University of Rochester

UR President Applauds Stem Cell Vote

January 10, 2006

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman released the following statement regarding the passage of A6300 by the New York Assembly:

"Today in Albany the legislature took a significant step toward the creation of a state fund dedicated to stem cell research. Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York Assembly are to be applauded for their leadership on this critical issue.

"This vote is not only a victory for the millions of Americans who suffer from conditions that could benefit from stem cell research, but for the future of biomedical research and biotechnology in New York.

"Stem cell science is in the process of reshaping the entire field of biomedical research. The tremendous potential of this science has triggered an international race to accumulate resources and scientific talent. This new competitive environment will have long-term implications for New York's research community and economy. Several states, the most prominent example being California, have or are in the process of creating public funds dedicated to stem cell research.

"New York is poised to become an international leader in the field of stem cell research, but only if the state continues to act quickly to make up the ground that has already been lost. The state's concentration of world-class research universities and institutions, teaching hospitals, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies provide the necessary capacity to rapidly advance this research, create new jobs and companies, and develop technologies that could potentially improve the lives of millions of Americans.

"Without significant state support, however, New York will lose some of its brightest scientific minds, many of whom are, as we speak, being approached by institutions from California and elsewhere. Not only will this "brain drain" weaken biomedical research, its impact will ripple out to the state's biotechnology and pharmaceutical business sectors that depend upon New York's universities for innovation.

"That is why today's vote is so critical not only in terms of advancing the issue of stem cell research in New York, but also in terms of the signal it sends to the state's research community. I applaud the Assembly's leadership on this important issue and I look forward to working closely with the Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Governor to ensure that New York's universities remain at the forefront of this critical field of research."