Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brandeis' Stem Cell Laboratory

Stowers laboratoryMissouri passes Amendment 2. The impact of the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative will be felt in the laboratories of the Stowers Institute For Medical Research.

Photo credit: © Mike Sinclair, Labconco.

In his dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (U.S. 1932), Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously stated that
To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
Though embryonic stem research may be stalled at the federal level, Missouri has now grasped the opportunity to "serve as a laboratory" for embryonic stem cell research.

By a narrow margin, on November 7, 2006, Missouri's voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2. Article III of the Missouri state constitution will now be amended to add Section 38(d), entitled "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative". The core of proposed Section 38(d), Subsection 2, states
To ensure that Missouri patients have access to stem cell therapies and cures, that Missouri researchers can conduct stem cell research in the state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any stem cell research permitted under federal law may be conducted in Missouri, and any stem cell therapies and cures permitted under federal law may be provided to patients in Missouri, subject to the requirements of federal law and only [several additional limitations and requirements]
Now that Missouri's voters have chosen to place their state in the vanguard of stem cell law, Brandeis' metaphorical "laboratory" assures the literal laboratories at the Stowers Institute For Medical Research their place as leading-edge centers of embryonic stem cell research.

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