“From my standpoint, it is clear today that American science will be better-served, and the nation will be better-served, if we let our scientists have access to more stem cell lines,” Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health, told the Senate health appropriations subcommittee, which oversees the agency’s nearly $29-billion budget.
“We cannot, I would think, be second-best in this area,” Zerhouni said. “I think it is important for us not to fight with one hand tied behind our back here, and NIH is key to that.”
Asked about the potential of adult stem cells and of other means of producing stem cells, Dr. Zerhouni was equally blunt:
“I think they are overstated,” he said. “We do not know at this point where the breakthrough will come from…. All angles in stem cell research should be pursued.”
Zerhouni is said to have paved the way to his nomination for NIH director by having “endorsed Brownback’s anti-cloning bill in writing.”