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Stem-cell backlash – $150M was promised

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High-tech pioneer Jim Clark is putting a hold on a big chunk of his $150 million pledge to create center for biomedical engineering and science at Stanford University to protest proposed restrictions on stem-cell research and cloning backed by President Bush and members of Congress.

Calling it inappropriate to legally bar nonreproductive cloning, Clark says in an opinion column published Aug. 31 in The New York Times that a more rational approach would be regulate it, as the United Kingdom has done.

With no chance of federal support, “significant scientific inquiry in a field like stem cell research will stop,” says Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon

(now WebMD) and myCFO. “No research leader can forego federal money.”

He says denial of financing for biomedical research will “drive the formation of new pharmaceutical industry outside the United States.”

The U.S. “risks being thrown into a dark age of medical research,” he says.

“It is futile to think that private funding can make up what is being lost to laws driven by conservative politics,” he says. “I therefore have reluctantly decided to suspend further contributions until our lawmakers decide to pursue that I believe to be a rational course in this vital part of our national future.”

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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