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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2006
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

VISION RESEARCH COMMUNITY URGES SENATORS TO PASS HR 810, The Stem Cell Enhancement Act; NAEVR COMMENDS SENATE LEADERSHIP FOR SCHEDULING A JULY 18 VOTE

(Washington, D.C.) Today, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Board President Stephen Ryan, M.D. (Doheny Eye Institute/University of Southern California) wrote to Senate Majority Leader William Frist, M.D., (R-TN) and Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) commending them for their courage and tenacity in bringing HR 810, The Stem Cell Enhancement Act, to the floor for a scheduled July 18 vote.

In the letters, NAEVR reported that it had written to all Senators urging support for HR 810 as the only pro-patient, pro-cure and pro-research bill of those that will be debated. NAEVR also noted that the eye and vision research community had emailed thousands of letters to Senate offices supporting the bill.

“We appreciate your understanding of the promise that stem cell research holds for the more than 100 million Americans suffering from debilitating diseases and disorders, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries and diabetes, which results in sight-impairing diabetic retinopathy,” wrote Dr. Ryan. He added that embryonic stem cell research also holds the promise of treatments for other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.

HR 810, which was passed by the House of Representatives on May 24, 2005, with strong bipartisan support, would expand the number of embryonic stem cell lines available for federal funding beyond those specified in the administration’s August 2001 policy. NAEVR has also written to HR 810 co-sponsors Cong. Mike Castle (R-DE) and Cong. Diana DeGette (D-CO) reporting on its activities to support Senate passage of the bill.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 50 professional, consumer and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR’s goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI) and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR’s Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.