and advertising firm, has released a list of the top stem cell research laboratories in the world.

The ranking was compiled using the publication and citation history of nearly 5000 stem cell research labs.

The survey found that most of the laboratories in the top 25 are from the United States, despite President Bush’s limits on using taxpayer funds to pay for any new embryonic stem cell research.

All of the top eight stem cell research labs hail from the U.S., including the number one center, Irving Weissman’s lab at Stanford. Catherine Verfaillie’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota earned the number two spot based upon her work with adult stem cells derived from bone marrow.

The Whitehead Institute in Massachusetts came third, the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center was fourth and the Walther Oncology Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine was fifth.

Hesketh, the CEO of Ion Channel Media Group said, "It is remarkable that the US is still the clear leader in stem cell research despite the significant restrictions placed upon stem cell research in that country."

Laboratories in Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom also occupy many of the other top spots.

The leading foreign stem cell research labs are the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in England, which came in ninth, and Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, which rounded out the top 10.

Fourteen of the top 20 centers are based in the U.S.

The survey appears to indicate that leading American scientists are not fleeing to other nations at the high rate that backers of embryonic stem cell research funding claim.

Previously, LifeNews.com reported that a debate over patents on human embryonic stem cells is stalling progress in the research much more than President Bush’s veto of a funding bill.

Jeanne Loring, who directs human embryonic stem cell research at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in California, said the patent debate is what is driving some scientists to relocate, not any lack of taxpayer funding.

"The patents are impeding our research," Loring said during the debate in Congress on funding. "They’re more important than what’s going on in the Senate right now."

"It is making scientists go overseas to do this sort of research," she added. "It isn’t the funding that’s sending us overseas. It’s the patent issues."