The President’s recent veto of legislation to update outdated stem cell policy in the light of scientific advances, supported by 193 Representatives and 37 Senators, not only hurts research at the federal level, but also impairs state research as well. Federal funding is currently restricted to research using 21 old, contaminated stem cell lines. Meanwhile, scientists have developed techniques to derive more efficacious, uncontaminated lines that have proven three times as popular among scientists over the last three years, despite the absence of federal money to conduct research on them. State stem cell initiatives have attempted to fund research using the newer lines, but federal policy has once again gotten in the way.

Because of the restrictive federal policy, states cannot use facilities or equipment purchased with federal funds to conduct research on stem cell lines that are ineligible for federal funding. This has forced states and universities to spend large sums of money on redundant equipment and laboratories, as well as create expensive bureaucracies to track which costs can be paid with federal funds. New Jersey is spending 75% of its money for stem cell research on new equipment and a stem cell research institute. The University of California-San Francisco is spending $6 million to remake a lab for stem cell research. In a recent report entitled “Too Much to Ask